Letters to the Editor

Downtown bullies

October 18, 2010


To the editor:

This letter is in reference to the Oct. 15 story “Merchants to start campaign against panhandling.” I have a few questions for these merchants. What gives any one of you the right to say how another American spends her or his money? Who looks over your shoulder to judge whether your purchases are productive? What do you call a productive purchase? Is it a $5 ice cream cone? How about a $12 pound of coffee? How about anything you can imagine as long as it has a Jayhawk slapped on it? Are those productive purchases?

What would be so terrible about seeing the poor and homeless who panhandle as human beings just like any of us and actually doing something about the fact that millions of Americans are forced to live this way? Why can we not start with the assumption that it is never OK to harm another person and actually try solving social ills rather than bullying the poor and homeless?

Whether we like to admit it or not, they are humans, part of our society, and in need of help. Why must we blame them and punish them for a social issue that is much larger than they are? Shame on our downtown merchants!

Jon Hudson,



Steven Gaudreau 7 years, 4 months ago

Anyone been scammed by the woman in the car with two kids who says her husband beat her up and she needs money for a hotel? She got my wife to give her $20. We later found out she got a friend of ours with the same story 2 months earlier.

lucky7brand 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm not saying this woman is or isn't "scamming". But how do you know that shes not still staying in a Motel/Hotel. And u cant punish or stereotype all because of 1. No one really knows whether it is a scam or not when you're giving people money.

Kelly Johnson 7 years, 4 months ago

I was approached by a woman in a car but she only had 1 child with her, and it wasn't downtown. Where did the incidents occur that you're speaking of?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 4 months ago

Care to explain which specific portion of his letter suggests treating them like helpless children?

alm77 7 years, 4 months ago

You forgot one: "that millions of Americans are forced to live this way" I think the point of the proposal of Downtown Lawrence is that they aren't forced to panhandle. There is food and shelter and help available from over 20 agencies in our fair city. Our community has helped and is helping. They are choosing to panhandle and we don't have to support that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 4 months ago

Everyone of us needs help, throughout our lives, even you. Does that mean that we are either helpless or children?

Kirk Larson 7 years, 4 months ago

Actually, the money was always coming from the government. President Obama just cut out the banks as middlemen and now there is more money to loan.

llama726 7 years, 4 months ago

L1, private schooling is expensive. How did you afford to work your way through undergrad? I assume, of course, you went only to private universities so as not to be a taxpayer burden. Or are you a "helpless child" who needed the assistance?

llama726 7 years, 4 months ago

L1, I'm not the one advocating a rigid and inflexible philosophy that utterly excludes any element of moderate sensibility or incorporation of the idea that there is another side to every problem... Since you never see me railing against for-profit grocery stores (sure, I might mention the excesses and abuses of some businesses, but I've never advocated communism), I fail to see how this point compares. Furthermore, UNLIKE government services for food which are income-based, your college choice is your own, and you could have gone to a private school if you truly desired.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

Anyone else notice the irony of a government-hater revolutionary like Liberty One who represents himself with government minted currency that proudly celebrates the very democracy that government is sworn to protect from people like him? Wierd...

Joe Hyde 7 years, 4 months ago

Downtown merchants rightly view the presence of so many panhandlers as a chronic aggravation to their customers, both actual and potential. Customer aggravation at being chronically panhandled on downtown sidewalks and parking lots translates to lost business and less income for business owners and associated employees.

All the merchants are asking is that shoppers please resist the urge to individually give money to panhandlers. If the panhandler is indeed a homeless person, we have social services agencies that are capable of helping that person in comprehensive ways that go far beyond any insulting pittance of loose change the person might acquire by panhandling.

gccs14r 7 years, 4 months ago

Giving money to panhandlers encourages more of them to come here.

Danimal 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes it does. If the national averages hold true, Lawrence should have 80-120 homeless residents. By building shelters and readily offering handouts the citizenry of Lawrence has created a Mecca for homelessness in the Midwest. How many hundreds of homeless does Lawrence have? I believe the last count was into the many hundreds and the survey takers readily acknowledged they probably only see 50% of the homeless. They need help, but one large town can't help them all.

lawrencenerd 7 years, 4 months ago

{citation needed}

This comment contains weasel words.

Boston_Charley 7 years, 4 months ago

I was approached by panhandlers twice in one day outside stores on South Iowa.

robinhoodlum 7 years, 4 months ago

I do not keep and exact score card on beggars. I do know that of all the times I have been hit up, the most wasn't downtown. Maybe a half dozen times with two people asking for money. The rest was for cigarettes. Guess it wasn't obvious I don't smoke. All the other requests for money were on West 6th, Iowa, or 23rd. A couple of times in the neighborhood.

lawrence267 7 years, 4 months ago

They're not telling you how to spend your money, they're just giving out information to the public. No one is stopping you from continuing to give them money.

slowplay 7 years, 4 months ago

While we are at it, let's ban old people. They disrupt business as well. How about little kids who cry and whine and run all over the place. They don't even have any money to spend. Set up a gate at tenth street and only allow those in who are going to "conduct business".

somedude20 7 years, 4 months ago

yes slow, all old people and kids should be exterminated now.. do it , do it nowwwwww

Dan Eyler 7 years, 4 months ago

Jon, Lawrence provides layer upon layer of support to homeless. If for some reason we don't provide enough is because Lawrence is also know as an easy mark for anyone who doesn't want to work , who is mentally ill, or is drifting from one town to another. We are not just taking care of our own, but taking care of so called homeless for sea to shinning sea. Lawrence has become a great big star on the homeless handout map. I have witnessed very poor behavior by so called homeless while downtown. I recall telling my wife that if visitors from other communities see what we saw they wouldn't come back. Not only would they not want to come back they would also pass the information to others. Lawrence is about ready to open a 125 bed shelter for homeless. Because of this I am certain the Lawrence business community and Lawrence citizens will be even more dismayed as these homeless travel on our local bus system between the new shelter location just east of the county jail to downtown Lawrence. So do us all a favor and give us a break.

SWJayhawk13 7 years, 4 months ago

I've lived in Lawrence my whole life and never heard of it being an "easy mark" for people with a mental illness. If anything, Bert Nash sucks so much that people go to KC or Topeka for mental health treatment, they stay away from Lawrence. Don't lump the mentally ill in the with the homeless (at least not in a blanket-statement). I have a mental illness and am not homeless. I know homeless people who don't have a mental illness. The two don't always go hand in hand.

newmedia 7 years, 4 months ago

As they apparently can't afford a newspaper just hand them the Help Wanted ads and let them help themselves. Probably not politically correct...

whiteguy 7 years, 4 months ago

I say put them on a bus and drive them over to johns house , he will obviously hand out money and free stuff to them, and who knows , maybe set up camp as well . THAT DOES SOUND PRETTY AWSOME !

dinoman 7 years, 4 months ago

to everybody who posted... have you ever stoped and asked the pan handler their feelings and just why they choose to be where they are... living homeless is sometimes the only option.. yea we have shelters, but have you stoped in to see what they are like... most of the people staying there are on some form of drugs and that includes alcohol, granted the drugs are not used there but most of the people there have drug problems.. if i was homeless i would not want to stay there either.. being homeless dosn't mean that you loose your sense of self. sometimes it just happens and getting back on your feet especially in this day and age can be almost impossible.. i mean just for one minute stop yes stop and ask your self what would you do if you became unemployed tomorrow and could not find a job... how would you pay for your rent and if you got kicked out how would you get another apartment how would you get another job without an address. where would your healthcare come from. not to mention your next meal... now magnify that problem by saying you are married or you have a disability.. face it we all are just a few weeks or months away from homelessness our selfs ..... that is life in this economy that we live in treat others as we would want to be treated

aa469285 7 years, 4 months ago

First, it's "stopped" not "stoped." Second, you act as if having a drug or alcohol problem happened to those people by accident. It didn't. Take accountability. Third, not one homeless person has lost access to health care. They can go to any ED and be treated without having to pay a dime. And last, not all of us are "just a few weeks....away from homelessness." Some of us plan for that possibility by saving, not running up debt (or using any), and spending within our means. Life is hard and not fair. Get over it.

