Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Aug. 25, 2007

Panhandling is getting out of hand

Should panhandlers have the right to intimidate and harass in order to gain?

They are now approaching car drivers’ windows. It is happening over and over in Federal Way.

Today, I was harassed in the Wal-Mart parking lot as I was entering my car with my three children. Am I being preyed on because I am a woman alone and delayed in leaving because I have to put two small children in their car seats? In doing this, I was approached by a man riding a mountain bike. I said I have no money. He then got belligerent, and stated that he had four felonies and he couldn’t get a job. I said there are a lot of programs out there that my tax money pays for.

As he continued to circle my car with his mountain bike, he told me I wouldn’t go to heaven because I hated people. He then complained that there are no shelters in Federal Way. If you are “homeless,” that means you can go to a city with a shelter, like Tacoma. A security guard finally approached me said he would take care of him.

This isn’t all. I was driving through Wendy’s in Federal Way when a man was “working” the drive-thru, stopping at each car and asking for money. Again, I am a stay-at-home mom with four kids (by choice). My husband works hard for us and I seldom have extra money to give. I shook my head “no” before he could approach; he then grimaced.

A few months before, it was the Target parking lot. It is intimidating when a strange man approaches my car when I am alone with babies and there is no one else around.

This does not make me feel safe in Federal Way. I go into protection mode for my small children. Have the panhandlers moved from the street corners to the parking lots? Can they really not help themselves? Is it time to strike out at the weak?

I am reminded of the days when handouts were an insult. Where are the proud? The ones who desire to provide for themselves and their families?

I was a single mom for two years and never used any federal programs. Still, I owned my own home and fed and clothed my two small children. You know what it was...I worked!

Are we rewarding people with handouts? We are not encouraging them to turn around their lives and provide for themselves. We live in one of the most giving countries in the world. There are many free programs here. It is also possible to go from rags to riches in the ol’ USA.

A frustrated and scared errand runner in Federal Way,

K. Hohisel, Tacoma

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