Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Weighing the Odds

Food or Booze?
If there was a 90% chance that a homeless person or beggar would use any money I gave her/him for an addiction rather than food... honestly, based on that 10% chance, I’d still give the money. I tend to side more with giving food or drink, whenever possible, but I don’t subscribe to the horrid misconception that “some of those beggars make hundreds of dollars a day.” 
Here’s the thing. 
I think addiction, especially chemical addiction, is a huge problem. But not giving someone money, regardless of what they’ll use it for, isn’t going to stop them from accessing their drug of choice. An individual might steal, might attack, might compromise their own health and safety in order to access their next fix. 
So I guess what I’m getting at is that not giving someone the means to feed themselves or, should they choose, get high, can create a more dangerous situation than the one at hand; going cold-turkey from a chemical dependency without access to detox/withdrawal facilities, especially when one is living on the street or in extremely unsafe/unhygienic conditions puts the individual at risk of various ailments, even death. Furthermore, it would seem to me that someone desperate for a high is going to be much more violent than someone who is high as a kite. 
I’m tempted to look at this from a moral standpoint- to say that it’s their own fault for getting addicted (when, really, how the hell do I know?), that they should get jobs (maybe they can’t, maybe we’re in a horrible recession), or that the individual in question will do fine without- but I guess what it comes down to, for me, is - how the hell do I really know? Even if I could guarantee that there was a 90% chance the money would be spent on drugs and only a 10% chance it would be spent on food, there is that 10% chance- and I guess I’d have to just... hope.

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