lawrencenerd 7 years, 4 months ago

The emergency room, contrary to your belief, actually does charge people, they just don't bill you at the time of service. They aren't in the business of handing out free drugs either, if you have strep throat you'd still need to go to a pharmacy and buy antibiotics. Telling somebody to "take accountability" is not a drug an alcohol addiction treatment program. Last but not least, being a grammar nazi over a typo doesn't make you superior, though it is obviously an attempt at making yourself feel that way.

llama726 7 years, 4 months ago

Have you considered the possibility that not everyone is as astute financially as you? That not everyone had your upbringing, your good fortunes? Your education? Some of us plan for that possibility by saving... I encourage you to start from a compromised position and try to say that....

You're the one whining that people might stop to privately help someone else. The only reason the overreaching government people cry about so much has to step in is the enterprising fellows like yourself who decided that the homeless are just trash to be taken out.

Please, complete the hypocrisy and tell me you are a Christian... I beg that much of you.

Carol Bowen 7 years, 4 months ago

"Some of us plan for that possibility by saving, not running up debt (or using any), and spending within our means. Life is hard and not fair. Get over it."

Good luck with that.

rtwngr 7 years, 4 months ago

An acquaintance of mine's parents were visiting from out of town and had heard a lot about downtown Lawrence and Massachusetts street for its variety of shops and restaurants. They were truly impressed and loved their experience when they visited. The remark that stood out to me was, "We couldn't believe all of the homeless, begging on the street."

Ward 7 years, 4 months ago

The downtown merchants association is making a big effort at making cards and pamphlets to educate the consumers and visitors of Lawrence about the services available to the homeless and otherwise impoverished folks looking for spare change in our fair town. The downtown merchants association does not appear to be doing nary a thing to assist the people it is targeting as bad for business. Their position is based upon fear and making a buck while avoiding the difficult (and rewarding) task of organizing assistance to the local social services and the people they serve.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 4 months ago

I'll never forget some years ago being panhandled by a teenager who had what must have been $10,000 worth of braces in his mouth.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 4 months ago

Why, yes. The nerve of that kid. I'm sure he could have gone a pawn shop and hocked them, and lived quite well without panhandling.

Bob Forer 7 years, 4 months ago

You're missing the point, Bozo. Obviously, the teenager came from a well-to-do family. His addiction (or his conscious desire to "experience life on the street") is hardly something to be sympathetic about.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 4 months ago

Just because some kid has braces doesn't mean you know how he came to be living on the streets, and is hardly a basis on which to judge him.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 4 months ago

Bozo, that's about the most clueless comment you've ever made, and for you that says something.

impska 7 years, 4 months ago

I think you're being naive. Where I went to school (a larger city than Lawrence), it was common for some students to go downtown and panhandle. They stated that the reason they did it was because they made far more from panhandling than working an hourly job for which they qualified, and it was easier.

Then they bought booze, cigarettes and pot with the cash that sympathetic passers-by threw their way, and went home to their cozy beds in their parents' house.

These kids were always greatly amused when some homeless youth advocate approached them and tried to give them information - which happened regularly. There are plenty of resources available to help actual homeless teenagers, as there is a higher success rate with getting them off the street, compared to adults.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 4 months ago

Are the zoo keepers being bullies when they put up signs saying not to feed the animals?

notajayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

The animals are already getting fed. And housed.

Random56 7 years, 4 months ago

Jon makes it sound like it's our fault they're homeless. If you ever watched intervention or have ever known an alcoholic or drug addict , you can't help them, they are the only one that can help themselves.

Matt Schwartz 7 years, 4 months ago

random indeed. that show totally illustrates the problems here. everybody watch that show...cure all. ha.

Carol Bowen 7 years, 4 months ago

"A large population of the homeless are mentally ill. My heart goes out to the mentally ill who have been abandoned by their families. Downtown businesses have issues with drug addict and bums, not individuals who do not have the mental capacity to care for themselves."

Families are not the problem. Our mental health care system is underfunded and weak. If only we could redirect our attention to mental health care.

Bursting 7 years, 4 months ago

They panhandle because Lawrence's homeless services don't hand out cash for booze and drugs. Has anyone ever really taken a good good look at these people downtown, they have an unstoppable drive based solely on addiction: cigarettes, alcohol, meth... I've watched their drug deals, binge drinking (in public, on the sidewalk), and rude behavior (might I ad specifically to women and individuals not in groups). And when someone takes exception and decides to say something to these meddlers, cops quickly shew the unhappy "real" citizens away. Simply said, this problem needs to be fixed.

Chris Ogle 7 years, 4 months ago

Just recently, I was approached for money. Instead of a hand-out, I offered him $20.00 for two hours work cleaning my garage. His response (word for word) " Why would I do that when I can make more money doing this??" Pretty much sums up the problem for me.

funkdog1 7 years, 4 months ago

I call B.S. on you. I had an employer here in town who needed flyers delivered door-to-door abou 4 years ago. He drove to the downtown homeless shelter, offered $10 per hour to put flyers on doors here in town, filled up his car with folks and had to go back again to pick up more workers. He instantly had 8 people dutifully working for the next week. Those homeless folks walked several miles every day and managed to put flyers on absolutely every single residence here in in town.

kernal 7 years, 4 months ago

Sorry funkdog, but have had similar experiences with panhandlers myself and know others who have as well. The folks your employer picked up were homeless, the article is about panhandlers.

Not all panhandlers are homeless and not all homeless are panhandlers.

kernal 7 years, 4 months ago

Meant to say the articles have been about panhandlers. Jon dragged the homeless into the debate in his letter.

Bursting 7 years, 4 months ago

difference here is: homeless shelter people vs people on the street. heck maybe if you keep them off of Mass. then all of them would be willing to work.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 4 months ago

I really think about 75% of these people, if they put as much effort into getting back on their feet as they do begging for spare change could turn their lives around.

There are probably 25% of them...most with varying forms of mental illness that are truly in need.

It's not that hard to figure out; when someone tells you they're hungry, and you offer to get them something to eat (instead of giving them cash) and all of a sudden they're not interested.... (This tactic worked out a lot better when there was a McDonalds downtown, now there's nowhere cheap!!)


They need a buck for the bus, so you offer to go over to the transit office and get them a day pass (again, instead of cash) and the reply becomes "forget it." "never-mind."

The 'easy" and "quick" thing to do is just give them cash; and they're well aware of that!

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

"I really think about 75% of these people, if they put as much effort into getting back on their feet as they do begging for spare change could turn their lives around.

There are probably 25% of them...most with varying forms of mental illness that are truly in need."

Care to site the source of your statisitcs, Mr. Bootstraps? Or, are you like most right wingers who make up their facts as they go?

mr_right_wing 7 years, 4 months ago

My experiences in downtown Lawrence in the last decade. If I do have any extra time I generally take a few minutes to talk to these people, opposed to just brushing them off. (after all, I am offering to take the time to go get them food, or a bus pass.)

There have been those (few) that have taken me up on that offer (which is why I liked it better when McDonald's was down there! 'Penny Annies' needs to be renamed '5-spot Annies'!!) Hearing their stories can often be sad, but it makes for an enlightening experience. How many of these folks have you had any kind of extended conversation with??

