Saturday, June 2, 2012

Generosity Is Now A Crime

Now, a majority of my posts here are political; it's hard not to have it that way, considering that so many politicians do and say so many ridiculous things.

However, it's refreshing to be reminded that people outside the world of politics can be just as stupid.

Apparently, a man in Ohio was issued a $344 littering ticket after accidentally dropping money on the ground out of his car window while trying to hand it to a panhandler.

I can picture the entire scene in my head: the man tries to hand the money over and misses. The dollar slowly floats the ground. The police office behind him has his hand hovering over the controls for his lights, and flips the switch as soon as the money hits the ground. I always find it annoying when an officer seems to set his focus on a person, looking for any reason to pull that one person over. While ignoring 10 other obvious, and more dangerous, crimes that are probably going on in the immediate vicinity at the same time. I can't think of any better way to describe what seems to have happened here.

Now, it should be said that it is actually illegal (at least in Cleveland, where this happened) to solicit money or to give it on the side of the road, as was done here. So, maybe this ticket wouldn't be so ridiculous, if that was what the ticket was actually for. Instead, in the officer's single minded pursuit of this man, he went with the first offense he could think of.

In the end, the ticket was dropped, as the city "decided the cash didn't qualify as trash". My only response is... really? I hardly think Cleveland has a big problem with people throwing large amounts of cash out of their car windows. No rational person would have called this littering.

Well done, police. Way to make people even less likely to be generous with those in need. In a society with an alarming amount of real crimes with real impacts on people's lives, it's good to see that cops have their priorities in order.

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