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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Column: Its unfortunate that the fortunate won’t share their fortunes

    Never grocery shop at Fry’s Food and Drug alone.

    For some reason, there seems to be a perfect hurricane of sketchiness that culminates on the corner of Grant Road and First Avenue. A parking lot scattered with trash and stray dogs paired with vehicles that seem equipped for a Tucson street-art-style apocalypse really isn’t the way to attract local customers, but my roommates and I are cheap, so we shop there.

    On my first trip back to the post-apocalyptic wasteland, I ran into a common situation: a homeless man begging for money.

    “Could you spare any change at all?” he said, voice weak.

    “No, sorry man, don’t have any. Have a good day though,” I said, not even looking to really see if I did in fact have spare change.

    I’m not sure if being in that Fry’s parking lot had me creeped out or if I just wanted him to leave, but I’ve done this a billion times and you probably have too. This instance, however, got my rusty, Christmas-break mind turning.

    The common argument against giving money to begging homeless people is they could be lying or will use it to buy drugs or alcohol.

    This is a legitimate argument. I have given money to multiple homeless people and have seen them either get into a car later or buy alcohol. But even that should be irrelevant to the decision.

    We have a choice as individuals to either give a random guy a tiny amount of money or not. Maybe he was going to buy drugs with it and maybe he was not. But you will never know 100 percent of the time what a person asking for money will do with it. For that reason we should err on the side of compassion and give if we are able to.

    When faced with a decision in that common scenario, there is no way to control what he would do with the money you give, but one can control whether they potentially help someone; that is how we should look at it.

    Tucson’s prevalent homeless situation makes this dilemma all that much more relevant. According to the Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness statistics, there were 2,110 homeless in Tucson in 2014. As college students living here, we will probably run into a few homeless people.

    We have control over whether to help another person in need and when it comes down to it, that is all we should worry about—what is in our control.

    A homeless person could buy drugs, but that’s their decision to make. Ours is, simply put, to help or not.

    So as a long-time homeless skeptic, I’m going to try to give as much as I can, which is not a lot considering I’m in college and I still shop at Fry’s.

    And since I didn’t have a New Year’s resolution before, I guess this will be it now.

    Follow Scott Baca on Twitter.

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