...and if you check you're own quote of me you'll notice the "I really think",I never said "it's proven undisputed fact." Gotta watch that my friend; those kind of inaccuracies kill the credibility of your point.

gudpoynt 7 years, 4 months ago

Preceding your numbers with "I really think about..." and "There are probably..." kills the credibility of your numbers. At least to anybody who doesn't know you, which is everybody on this board since you are anonymous.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 4 months ago

It's called being clear and concise....this is not research, this is not fact; it is my opinion. The differnce between the two should always be made clear. Sorry if that thinking is beyond you.

(That was quite a stretch just so you'd have something to criticise.)

beatrice 7 years, 4 months ago

I can absolutely appreciate why business owners would try to keep panhandlers off the streets and from in front of their businesses. Asking people not to give money directly to those who ask isn't that unusual, as many who make it their business to help the homeless feel it is best to give to the shelters and other organizations that provide services for those in need rather than just giving a handout to those who ask. Giving to your local shelter is far from "punishing" the homeless, and it helps by making sure the money isn't going to be spent on drugs or alcohol. Further, homeless shelters often provide services that can help those who have fallen on hard times and want help to aquire the skills (or needed medicine) necessary to eventually care and support themselves.

Jon, one further point -- what gives the businesses, or any of us, the "right" to tell others how to spend their money is our right to freedom of speech. I have the right to say it, and you have the right to ignore it if you choose.

gudpoynt 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes good post. If you feel the need to be altruistic to panhandlers, then follow the advice of those who have made altruism their life's work. And they will tell you more often than not, that giving to panhandlers is not a very effective way of really helping them.

Jimo 7 years, 4 months ago

I assume these merchants would also give a swift bootkick to the bee-hind of those pesky girl scouts peddling their heart disease and obesity bullets all over.

whatadrag 7 years, 4 months ago

Do you lack the ability to think somewhat critically?

Jimo 7 years, 4 months ago

No just a fierce love of free speech. What's your excuse?

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

This is about the merchants rallying the public to push the homeless out of the public domain with the support and help of the city. The homeless have rights. Period. It doesn't matter how they choose to spend their money and it's not illegal to ask for it. Just look at the downtown merchants who "ask" everyone to 'support our community' and to 'buy-local' by paying 4-times as much for corpo franchise crap that is anything but 'local'. Supporting downtown for the sake of keeping them around is every bit the handout. And for people who look down on alcohol consumption by day when it comes to the homeless, while pouring alcohol down the throats of any willing student by night, is beyond disgusting.

Screw downtown. I'm done with it. I'm taking my business elsewhere from now on.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

Take your business wherever you like - that's your right.

But your arguments lack substantive and coherence.

If we give people money, we have a legitimate concern in how they spend it, if we don't want to enable self-destructive behavior.

It's not illegal to ask for money, but the line between that and harassment is hard to find - and harassment is illegal.

And, your comparison about alcohol use is a little funny - it's one thing for people to spend their own money drinking (although I agree it's a big problem in our society), and it's another for them to ask me for money and then spend it getting drunk.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

I see. I assume the same applies to the sutdent loan program? Educational grants? Scholarships? VA benefits and disability compensation?

All I'm saying is that the merchants don't have a problem asking us to support them solely for the sake of supporting them. Given the cost of shopping downtown when we have other, more economical options, solely to help them out is itself and act of charity.

They don't have a problem advertising anywhere and everywhere they can, which to me is every bit a form of harrassment. Their advertisments are in my face and in my home 1000% more than any homeless person ever was. Their sidewalk sales impede my freedom of movement and get in my way more than any panhandler ever did. And I'm sure plenty of them spend their money on drugs or alcohol too. So, why should I enable a group of merchants who think it's ok to rally the public against the least fortunate in our society by categorizing into an unwanted class of people? (See rduhrich's comment below)

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm not sure what you're trying to say, but, yes, I'd think when we give people money (in a variety of ways), we have a legitimate interest in not helping them destroy themselves.

Merchants are in business to make money, so they advertise and ask us to buy their products. What's the problem there exactly?

If some people feel that a vibrant downtown is important to them, they may choose to spend their money there, even if it's a little more expensive. Others may not.

I haven't felt inundated by downtown advertising, so I don't know why you do.

Your comparison is off - when I shop at a store or go to a restaurant, I receive goods or services in exchange for my money. If I happened to know that a store owner beat their wife, or had a cocaine addiction, I might choose not to shop there so as not to support it.

But there's a basic difference between an exchange of goods for money, and simply giving money to somebody because they ask for it.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

  1. I understand the difference. I assume by your logic that it wouldn't be problem so long as they're selling something. They could therefore avoid all of this criticism by grabbing a handful of gravel and exchanging rocks for the donations they receive. Of course, they would need a permit from the city to sell those rocks, which would require things like identification, an address, and perhaps a social security number. And we shouldn't forget that the city and state would want their cut from the sale as well.

  2. You assume all homeless/panhandlers use 100% of the money they receive for self-destruction.

  3. The money they receive goes into the economy. Someone else gets it and then spends it. And I'm sure some of it certainly finds its way to the downtown merchants anyway.

  4. Downtown is public domain.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

If they can find something that would be valuable to offer people in exchange for money, that would be better. Then it would be a more balanced interaction.

I do not assume that - however I think it's a pretty high percentage, and agencies can offer help with the necessities without enabling that part of it.

Maybe you could point that out to the downtown merchants - I imagine they think they're losing more money than they're gaining.

Yes, what's your point there? The suggestion that's being discussed is whether to give money to panhandlers or not.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

Great. Next I hand them a buck, I'll ask for a rock. Then we can all be happy and go back to being a real community again.

On public domain: The goal of convincing the public not to give them money has nothing to do with helping them. It's about removing or encouraging them to stop hanging out downtown so that the good, shelterd folk of Kansas don't have to see them and be confronted with such a reality. Bad for business, you know.

Only problem is that it's public domain. They have a right to be there and for the merchants and the city to incentivize exclusion is an abuse of public space that should be open to all.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm not interesting in buying rocks, thank you. If you are, fine.

If your interpretation were correct, they wouldn't be printing and distributing cards with information about where people can get help.

Of course they're concerned about their businesses, why shouldn't they be? That's how they support themselves and/or their families, and provide desired goods and services to the public.

They can still be there if nobody gives them money, so your last comment is off.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

If buying rocks buys them the right to remain in the public domain then I'm happy to do so. It's a little absurd when I could just give them the dollar, but I'll play your game.

If giving the merchants money means they get to have undue influence over city policy and the public like this based on their preferences of who should be allowed downtown, I'm happy to abandon their businesses. And if they go out of business end up on the streets as well, maybe, just maybe, I'll buy some rocks from them too.

See Kipper's post below.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

It's not a game.

Businesses supply desired goods and services in exchange for money - they're not just asking for it for nothing - it's a mutually beneficial relationship.

And, again, if we stop giving them money when they ask, this doesn't remove any of their constitutional rights to be in a public place, if they're not breaking any laws.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

Its about incentive to remain, jafs. If someone came up with a scheme to offer the merchants pamphlets instead of money under the guise of 'educating' them, the merchants would rightly be outraged that someone was trying to run them out of business.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

They're offering a valuable service in exchange for money.

What services are the panhandlers offering - what "business" are they in?

