Looking for a big win on the first night of the spring television ratings period, WAVE-3 tapped a veteran newsman to take down the lying sacks who compel hardworking tornado-stricken communities to fork over cash every goddamn day so that they can afford a fat cat paradise.
Who are these pirates? Take it from here, Mr. Boel.
Hark! Not one of those “homeless” are people sitting on a park bench, talking to themselves, faint from hunger or toting a readily accessible story of victimization and vulnerability.
I prefer my poor authentic. Fuck ‘em. Let their lives be edited to fit the villainous narrative I crave after a long day’s work.
So,let’s recap what this investigation uncovered.
1) No one claimed to be a homeless tornado victim. All we know is that they carry backpacks full of clothes and use their money to ride the bus (Gasp!) and eat ice cream (Gluttony! Got him! That’s a sin.)
2) Panhandling is illegal. Is it the best way to help a struggling man, woman or seemingly pregnant hippy? No.
But let’s review that unwritten contract between panhandler and panhandlenabler(?). When a person willingly rolls down his/her window to give a buck or two, what does that person think it’s going toward? College tuition? A roof?
The thought process most likely goes something like this:
Yikes. He’s looking at me. I won’t look. I won’t look. Don’t LOOK! Change the radio station. Check my phone. Turn green!! Damn. Eye contact. He does look weathered. Shit. I feel bad. I do have a few bucks. How long has he been standing out here? Whatever. If a beer or McDonalds makes this guy’s day a little better, so be it.
Few people have the time, patience or energy to work to improve the lives of those who spend days begging. So we give change.
Chances are there’s a reason they’ve ended up holding signs in Indiana “not far from disaster recovery centers.” For instance, addiction.
Boel dutifully follows a panhandler with a camera to the liquor store where she spends her “hardship donations.” (For more on alcoholism and its destructive toll, read Boel’s book “On the News … In the News.”)
His crusade against panhandlers posing as homeless hits full stride with:
A) an RV full of Alabama residents who collect $41 in 30 minutes somewhere along I-65 in Southern Indiana. Ok, this looks bad.
B) He follows a guy limping with a cane from Indiana to his Louisville apartment claiming he walks “fine” once in Louisville, though that isn’t totally evident from the video. Here’s an excerpt from one version of the investigation:
Boel Voiceover: “He says he was collecting money because of a food stamp mixup last month.”
Boel to man: “Well, you took 2 busses to get over there. Why did you go so far away?”
Man: “Because people in Indiana are nicer.”
Boel: “They’re nicer?”
Man: “Uh huh.”
Boel: “Do you think that could be because you’re up there in an area where people lost everything to the tornado?”
Man: “That could have a little bit of something to do with it. But I’m ….
(HARSH CUT BACK TO BOEL VOICEOVER ABOUT A GUY WITH A BANDAGE ON HIS ARM WHO BUYS ICE CREAM AND EATS IT WITH HIS “BAD ARM.”)
So there you have it. A loosely woven tale involving an EF-4 and the evil poor. Why is it happening? It’s probably not just the simple explanation of “easy money.” But that story wouldn’t make for easily digestible television.
A few comments linked to the story congratulate Boel and suggest that feeding “mice” won’t get rid of them. Here’s a different take we found interesting:
“I have to say the panhandling in this area has been going on for years. Some in the video are homeless and we know where they stay. Also the Disaster did not happen in Clarksville it was 30 miles north in Henryville. We always suggest a Gallon size bag with snacks, a bottle of water & a pair of socks instead of Cash…… Also writing tickets to someone who is homeless or trying to help is not the answer the community needs to be educated and resources should be put in place to work on these issues with Law enforcement”