Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ticket the panhandlers, or the drivers?

I find myself lacking sympathy for panhandlers who are complaining about the Beaverton Police Department's diligence against them, but I also wonder if the police attention is too narrowly focused.

If a panhandler creates a "hazardous and dangerous condition" by stepping toward a car to accept money, is he (or she) the only one at fault? Wouldn't the driver be equally at fault for stopping unnecessarily and creating a hazard for the cars behind him? If so, I vote we ticket the driver and the panhandler.

A free-speech violation? Not as see it. The driver can still hand out his cash as he sees fit, but not to the detriment of others. I can yell "Fire," but not in a crowded theater where it might impact the safety of others.

As an aside, I find the fact that Beaverton firefighters essentially took on the role of panhandler to be contemptible (and the the fact that the legislature felt the need to exempt them from panhandling laws makes it clear that they had no business standing on street corners to begin with). It makes me less, not more, willing to donate to their cause.

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  • At 7/15/2008 9:45 AM, Blogger OregonGuy said…

    A bit like the player safety rule in soccer. You simply don't play the ball when you're down...and the other side gets the ball as result.



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