If people choose not to wander around downtown because they're not getting money for nothing, that's their choice.

jessanddaron 7 years, 4 months ago

First of all, addiction IS a disease. It might have been an easy and poor choice to try and relieve some of the pain I am sure these people feel, but make no mistake addiction is a disease that often works harder than ones willingness to overcome it. Lock up the less fortunate because they are bad for local business? Give me a break, go somewhere with an actual panhandling injunction (I've lived there) and you'll see Lawrence has a tiny problem if any. The fundamental issue at hand is that the general consensus is most of the homeless aren't people at all anymore. You have turned them into dirty tenants of downtown who pay no rent and bother people. I, for one, haven't been seriously pestered by anyone less fortunate, and my mother taught me about the word "mitzvah". Maybe you guys should google it...

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

Not mention the cosequences of the merchants and the city making it en vogue to place the homeless into such a category and the way this translates into a community of immature drinkers out to prove things like manhood. Couple this message with some cocky, immature student who just drank himself crazy, again with the clear endorsement of the merchants and the city, and you have a recipe for violent retribution against them. This certainly categorizes and dehumanizes the homeless, which means violence against them probably isn't too far behind.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 4 months ago

Nope...gotta draw the line on that one. An addiction is just that, an addiction...it comes from bad choices and/or poor character.

A 'disease' is something completely out of your control. If you have cancer or asthma or epilepsy there isn't a whole lot you can do on your own (without medical help). An addict has to feed the addiction for it to continue. They have to go buy the booze or drugs. A patient of a true 'disease' does nothing and the condition progresses.

I truly think it offensive to compare an addict to someone who is suffering through cancer or any other life-threatening chronic disease. It's insensitive and obscene. How about you take your argument to next years' Relay for Life and see if any of those cancer survivors would agree that they are essentially the same as an addict.

lawrencenerd 7 years, 4 months ago

Addiction is a disease, and it is primarily neurological. The neurological changes somebody goes through are permanent. That is why an addict who has been clean for 10 years will still crave whatever they were addicted to. There are plenty of studies that show strong evidence that it is hereditary as well. This explains why some people become quickly addicted to substances and go over the line with them, take alcohol for example, while others can drink often but exhibit temperance. Also, the idea that somebody with an addiction can simply choose to stop having it contradicts what the word addiction means. Most definitions you will find out there indicate loss of control. If one doesn't have control of a situation, one can't simply decide to change it without help to regain control.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 4 months ago

Absolute psychobabble.

Let me guess, you also believe in 'sex addition'.

Pathetic (beyond just plain sad.)

You cheapen everyone with a true 'disease' by trying to elevate bad behavior.

You sicken me and we're done conversing.

lawrencenerd 7 years, 4 months ago

Attacking me doesn't make your argument more credible. Do a search of "Ad Hominem Abusive" to understand the fallacy you are using. I'm sure if you look up some other fallacies you can find some that make you look less unreasonable. You could get really radical and actually find some evidence that supports your position and present it instead of using logic fallacy at all.

"Let me guess, you also believe in 'sex addition'."

As in 1+2= threesome? Sure.

I believe in my statement is backed up by hard science, and really all you have to do to find studies on it is put the search terms addiction and disease into your friendly internet search engine to find links to such evidence.

Do you regularly throw fits and call people names when they have a differing viewpoint than yours? If so you may want to seek professional help for anger management.

jessanddaron 7 years, 4 months ago

How about you get off your high horse? I have at least two different forms of "diseases" in the incorrect way you are referring to them anyway. Maybe I have ran in Race for the Cure because my grandmother had breast cancer. This does NOT mean, however, that I am naive enough to believe that addicts are living their lives the way they want them to be. It is you who is offensive assuming you know more than posters on here about "addiction" when you couldn't be any more clueless. If I need to be extremely clear for you, SUBSTANCE ABUSE is a disease...ask a doctor. Addiction to video games? I have no clue and that is not even in the realm of what we are discussing. Learn the facts before you decide to tell someone, incorrectly, they are insensitive and wrong. I am not hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. Feel free to contact me anytime if you would like to discuss this in private because it is quite clear you have an unfortunate outlook on this whole situation.

jessanddaron 7 years, 4 months ago

The American Society of Addiction Medicine has this definition for Addiction: Addiction is a primary, chronic DISEASE of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in the individual pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Addiction is characterized by impairment in behavioral control, craving, inability to consistently abstain, and diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships. Like other chronic DISEASES, addiction involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

jessanddaron 7 years, 4 months ago

By the way, I do have a life-threatening chronic illness, am not addicted to any substances, but feel sympathy for those that are. Maybe you just lost the ability to care?

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

Maybe about the disease definition, although I'm not completely convinced.

But addicts have to make the decision that they want to stop, and seek help. If they don't do that, they won't get better. So there's an element of decision-making involved here.

jessanddaron 7 years, 4 months ago

You are correct but (not in a sarcastic manner) did you read the part of the definition stating it inhibits their thought making process thus making it exponentially harder for them to do what is right? I.e. detox, sober up, etc.

Would you consider someone addicted to Hydrocodone, because they have been taking it for years due to a chronic back problem, as a down and out loser who just as easily can make a decision to quit being an "addict"? There are too many variables to throw everyone with an "addiction" under the same umbrella. Do I think my friends who are addicted to opiates could turn their lives around? Yes. Is it even close to how easy every one here thinks it is? No. Don't tell me about it not being a disease when I have seen multiple people suffer from it...and not because they wanted to but the difficulty lies within the DISEASE itself. I'm not even sure how this is an argument because the medical community refers to substance abuse as a disease.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

Again, I'm not completely convinced about the disease definition.

But, what would you suggest? That we round up all the addicts and force them into treatment?

Nobody reasonably suggests that it's easy to recover from an addiction - people do suggest that the decision to do so rests with the addict.

And that disempowering people is not a good idea in general.

jessanddaron 7 years, 4 months ago

We just respectfully disagree at the root of the issue which is the ease and ability to stop self detrimental behavior in respect to substance abuse, and just exactly where blame lies in the whole equation.

To answer your question, no, I believe no one will receive any help whatsoever unless they are truly invested in their recovery. I agree with you that the decision lies within the addict, but sadly I have seen people make that decision and, I wholeheartedly believe this, they gave their best efforts only to relapse and lose all responsibility for the things they know are important.

This problem in itself destroys ones self esteem but I know that when faced with any similar issues later on in life with people I care about, I won't approach them with a judgmental attitude.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

I wouldn't say it's easy, and for me it's not so much about blame either.

If the decision (and hence the possibility of success) lies with the individual, then we agree.

The question this all started with was whether we should be giving panhandlers money - one of the main reasons I might argue that we shouldn't is that we very likely are enabling addicts rather than helping them.

Helping them would mean providing treatment and support for those that choose to get help.

jessanddaron 7 years, 4 months ago

Wow, is it possible to see a conversation on these boards that doesn't include death threats and Glenn Beck vs. John Stewart debates?! I agree giving a little money is barely a short term solution. Good exchange, sir.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago


There are still a few reasonable sorts on here :-)

Kristine Bailey 7 years, 4 months ago

Not one of you has made a comment on the "Theater Lawrence Awarded $497.600...Grant" article. Towards the end of the article it says "The grant is the second major grant the Mabee Foundation has made to a Lawrence organization in the last week. The foundation also awarded $540,000 to the Lawrence Community Shelter."

pace 7 years, 4 months ago

yeha man, be cool, buy those souls a drink. Let downtown be open to what ever. Why they are against skate boarding and they do all the heavy stuff against jaywalking. Here downtown is suggesting people don't hand money to panhandlers. They don't have the right to an opinion. They should not be allowed to make a statement. They are rich man, they are prejudiced because so much of their money is tied up in their business, and what are they doing spending all day and night at their store, they should get out sometime and get over it. they should keep the shut up about rather people are being helped or not by my spare change. They should keep the shut up even if their business is being hurt or if the panhandlers are aggressive to the point of harassing people when they stand in front of a window looking at the goods. Downtown does not have the right to an opinion. They should shut it up man. i dis this, there should be no discussion on it, I got an opinion and it is the one and only truth. I don't like the woman who suggested giving out sandwiches or information, I like to give those little bottles of booze one gets on planes. Hey nothing wrong with helping a fellow man. Any way I don't have time to volunteer at any agency or enough money to donate to one or any extra food for those pantries. They don't have any more action then me, handing out a couple of quarters, That is what people need. End of story.

notajayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Reading these comments give me yet another reason to be happy I don't - and never will - live in Larryville.

