Editorials

Shame not an effective panhandling deterrent

The EDITORIAL BOARD

Fort Worth city council member Gyna Bivens (Dist. 5) took a photo during a recent event.
Fort Worth city council member Gyna Bivens (Dist. 5) took a photo during a recent event. Star-Telegram

A man approaches a resident pumping gas at a local station, telling a sad tale and wanting help in the form of gas or money. The story sounds somewhere between panhandling and genuine, but for one simple fact: The resident has been approached by a different man, telling the same story, a week earlier.

Panhandlers are a nuisance the city of Fort Worth wants to fix, but the tactic suggested in a City Council discussion last week mostly likely is not the solution.

Fort Worth Councilwoman Gyna Bivens suggested posting photos of panhandlers on the Internet, an effort to shame them into stopping the practice.

Although she admitted the idea as a “somewhat illegal” way to handle the problem, she wants to take action on panhandlers.

“What can we do to impose?” she asked. “It’s gotten so bad in my area.”

Panhandlers probably are beyond shaming. Having your picture on the Internet while begging is only marginally more shameful than begging itself.

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