Worsening the panhandlers' problems

Excerpted from Robert Whitcomb's Dec. 8 "Digital Diary'' column in GoLocal 24.

Kudos to those in the Rhode Island General Assembly for trying to suppress the epidemic of panhandling concentrated at intersections in Providence. It can cause car accidents, crime and scares away business. Better to beef up social services to deal with the panhandlers, many of whom are mentally ill, than to allow panhandling along the streets.

The ACLU is all wet on this. Reducing panhandling, including by penalizing motorists who stop and give panhandlers money (often swiftly used for drugs and booze), isa matter of common-sense public safety.  Tolerating panhandlers reinforces their problems