The front page article in the July 10 issue of The Gazette “‘Pedestrian safety’ rules would clamp down on panhandling” featured a quote from Nicole Fessler, a 21-year-old homeless beggar near Blairs Ferry Road. “What am I doing wrong? Who am I hurting? I can understand if I was drunk or high, but I am not.” The answers to Fessler’s questions are crystal clear: everything and yourself.
Sitting on a plastic bucket begging for handouts does not align well with Thomas Jefferson’s “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Americans spend untold billions of dollars every year to educate our children, hoping our working years will not only provide for our families, but enhance America in some small yet meaningful way.
Fessler is not contributing, but she does have a job: begging. It is an unconventional job, but clearly she is employed by the earnest folks who give her food. She sits in the sun with her sign and is paid with handouts. If there were no handouts she would not be there. Perhaps she would be getting the life skills training she needs. Those who donate may feel good about themselves — that’s fine — but they have done nothing to wean Fessler from her dependency. For her sake, that should be our only goal.
A common sign in our northern national parks says, “Don’t Feed The Bears.” Think about it.