I just love all the whiners who constantly harp on taxing the "rich" to relieve the "burden" on the middle class (aka themselves), but they can't be bothered to come up with some loose change to help out someone that doesn't even have food to eat.

I just love all the whiners talking about how our greedy, corporate healthcare system forces people into bankruptcy and losing their homes, and conveniently forget that when they see a homeless person, who just must be a drug addict, or have chosen his or her circumstances out of laziness.

I just love the ones who pat themselves on the back for giving to the Salvation Army or the United Way - as long as they keep those pathetic people out of sight somewhere and you don't have to actually see them.

For all of you that think there's just SO much help available for these people, try it sometime. Start with the SRS website and see how much assistance is available for a single person without an established disability. Then try to apply for disability and see how easy that is. Try getting a job when you don't have a phone number, an address, transportation, or a place to take a shower or wash your clothes before your interview. Oh, you might be able to get some help, a small amount of food stamps or some dry goods from a food pantry - of course, without some place to actually prepare that food, that's of rather limited utility.

As usual, the utter lack of compassion, empathy, and human decency exhibited by the fine folks of Larryville (especially the ones constantly complaining about the lack of those qualities in others) makes me sick to my stomach.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

I think we're all glad you don't live here.

Your understanding of the difficulties people face getting government assistance would lead me to think you'd like to make that assistance greater and more easy to access - is that the case?

gatekeeper 7 years, 4 months ago

One of the few times I agree with you. Too many people have the opinion that they are happy to give to agencies that can help or tell people where they can go to supposedly get help, but they want to make sure they don't see these needy people. Most haven't been in a similar situation or known someone who has.

oliveoyl 7 years, 4 months ago

I think you guys are generalizing a little too much. I give money to agencies not so I don't have to see them...I give so the people who utilize them can receive the services they need in order to get on their feet. I sure as hell am not qualified to help them, these agencies are. On the flip side, I'm sure there are people out there who do exactly as you said. I just don't appreciate blanket statements, not everything is black and white. There are good people in this town that want to help with no strings attached.

All that said, I don't know if I agree with what Downtown is doing. I don't think handing out a pamplet will help or change anything.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

It provides people with information about where they can get help - if they choose not to, they're making that decision.

oliveoyl 7 years, 4 months ago

I completely agree that it is their decision. My issue is that will handing out a pamphlet really change someone's perspective, help them make better decisions, help them realize their potential and encourage them to seek help? I'm doubtful. It's one thing when you have someone to talk to about getting help, it's another to hand them a piece of paper and walk off.

I'm still conflicted on this issue. I worked Downtown for almost a decade and still patron Downtown almost daily. I have never felt harassed nor have I been approached for money on a regular basis. When I hear of people complaining that every single time they go Downtown bums ask for money and accost them, I can't help but think it's an exaggeration because I haven't been approached for money in over 6 months and I practically live Downtown. No exaggeration. In my eyes I feel we don't have a "huge" homeless issue...every town has homeless people but since we are smaller it is more obvious? I just think that Downtown wants to blame slow business on everyone else versus blaming their own business mistakes.

That said, I also work non-profit and understand the need to educate people and give them options. A lot of homeless in this town don't realize the options and resources Lawrence has to help them, as a lot are transients.

I dunno...it's a hard call.

notajayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

"I just don't appreciate blanket statements, not everything is black and white."

Good. 'Cause "I just love the ones who ..." does not constitute a "blanket statement". Unlike all those above who characterize all the homeless on the streets as lazy, drug-addicted bums.

oliveoyl 7 years, 4 months ago

In the end, I agree with you. I was more responding to Gate's comment, which did echo your own in a way. I don't appreciate people bashing others who give to charities as if we have some sort of motive. For me and others I know, there are no motives. I just want to help and the agencies are better qualified to do so, therefore I give money or volunteer my time. It's not because I want to feel better about myself, or to not see the needs of others and live in a bubble. Maybe it wasn't necessarily a blanket statement but you guys were lumping most of the masses into one category. I just wanted to be a voice who said, not entirely true...not all are that way.

I don't appreciate people who categorize the homeless either. People want to go to extremes or assume that just because they are homeless they must have substance abuse issues, again, not entirely true.

pfunk81 7 years, 4 months ago

I just love all the people who don't live in this town that constantly feel the need to throw their .02 in on Lawrence matters. If you don't live here, why do you bother to comment?

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

Well, I would never have moved from Lawrence, but I couldn't afford to live there anymore.

Carol Bowen 7 years, 4 months ago

Nota's perspective from outside Lawrence describes a bigger picture. I agree with nota. I am amazed at some of the comments here.

Randall Uhrich 7 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

I posted this above. I'm reposting so there is absolute clarity here: "Not to mention the cosequences of the merchants and the city making it en vogue to place the homeless into such a category and the way this translates into a community of immature drinkers out to prove things like manhood. Couple this message with some cocky, immature student who just drank himself crazy, again with the clear endorsement of the merchants and the city, and you have a recipe for violent retribution against them. This certainly categorizes and dehumanizes the homeless, which means violence against them probably isn't too far behind."

See what I mean? They're not people to this guy. Just stray dogs. Probably doesn't even matter to this guy if they get "put down" like a dog either. The merchants and the city of Lawrence should be so proud of what they've started.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

"I would help you out, buddy, but I wouldn't want to make you a slave."

Great wisdom there, Bootstraps. You have bankers and PhDs who can't find jobs right now. What makes you think that a 65 year old who's been on the street for the last decade or more with no teeth, no phone number, no address, no skills and no clean clothes will be able to find sustainable employment?

I guess "liberty" means every man for himself.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

You're right. it had nothing to do with war or predatory capitalism. You know, the same wars "people like you" love so much?

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

Why do you think we go to war?

Capitalism is war: Competition to the death. Every man for himself. Survival. Exploitation of opportunity and resources. Alliances. Propaganda. Patriotism / "customer loyalty".

Capitalism dehumanizes people every bit as much as war does. They're not people, they're "human resources," "consumers," and "target markets". Those who refuse to play the game or abide by popular norms, be they war deserters or homeless, become outcasts, if not convicts.

So we love our over-consumption. To feed it, we need a supercharged capitalism, which requires cheap access to resources and production. To ensure continued access to those resources sometimes requires the use of force to remove obstacles. We send 25 year-olds over to go and do our bidding. They come home unable to fit back in--to participate in society or the market economy. They drop out of society. They develop coping mechanisms like substance abuse. And then we turn around and tell them that because they aren't a part of that system, that they don't deserve the sympathy or to be allowed into the public domain.

"Thanks for killing other and going insane to get me access to the cheap goods I want to sell in my downtown Lawrence shop, now gow away. You're scaring off my customers."

you get the idea.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

Before you give your soul over to Glen Beck completely, you might want to read up on a little known group called the Molly Macguires.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

I wouldn't expect you to know how such theories play out in reality, which is exactly what the story of the Molly Macguires illustrates. No government. Only law as defined by business. Slavery was just another business model too.

