Comments about ‘Concrete barriers erected in American Fork to deter panhandlers’

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Published: Monday, May 6 2013 5:45 p.m. MDT

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American Fork, UT

True Story

I live in Highland. One day a couple weeks ago I was at CostCo with my wife on the corner of this very intersection when a pan handler approached asking for money for gas. I had watched as another lady had just given $2 or $3 to them. I thought this is not right, this poor person coming out here and begging for money. So I offered to simply fill up the car for them at the Costco pumps.

I thought this might cost me $50-$75 to do so, but I felt bad watching this. So they graciously accepted my offer and pulled their car up to the pumps. I started to fill up their gas tank, and to my surprise, the pump stopped at 3 1/2 gallons!

Clearly they were not pan handling for gas money - the car was almost completely full of gas already.

I feel for struggling people, so I try never to judge them. But I think we're also being taken advantage of.

I understand why AF did what they did. But we also must maintain a level of compassion without being taken advantage of.

Ottawa, 00

I have a problem with this solution, not because of sympathy for the panhandlers, but because of the message it sends to other pedestrains. Erecting physical barriers is what the communists did when they built the Berlin Wall. What happens when honest pedestrians cannot get from point A to point B without the use of a vehicle? It's all very dehumanizing.

SLC gal
Salt Lake City, UT

"They may also contribute to any local LDS Church bishop" - an LDS Bishop is not a cause. Perhaps this sentance could have been written differently.

Dennis - yep, I'm cold hearted toward people who typically have nicer shoes then I do. I also have a low tolerence for "Bologna Sandwiches".

I do like to help people who really need it which is why I give it to orginizations that know where to put it to help. It's good karma for a cold hearted person like me, and in the meantime I'm not holding up a whole line of cars that need to get somewhere.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I would rather give the money to someone that asks than to someone who promises to pay be back and don't. Bankruptcy, foreclosure, deserve to have 0 creditability.

Bob Wiley
North Salt Lake, UT

The only way to put an end to panhandling is for all of us to STOP giving them money. I'll bet most of those guys would give up in a day or two if they brought in zero dollars.

I know it. I Live it. I Love it.
Salt Lake City, UT


Let's talk about that $20 you refer to.

If I give $20 in fast offerings to the LDS Church, it will get used by a system that will provide many more meals than a single homeless individual could provide with their limited resources.

If you want to help a drug addict, giving them money is merely shoving the responsibility on them and hoping things will work out. Such a person is guilty, while others who are actually working to help are doing good. Giving someone money and expecting problems to fix themselves isn't exactly cold hearted, but it surely isn't selfless. Such a person doesn't actually desire to help. They desire problems to go away.

We need to "put our shoulder to the wheel", not "give the wheel money and wait for it to spin".

There is only one bread that we can eat and never be hungry, and it isn't the bread of man. If you want to really help them, feed them the truth, not a free paycheck. Help them by teaching a better way while standing them up self-sufficiently on their feet.

We only help when working together.

Pleasant Grove, UT

I've noticed that the panhandlers at that particular intersection seem to have their territory staked out, with the same ones on each part of it daily for months. The fellow with the tie-dyed shirt has had the same signs, claiming he's "starving" since last fall. He doesn't look any the leaner for it. We're in the state with the lowest unemployment in the country. Jobs are plentiful for those who want them.

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

King Benjamin:

“Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

“But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. …

“And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance” (Mosiah 4:17–18, 22).

Lots of people judging their homeless brothers and sisters on this post. It's pretty clear who will ultimately pay the price for that.

"So the last shall be first, and the first last:" Matthew 20:16

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

I got accosted by a panhandler while out for a walk on Sunday. He told me he needed money to buy diapers for his baby. I told him I'd take him to the store to buy the diapers. He refused and again asked me for money. Sorry dude - I'm all about being charitable and helping those in need, but that doesn't mean I need to feed your vices so I can feel like a good Christian.

Salt Lake City, UT

I have been Panhandling for three years and I make $85,000 a year......tax free

Another Thought...

I volunteered last January to assist with the Point-in-Time count, an annual count of all the homeless in the nation. We talked to many of these panhandlers as part of the count. I was suprised to learn that some of these folks have a house and just panhandle for the "extra money" they need when their disability pay or government benefits don't stretch far enough.

I knew of an agency that was hiring people that day and offered the information to all the folks we came in contact with. Not one taker.

Most folks don't make a lot of money panhandling, according to the reports we gathered that week, but they stop after getting enough money for a hotel room and their drug of choice. They already know where to go for food each day.

Some drive Cadillacs, but I only saw one of them getting out of a Lincoln Navigator with his chair, cardboard sign, and sack lunch. There were several others similarly dressed all headed off to their designated locations.

I've seen many of those same folks over the past few months standing at the end of the same offramps day after day.

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

We've upped our charitable contributions each time we've seen a panhandler, they need to be off the streets. It's frustrating that they're the same people day after day.

m.g. scott
clearfield, UT

Tell the Democrats about this. When they find out that millions of dollars nationwide are going un-taxed, they will find a way to tax the hand outs, and that should fix the problem.


@Stalwart Sentinel


Mosiah 4:27 states
"And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order"

As for me I certainly desire to help out those who are truly in need. But giving blindly without some discretion on my part is certainly foolish. And does not fulfill my desire to help the needy, giving blindly only perpetuates degrading behavior, and encourages idleness.

If you deny help to someone who truly needs it and you know in your heart of hearts that you can do something to alleviate their pain, their starvation, or help them forward on a better path. And you choose not to because you feel they deserve it or for other selfish reasons then yes you are at fault.

m.g. scott
clearfield, UT

Re: KanataHal

You want to see barriers that prevent people from walking or moving about. Go to Washington D.C. the White House in particular. Some would say that's for security of important people. I think people of American Fork are just as important.

Salt Lake City, UT

All the different organizations in the area that provide food, shelter, and other services to the homeless need to come up with some kind of coupon system. The local residence that want to help those that are asking for help can then purchase these coupons and hand the panhandler a coupon, maybe something like good for one meal at the mission. There would have to be some way that these coupons cannot be sold or redeemed for money. The panhandlers that are truly seeking help, should be thankful for them. Those that are looking for money may move on to another city when they tire of receiving only coupons.

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

Dodle - I would not recommend taking scripture out of context to justify your apparent indifference.

Here's part of the verse before and the entirety of verse 27:

"I would that ye should impart of your substance to the cpoor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order." Mosiah 4: 26-27.

The "wisdom and order" aspect admonishes us not to give too much if we ourselves are not financial secure. Somehow, I don't think "giving too much" will be a risk for you.

Giving to the poor is not an act meant to "fulfill your desire" nor is it an avenue through which you are justified in judging what you perceive to be degrading/idle behavior. That is pretty clear.

Palm Bay, FL

My experiences with panhandles is; most want money to drink away, if you offer food or work for food/money, they refuse. They just want the money. The city/county/state is correct in telling the general public to give to the Charities. I never have cash on hand, my purchases for goods/services is by debit card, when they beg, I have nothing to give.


@Stalwart Sentinel

Does giving money to every person who is standing around with a sign saying they need help sound like "Wisdom and Order" to you?

Whats wrong with righteous desires?

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

When I read the New Testament, I get the impression that this is something that would have been completely acceptable to the authors of that book, along with the person they most often quoted. So good for you, American Fork!

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