The definition of a job is “a task or piece of work, especially one that is paid.” Thus, panhandling is a job. Homeless people accomplish the task of panhandling and are paid. So, why can panhandlers behave in ways that would get them fired from a traditional job?
For example, I was near City Market when a young transient man asked if he could take me to dinner. I declined and he started yelling. The yelling continued until I was through the stoplight. His body language was aggressive and his words were far from PG-13.
I called dispatch, but they were already aware. My call was one among many.
Imagine if this man behaved the same way in an office setting. Do you think he would keep his job? No, he would not.
So why do we allow him to keep his job? If we continue to enable him to act this way by providing income, he will not change. However, if we stop providing income, he will either change or move on.
Trust me, I don’t want to send this problem to another town, but I do want to make our town a little safer. I did not feel safe while he was yelling profanities and sexually harassing me. I find it depressing that in 2019, I do not feel safe walking downtown Durango in the daylight.
Please stand together and declare that everyone deserves respect. Please stop paying this man’s wages when he clearly does not respect us.