Don't forget Aldous Huxley while you're at it.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for that Orwellian rewrite of history.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

How about that a civil war was fought to end the PRIVATE ownership of people. The government didn't make anyone own slaves. Cotton did.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

You should charge for your lessons. It would be fun to watch you try to charge for teaching people living in the very town that Quantrill burned down that slavery spantaneously materialized as an issue after the civil war was underway simply to stave off the British. Be sure to sell tickets for that one. In fact, you should apply for a teaching position up at the university. You could take all your students down to Freestate Brewery and hold class there.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

I agree. I doubt anyone would pay either.

birdsandflowers 7 years, 4 months ago

How many of you folks would like to know how some of the money you have sunk into the social security system is being spent by the mentally ill who receive monthly checks. Speaking from personal experience with a mentally ill family member . . . he has chosen to be homeless for the past 5 months. He receives just under $1000 a month from Social Security. He is bipolar with schizo-effect disorder and an alcoholic. He chooses to go off his medication because he is "happier" that way. Nearly an entire monthly check has been blown at a strip club; then there's the guitars, cigarettes and plenty of booze and pot; other drugs when available; occasional jail time for petty infractions -- "a cot and three hots"; unnecessary emergency room visits (the hospitals in St. Louis and Memphis will most likely have to write off his expenses because they have no forwarding address for him). Don't get me wrong -- there are plenty of the homeless that are truly in need and there are many mentally ill that struggle and need assistance. I'm just saying the system is being abused and it ticks me off seeing it first hand.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 4 months ago

"He is bipolar with schizo-effect disorder and an alcoholic."

Well, with all that going for him, I can't understand how he could possibly make bad choices.

gatekeeper 7 years, 4 months ago

If I had a family member in that situation, I'd be doing everything I could to help them, not bitch about it. You could go to court to get legal guardianship (because he obviously isn't in control of himself) and then you can have him institutionalized, you or other family members could be responsible for his care and making sure he is taking his meds (I knew a family that put them in their adult sons food to make sure they were taken). If he is homeless and has no address, how does he receive his checks? Smells a little fishy.

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

I know a few people who self-medicate with alcohol and/or street drugs because they work better than the pharmaceuticals to control their illness.

notajayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

They're also cheaper, easier to obtain, and have a more immediate and potent effect.

WHY 7 years, 4 months ago

If the homeless had their own money then no one would care. When they mooch off of society and then waste the help that is a social concern. If all the homeless need is some booze the Downtown group should buy a keg of natty and leave it at the edge of town.

gatekeeper 7 years, 4 months ago

I would like to remind all how many homeless and transients are veterans. According to the Nat Coalition for Homeless Vets, about 1/3 of the adult homeless population are vets. "The majority of them are single; come from urban areas; and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders."

How many of these druggie panhandlers you speak of served their nation and now are treated as scum by so many of you? How many of them developed drug problems because of the horrors they saw while serving, only to return home and not get the support they need?

"Although flawless counts are impossible to come by – the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty – VA estimates that 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Over the course of a year, approximately twice that many experience homelessness. Only eight percent of the general population can claim veteran status, but nearly one-fifth of the homeless population are veterans."

Think about this before bashing every transient you see in town. How many of them served our nation to protect you and your rights? Do you think you should assist them in their time of need when they were willing to sacrifice their lives so you can go shopping downtown?


gatekeeper 7 years, 4 months ago

I have to add that I searched for groups in Lawrence that provide help to homeless vets in Lawrence and there are NONE. There are only 4 agencies in the entire state that help homeless vets get back on their feet.

Hudson Luce 7 years, 4 months ago

During the summer, a lot of the "homeless" are traveller kids. They choose to live in that way, some of them end up permanently homeless, some die, and the rest find some place to settle down and make a life for themselves. Quite a few of them are alcoholics or pretty close to it, some have mental health issues they can't afford under the present system to get help for, and some are runaways. Some of them are middle class, some are working class, and some come from rich families and even have trust funds and the like. Most of them have Myspace pages, it's how they keep in touch with each other. They've got a surprisingly close-knit culture, a sort of community amongst themselves, a kind of support network, and they form close bonds with each other. Here's an interview with a traveller kid who settled down here and who works here: http://www.lawrence.com/news/2008/may...

In other words, they're human beings, too. Some of them are jerks and they're the aggressive panhandlers. Others act in a halfway decent manner, and they probably get more money that way. If you give them money, there's a fair chance it'll get spent on beer or cheap wine or whiskey, but there's also the chance they'll buy food. Unless they've gotten to the point where they're dependent on alcohol, it's a choice they make, and as long as they're getting free money, that choice is pretty easy to make. Liquor and grocery stores sell them the booze and beer, it's not like they're getting it for free.

There are ways to deal with this problem without putting all of these people in jail or getting them into the criminal justice system. One way is to encourage people not to give money to them, but that doesn't work out, because people will do that anyway, given the comments on this article. The real problem here seems to be aggressive panhandling, and a way to deal with that might be to have a couple of LKPD officers walk a beat up and down Massachusetts Avenue during the hours that businesses are open. That's probably the best answer to the problem, just having police around would give the aggressive types a good reason to find some other place to go to.

whats_going_on 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't care if they are there, as long as they don't harass other people (and no, that wasn't a snotty remark)

I'll never forget walking downtown one evening next to Mad Greek and I saw one of their employees come outside and bring a meal to a homeless person. I think that would be more helpful than money in most cases. Or, when it starts to get cold, clean out those old beanies and take them down there so the homeless can try to stay warm.

pace 7 years, 4 months ago

Just by the by, a lot of panhandlers aren't homeless. A lot of homeless work and are not panhandlers.

Kontum1972 7 years, 4 months ago

hmmmm...i was wondering if they have a bed-bug problem too?

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps we should give the panhandlers a card with Jon's address and cab fare?

kipper 7 years, 4 months ago

I agree with this letter to the editor. Whether to give or not give money or food to panhandlers should be a personal choice that is hopefully based on broad, complicated, and thoughtful considerations. I don't like the Downtown Lawrence pamphlet because it is controversial, narrow in it's perspective, condescending to people on the streets by implying that they will necessarily make bad choices, and wrong to imply (with the "walk with confidence" statement) that panhandlers should be feared.

It would be helpful to look at the larger picture. One in seven people in the US lives in poverty according to recent widely reported census statistics for 2009. The Kansas poverty rate increased to 13.4 % in 2009 (a higher increase than some other parts of the country). The US unemployment rate in Sept. of 2010 was 9.2%! And regarding the income gap, "The top-earning 20% of Americans — those making more than $100,000 each year — received 49.4% of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4% earned by those below the poverty line, according to newly released Census figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968." (USA Today)

So it stands to reason that there are more people on the streets in Lawrence because there are more people on the streets everywhere. Thus it would be helpful if we as a community would quit pretending that Lawrence has a growing number of homeless people because it is some sort of haven for the poor. We should all be shocked by the numbers of homeless people everywhere -- including in our community.

