Tuesday, May 06, 2008

It's Not Called the Roxbury Tollbooth for Nothin'

Today on Bostonist.com I was pointed to an article on Boston.com about panhandling at the intersection of Mass Ave and Melnea Cass and the highway.

First of all I find the graphic text hilarious:

Rather than just say "Area of Interest", it basically says "THIS IS A BAD FIRST IMPRESSION FOR OUT-OF-TOWNERS EN ROUTE TO A SOX GAME".

Or something like that.

And then they open the article with such a cheeseball line: "The call went out: "Yo, po-po!" and within seconds, the panhandlers who meander with regularity through the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard near Boston Medical Center scattered to parts unknown." Really quite unforgivable writing.

Pretty soon someone there is going to start an article with the line "It was a dark and stormy night.." at which point we can just hire a few wreckers to tear down 135 Morrissey Boulevard
because all hope will have been lost.

Personally I don't really give a sh*t about panhandlers at that intersection. For the most part if you don't lower the window, and don't make eye contact, you're left alone. They might call you an a**hole, but if you can't spare a f*cking quarter, then they are sort of right.

And while the Globe article made it sound like the "street beggars" who run the Roxbury Tollbooth were innocent victims of a heartless economy, persecuted for being impoverished (hey! I could write for the Globe huh!), the reality is that often times there are other major issues that are the root of these people being homeless; drug addiction and mental illnesses to name an obvious two. So unless someone wants help and is willing to jump through a million bureaucratic hoops to get it, they are probably just going to continue to be panhandling, getting arrested, and basically living a life none of us would envy.

And when one considers that the nearby homeless shelter can hold up to 190 people, yet only about a dozen people ever seem to be panhandling that intersection, while the rest of the bunch are actually licensed flower sellers, the problem seems to be more aesthetic than endemic. I would be interested to see exactly how many assault by panhandlers on drivers there are in a year. I will see if I can find out.

Lastly, I am surprised that no mention was made of the kids who hang out there on the weekends in the warmer months. You know the ones, they are in bright orange shirts marked "Boston Chargers", shaking taped up tin cans at motorists. If you ask me they are worse than panhandlers, they swarm through the lines of stopped cars, tapping on windows, and dodging the light cycles. One day that is sure to end in tragedy. And can anyone tell me what exactly are the Boston Chargers?

Ok, I am done. Thanks Boston Globe for yet again providing me with the laugh of the day.

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