Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 2 Share on Twitter 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
OpEdNews Op Eds

The Myth Of The Rich Panhandler Debunked By The Streets Of San Francisco

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Rev. Dan Vojir       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

Well Said 1   Supported 1  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H2 11/11/13

Author 22149
Become a Fan
  (38 fans)
- Advertisement -


(Image by Google Images w/caption by Rev Dan)   Details   DMCA

"Beg, borrow or steal," he said. "I'd rather beg or borrow."

Even in the best of times, the streets of San Francisco see more than their share: brown cardboard signs scrawled with black markers seem to litter the streets at times and I have said "sorry" too many times to count in a short walk. It's a gauntlet of guilt, to be sure, especially if there is change in my pocket.  

The City is rife with panhandlers. Some are young, some are old, some have dogs, some have cats, some are passive, some are aggressive. Some sell "Street Sheets" (the newspaper put out by homeless for the homeless). Most are unkempt and easy targets for harsh judgments involving alcohol or drugs. But really, who are these people?

Judgment Day

"I had heard that some people beg for a living and can make big bucks, $80,000 a year in some cases," Stossel told the co-hosts of "Fox & Friends" in July 2012. "I made at a rate of about $24,000 -- tax free. I just did it for a couple hours."

Where the hell was Stossel panhandling? At FOX and Friends, no doubt. Not in San Francisco, that's for sure. But was Stossel way off the mark? Some panhandlers have bragged about not having to work because panhandling is more  lucrative.  After all,  Shane Warren Speegle  of Oklahoma City, OK, made $60,000 in 2012!

- Advertisement -

"Conventional wisdom   is that those on the sidewalk asking for a dollar are lazy freeloaders who will use the money for alcohol or drugs," Keyes notes. "Some even think that beggars are living large off of handouts."

"Conventional wisdom" can be wrong about so very many things simply because it is conventional - all too common to be of much use. It can also lay judgment on people without knowing the truth.

The Union Square Business Improvement District hired GLS Research to interview 146 self-identified panhandlers in the neighborhood, giving them $5 each for participating. The survey was conducted over two days in March 2013.

83% are men
48% are African American
31% are white
39% have a high school diploma
21% attended some college
69% are single
26% served in the military
70% are 40 to 59 years old
58% have been panhandling for at least five years
53% panhandle seven days a week
60% make $25 a day or less
94% use the money for food
44% use it for drugs or alcohol
62% are disabled
25% are alcoholics
32% are addicted to drugs
82% are homeless
95% live in San Francisco

These statistics are far from the image of John Stossel's rich panhandler or Shane Speegle's lazy freeloader.  

Kirk Johnson, a man who has been on the streets for several years, tells it like it is: 

- Advertisement -

"People who have money won't give you money," sighed Johnson, who said he's been panhandling in Union Square for five years. "If most people who came by gave me $1, I'd be out of here in an hour with enough money to buy food and get a hotel room for the night. But they ignore me."

So who does give? The survey revealed:

80% are Bay Area residents
70% are younger than 45 years old
48% have a household income under $50,000 a year
60% give because they or a family member may be in need someday
61% are concerned about how panhandlers use their money

Without the largesse from these few people, Kirk said that he would not be able to survive, but there is still dignity in Johnson's demeanor.:

"Beg, borrow or steal," he said. "I'd rather beg or borrow."

- Advertisement -



- Advertisement -

Well Said 1   Supported 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books €" Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most (more...)

Rev. Dan Vojir Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The End Of An Era? Praise The Lord! Televangelist Paul Crouch Dies And Leaves Behind A Life Of Decadence Beyond Belief.

"Some Girls Rape Easy": Hypocrisy, Sex and The Republican War Against Women.

Joining "Bishop" Eddie Long, Prosperity Preacher Creflo Dollar Gets Support From His Fans...ala Mommy Dearest

Forget EBOLA: The Greatest Threat To Africa's Medical Missionaries Is Ann Coulter!

The Vatican's Fake Occupy Implodes: Documents Evoke A History Of Money Laundering, Sexual Terrorism, And Even ... Murder

Holy Misogyny! Dating Advice From Megachurch Minister: "Dress Modestly And Save Yourself ... For Me!"