No one is immune from being one of the above statistics, and even if some of us struggle to imagine ourselves becoming poor (I'm not one of them), surely all of us have friends and family who could be vulnerable. And there are additional factors, of course, that leave people vulnerable: a devastating mental break, addiction, injury, job loss, illness, jail-time, military service, loss of a spouse. I can imagine myself being in a situation where I'd need to ask for money, and that this asking could even happen on the streets. This imagining influences how I feel about others who have thus far been less fortunate than me. People on the streets should be treated with dignity and respect. The people on the streets are you and me.

sully97 7 years, 4 months ago

Nice government minted coin there Liberty. The irony's a hoot.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

No, you're a libertarian dummy.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

lawrencenerd 7 years, 4 months ago

Hell yeah! We can blame the homeless and panhandlers for those too!

kipper 7 years, 4 months ago

You may have missed the statistics -- the unemployment rate is over 9 percent. There are many people asking for jobs who are not getting them, and I can imagine being in that situation and needing to ask for help, and especially if you add a whole host of other devastating life circumstances on top of unemployment. My point is that a whole lot of people who never thought they would be homeless end up in this very difficult situation.

kipper 7 years, 4 months ago

this post is a response to "liberty one"

kipper 7 years, 4 months ago

Given the statistics on poverty and unemployment, given the very high numbers of people on the streets, it is hard for me to believe that our system of charity and social services is fully working. But I agree there is help, and that even though I wish more services were available, that our community is generous.

While there are some panhandlers who harass people, I believe based on my experience that most are law-abiding and follow the anti-aggressive panhandling law that does not allow them to harass anyone. Let's not forget that these law-abiding citizens who are legally panhandling sometimes get harassed too (like getting chased), but it's often only the complaints of the wealthy people that get heard.

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

What lost customers? Do people walk into a store, say "I was going to shop here,but now I'm not, because there's a beggar outside?"

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

You have no idea what my view of the world is. What data, facts, proof do the merchants,or you, have that beggars are negatively impacting downtown businesses?

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

Got it. No proof , data or facts whatsoever for your assertions.
What I think about downtown merchants is off topic. There is no hard data supporting their, and your claims. Or if there is, you have failed to cite it.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

On what grounds would libertarians support laws against individuals in public places?

I honestly thought one of the basic cornerstones of libertarian philosophy was individual freedom.

Also, the 1st amendment may protect the right to ask for money.

If they go into a store, which is privately owned, I could see that's a bit different. But the sidewalks are public property.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

That's your prerogative.

I completely understand the distinction between public and private - my point was that private property owners may indeed have a right to exclude people from their property - and that fits with libertarian property rights arguments.

The idea that the government has a right to prohibit people from public places if they're simply exercising their freedom by walking around really doesn't seem to fit.

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

And clearly you have no facts to back your opinions, so must now start personal attacks. The law in Lawrence allows panhandling. I have no argument? Numerous posters on this thread have cited data to support their assertions; since you have no data, you are the one with "no argument whatsoever".

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

Once again, personal jab. No facts. I wouldn't presume to read the minds of downtown business owners. I do not know that you are right. You have no basis whatsoever for your opinion except you feel like it is true. That's why it is an opinion, not reality. I like downtown Lawrence, always have. When I am in Lawrence, I usually visit it. Personally I have never not visited downtown Lawrence due to "those people." Sometimes I have chosen not to go downtown because it is too crowded, and I'm a bit claustrophobic. There are ways to deal with panhandlers which do not involve the paternalism you desire. 1. You can give them ,money. 2. You can ignore them, rudely or politely. 3. You can tell them no. Problem solved.

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

I asked for data supporting downtown merchants' contention (and yours) that beggars in Lawrence, Ks. are having a negative impact on the Lawrence downtown stores.

kipper 7 years, 4 months ago

and do the drunk college students after a game compensate the government for the loss of my business when I avoid downtown on game nights? (Yes, drunk college students spend money downtown, so do panhandlers.)

kipper 7 years, 4 months ago

my bad -- tired -- meant to say businesses (not government). Broader point: In the US, everyone, regardless of looks or income level, gets to be in the public square and to speak even if their presence makes other people feel uncomfortable. There is already a law in Lawrence that outlaws "aggressive" panhandling -- it is quite restrictive regarding the way and places people can panhandle. The Downtown Lawrence flier is offensive to me because it seems to be another effort to rid downtown of people who fit the profile of "poor". Maybe this is unintentional. Do you think so?

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

People on the sidewalks are not "customers." They may be potential customers, or they may be just people out for a stroll on a nice day. If beggars are inside a store begging, then they would be harassing the customers,and the store would have the right to ask the beggars to leave, or call the police if the beggars refused to leave. I don't think this is happening.

notajayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

"For people who can't work there are charities, churches, and other ways for them to seek aid without harassing people."

Yep, it's just soooo darn easy.


"An agency that keeps track of charitable giving is out with its latest rankings and it shows donations at hundreds of the nation's biggest charities have seen the worst declines in giving in 20 years. The top 400 U.S. charities saw an 11 percent drop in donations overall in the last year according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy."

"That represents billions of dollars not donated and it's the worst drop since the Chronicle started keeping records."

And all at a time when more people that ever are asking for help.

"People stop coming downtown and the businesses lose customers."

An unprovable contention, since the people who don't go downtown aren't there to tell anyone why they don't go downtown.

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

Most foods you buy at the supermarket contain corn and/or soybeans, both of which are heavily subsidized by the Federal government. The price farmers receive for their crops are currently declining.

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

No,I believe you are http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=11909928 Corn prices fell for a fourth straight day Monday after hitting a two-year high last week.

"It's absolutely profit-taking" that's driving corn lower, said Jason Ward, an analyst with Northstar Commodity in Minneapolis. There was no change in fundamentals that would drive prices lower to start the new week, he said."

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

Personal attacks. I cited an article from 10/18 which states prices are currently trending downward. Also you failed to address the part about corn and soybeans being heavily subsidized by the Federal government you despise. And you still have no proof for your opinion that beggars are harming downtown businesses.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

But many on this forum have stated that they go downtown less or not at all, due to the hassle of dealing with panhandlers.

oliveoyl 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes but many on this forum are homeless haters and post many times. When people have strong opinions they comment. So I'm sure it "looks" like a lot of people on this forum don't want to support Downtown because of the homeless but you are only getting a small percentage of people who live here. I guarantee some, not all, of those haters don't support Downtown in general...b/c there is always something wicked about it...too many bars/restaurants, drunk students, parking, higher priced goods, etc... so the homeless issue is really just another excuse. If it wasn't the homeless it would be something else. You can't please everyone.

notajayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

"But many on this forum have stated that they go downtown less or not at all, due to the hassle of dealing with panhandlers."

And from the number of times they've posted their complaints, it's a miracle they could find the time to go downtown if they wanted to.

Carol Bowen 7 years, 4 months ago

I think walking between sidewalk restaurants and drinking establishments is unpleasant. The sidewalks are too narrow.

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 4 months ago

Panhandlers are lucky I don't spit on them when I walk by. They'll never get a piece of lint from my pocket.

gatekeeper 7 years, 4 months ago

How would you feel if you spit on a homeless vet?

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

You do know spitting on people is a crime in Kansas? That would be pretty cool if you spit on a panhandler and got arrested for it. Especially if your victim was a veteran or mentally ill.

notajayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Ricky_Vaughn (anonymous) says…

"Panhandlers are lucky I don't spit on them when I walk by."

They are lucky. No telling what they'd catch.

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 4 months ago

Veteran schmeteran. People don't get on their feet by begging on the street. This "vet" shouldn't have blown all his money on booze and massage parlors.

Isn't the Army supposed to take care of vets?

parrothead8 7 years, 4 months ago

All the downtown merchants want to do is put a little info card near their checkouts on how to avoid panhandlers. I'll do the same thing with those cards as I usually do with panhandlers: ignore them and walk away.

Every now and then, though, I'll buy one of the quieter guys a couple slices of pizza and a Coke.

doc1 7 years, 4 months ago

They need to bring in Bum Fights. Pay the winner of each bout $100.00.

Meatwad 7 years, 4 months ago

Bums (many of whom are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol) ruin our downtown and I'm glad Downtown Lawrence Assoc. has finally decided to do something about it. I don't know if this small effort will help but if it educates the people who enable the drug and alcohol use to give to the organizations that help those who really want help instead of giving cash directly to the beggars, that is a big start. I give money all the time to musicians downtown, but never to beggars. The musicians are doing a job, the beggars are just lazy and usually want the money just for drugs, cigarettes or alcohol.

notajayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

"I give money all the time to musicians downtown, but never to beggars."

Um, right, wad. 'Cause lord knows there'd never be a musician using your contribution to buy drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol.

Bursting 7 years, 4 months ago

na, I think it's rewarding the work done that is the point here. sure everyone knows unemployment is high, but these people downtown don't even try to get jobs.

notajayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Great - so he only gives money for drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol to beggars that can carry a tune. If only the rest of the homeless population had been blessed with musical ability ...

Kontum1972 7 years, 4 months ago

i only go downtown once a week..and thats it.... i did go "one month" without a visit...so i dont have a problem with all the "poo" going on down there.......i just ignore it....

the "real problem" is all the DUI idiots and really bad drivers that are running lights and killing citizens with their POV's.....these are the vermin we should put behind bars for the rest of their pathetic lives....

Armored_One 7 years, 4 months ago

The legitimately homeless could probably use some help in one form or another. The ones that were forced out fo work, which generally leads to being forced out of living arrangements.

Those people also generally seek out help, through proper channels, with a vengence, from my experience.

It's the ones that have hair that looks like it came out of some plastic extruder, walk around i heavy weight construction over-alls and have backpacks that really bug the heck out of me. My son, for all his good intentions, can't seem to fathom why I don't let him bring them over to the house. I made that mistake once and about a week later went to the local pawn shops to reclaim the power tools they took off with after I gave them a place to stay and food to eat. Never did see the pendant my great grandmother gave me, though.

The intentionally homeless need to be driven out of this town. Both my wife and my oldest son have been accosted by them in the past month downtown and one kicked my car because I refused to give him 5 bucks. I just can't bring myself to help someone that is saying they are "starving" when they have more piercings and tattoes than Tommy Lee, are smoking name brand cigarettes, and other signs that they are simply too lazy to contribute.

gatekeeper 7 years, 4 months ago

Did you call the police? I have a hard time believing you were attacked, considering the amount of time I spend downtown and have never seen or heard of anyone being attacked or having their property damaged.

Driven out of town. What century and what country are you living in?

pace 7 years, 4 months ago

I offer work or food. One guy hustled me with a long story when I was stopped in my car. When I said no, he grabbed my shoulder and said impolite words. I trapped his arm in the window and twisted his hand. If I had called the police I believe I would of been charged with assault. He hung out near 9th and New Hampshire. He actually came up to my car again, recognized me and backed off. People should not have to put up with rude behavior. It is a lot of trouble to call the police but it should be done. One should be held responsible for one's behavior, If it is hard for you to believe that yahoos act stupid, you must not sit and watch people much or you wear blinders. I did call the police on two frat boys and the cop let them go. Yahoos, rich or poor need to be responsible. Don't give panhandlers money, some organizations help them get jobs. I don't mind working someone or contributing to a food bank or handing out a sandwich, I prefer not to hand a sandwich to a yahoo that tosses it down, steps on it and acts a fool That happened in the ten hundred block of Mass. I still will give out a sandwich, just not to that guy. I was amused that Schum used to chase this one guy up and down Mass. But I didn't blame him, the guy stood in front of the door and blocked people going in. yahoo.

sun45kiss 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm from the SF Bay Area-the homeless capitol for the USA....trust me this is just another plug into our lives for controlling people via the law. Voted for by the people, for the people and eventually against the people. Enjoy your so called free speech online-offline--it really does'nt matter; eventually that will be under control as well.

mbulicz 7 years, 4 months ago

Kicking panhandlers off the street leads to a totalitarian government?

I think you may have gotten ahold of some bad Bay Area 'produce'.... relax, take off the tin foil hat, and have a bowl of Cap'n Crunch. The paranoia will wear off soon.

Rica Silvey 7 years, 4 months ago

Dear Jon Hudson, You are so painfully wrong to send this letter. You must not own or work at a business downtown. I used to be an employee at Java Break the 24 hour coffee shop. It was amazing to work there, but a constant problem happens to be homeless individuals. Not only are panhandlers a nuisance to pedestrians, but can also be a problem to customers inside businesses downtown. There is not one business owner that wants their customers shooed away by a bum searching for change. I support merchants against panhandlers! In no way are they bullies or in the wrong to start a campaign. I have had numerous run-ins with many different homeless individuals panhandling inside of Java Break while working. I have had coffee, patio chairs, and other objects thrown at myself or the building Java Break resides in. Why, because I interferred with the panhandling acts in a very professional yet kind way. I have found homeless people are extremely rude and selfish. There are places in Lawrence that help to provide food and shelter; I believe the homeless panhandlers downtown do not seek help from these shelters and in return get defensive, violent, and out of control when someone rejects the pathetic inquiry for change. Yes it is too bad that there are so many homeless individuals and what not, but what right do they have to bother families, workers, or business owners downtown with their sob stories. I personally think it is a wonderful ideal to move the shelter farther away from downtown (not in a residential area) and also to some how fine panhandlers. Get them off of the wonderful downtown streets that Lawrence is popular for!

oliveoyl 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't discount anyone in this forums experience and I'm sure it is irritating to get accosted but I'd also be curious as to how often the people who complain about bums come Downtown, especially to support the day life? Would you support it on a regular basis if the homeless magically disappeared out of Downtown? That is the real question behind the motives of the DLI. My assumption is no. It's always the same people who complain about Downtown and reasons why they don't support it...the homeless is just another excuse. If not the homeless then it would be the high prices, or the parking, or the drunk students, etc...

Maybe I assume too much...

oliveoyl 7 years, 4 months ago

Money and customers, what else. Do you really think they are concerned with the welfare of the homeless enough to try and save them with a pamphlet? Not saying they have no hearts but they are looking out for themselves and their businesses...which I certainly understand but I don't think it's the homeless that are keeping people out of Downtown. There are many factors. If you choose not to support Downtown over one or two run ins with a bum then chances are that you don't support Downtown much anyway. If you think Downtown is important then chances are you will continue to support it regardless of the parking, homeless, higher prices, etc... Which is why I was saying that most people who complain about the homeless issues are the same ones who complain about parking, higher priced goods, drunk students, etc...

I'm not saying I'm right. This is just my assumption.

oliveoyl 7 years, 4 months ago

LORDY! I'm not saying that money and customers are bad!!!!! I helped run a Downtown business for almost a decade...I think I understand. I'm saying that this homeless issue isn't the main reason people away from Downtown! There are many factors. Maybe a handful but I almost guarantee that handful doesn't support Downtown on a regular basis anyway so if the homeless magically disappeared not much would change for Downtown b/c the people complaining about the homeless will probably not spend money down there anyway. Why should you punish a perfectly good establishment over one incident. Look, I understand the homeless can be annoying but pushing papers in their face and walking away isn't going to change anything for Downtown. I suppose time will tell and maybe I'll be completely wrong.

notajayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

The_Big_B (anonymous) says…

"Don't lump performers in with beggars."

And don't lump all the homeless in with the drug addicts.

TopJayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Jon Spoken like a bleeding heart that knows nothing of which he speaks. SW Jayhawk is right.
Lawrence is not good in it's treatment of the mentallay ill. Topeka and KC hold up Lawrences end of the log on that one. But this is about lazy and stupid people. It is not the fault of the economy, it is not the fault of being mentally ill. It is lazy people taking advantage of simps like you.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.