Give a Panhandler a Buck, Get Ticketed by San Antonio Cops


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A panhandler asks for a dollar or a bite to eat, you casually pass him a buck or a sandwich, and you…get cited by a cop with nothing better to do? That's the plan in San Antonio, Texas. The police chief there, William McManus, reportedly got a warm reception from the city council when he pushed for a law criminalizing small acts of kindness. From MySanAntonio:

SAN ANTONIO — A little act of charity — giving a buck to a panhandler — could soon become illegal in San Antonio.

Police Chief William McManus told the City Council's Public Safety Committee Wednesday that he is working with the City Attorney's Office to craft an ordinance that would give the police the authority to cite those who give cash to panhandlers…

The draft ordinance is expected to include language that would make it illegal to both give money and to give food to panhandlers.

Panhandling is already illegal in San Antonio—as it is in other control freaky communities, like Flagstaff, Arizona, which went through the bother of banning the practice a second time after the old law was ruled unconstitutional.

San Antonio then goes to the supply side of the equation, banning folks who might want to share a little largesse with the homeless, whether in cash or sustenance. Unfortunately, the city isn't exploring uncharted territory. Punishing pastors, organizations, and individuals for feeding the less fortunate has become a popular practice around the country. Sometimes, officials twist existing regulations into knots to get it done, such as jamming up a Birmingham, Alabama preacher because he lacked a food truck permit for his rolling soup kitchen.

Other times, as in the planned San Antonio ordinance, they ban charity itself.

San Antonio officials are considering "dozens of measures" intended to reduce "quality of life" crimes. One of the other planned restrictions is a ban on renting motel rooms for fewer than 12 hours at a time to make it more difficult for prostitutes to do business. So the voluntary exchange of sex for cash is apparently not considered an acceptable alternative to begging (or giving) a few bucks or a sandwich with nothing expected in return.

That perfect world they're looking for must be just one more law away.


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  1. So, apparently, San Antonio is going to ban one act of Christian charity. Why do they want those Sharia-law mooslim terrorists to win?

    1. Charity is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Maybe this law is an attempt to stop Sharia.

    1. More cops being a buncha fun guys. Or is it fungis?

      But John says killing these cretans should be an automatic death penalty.

      1. citation needed

        1. Here you go.


          John|9.3.14 @ 3:13PM|#|?|filternamelinkcustom

          The fact that it behaves like a slot machine is a valid point. Instead of using the death penalty as a deterrence we use it as a revenge mechanism for crimes that make us really angry. You get the death penalty for things like crimes against children, multiple murders or particularly cruel murders. In practice that means people juries really hate get the death penalty. That really isn’t a very good way to do justice.

          But it doesn’t have to be that way. The better way would be to give the death penalty automatically for a few select crimes; namely killing a witness to a crime or killing a clearly identified law enforcement officer in the performance of his duty.

          1. Thanks!

        2. Review cop threads for John’s posts. You’ll find his cop fellating has stained the thread.

          1. What? That’s bullshit. In fact, the one time John usually consistently sounds like a libertarian is in cop hate. I’m a little surprised, in fact, that he’d advocate death penalty for cop stuff, given what abuse he’s heaped on the police before.

            Sure you’re not thinking Tulpa? He is more cop-friendly.

      2. But John says killing these cretans should be an automatic death penalty.

        To be fair to John, aren’t the cops already, kinda, sorta trying to take that issue into their own hands? Though they are not very good at it.

    2. “The chicken was like a puppy dog to my son,” said Turnbull. “You wouldn’t do that to a puppy.”


  2. Is it still legal to tell them to fuck off?

    1. *tases CPA, twice*

      1. Twice? C’mon rookie, at least 5 times, like I showed ya!


        1. at least 5 times until you no longer feel threatened, like I showed ya!


          /Senior FTO

  3. Irrespective of what the cops are doing, people with cardboard signs are a scam. When you see a sign that says Homeless Disable Vet, you can be certain of three things, they are not homeless, not disable and not a vet.

    1. And? It’s nobody’s business whether I slip that dude a buck or not, most especially not the cops’.

      1. Scammees gonna get scammed. Just providing a public service.

      2. ? He said irrespective of what the cops are doing, which should have been your clue.

    2. Harder to get away with that one, as San Antonio is stuffed with military retirees, prior service and active duty types.

      1. Not certain what you mean.

      2. I live in Washington state and where I live, literally every major corner has a “homeless” person perched upon it, with a sob story sign asking for help in tough times.

        When you go by the same street corner often enough (as I do on my commute) you realize that they have a rotation of all the street corners in town and that panhandling is their full time job.

        While I don’t believe in criminalizing this activity, anyone who donates to these people is a moron. They’re not starving, they’re not lacking clean (and new) clothing, and they’re lacking ability to work…they’re just fucking lazy.

        1. “they’re *not* lacking ability to work…”

  4. Man, those homeless guys would be totally screwed if it weren’t for the benevolent hand of Top Men. Oh wait…

  5. …intended to reduce “quality of life” crimes.

    That’s a phrase you don’t want to hear.

    1. Reminds me of the “quality of life” inspections they did in the navy…

      1. “Health and Welfare” is what they called it in the Army…

        1. Truer words have never been spoken

      2. For some reason this phrase makes me think of ass sex.

    2. My quality of life would be much higher if it weren’t for a bunch of fucking nannies trying to insert themselves into every facet of it.

  6. The best way to alleviate this is to fully privatize entertainment districts. Meaning sell the road and right of ways to the store owners. Then they can outright ban undesirables just like at the mall.

    1. Or just charge for panhandling spots if they think it’s more profitable. That would be hilarious.

  7. Look guys, the cops have been a little hard up for stuff to do ever since they solved all the violent and property crimes in San Antonio, okay?

  8. NYC’s ‘Millenial Panhandlers‘ are the best. I feel like I should be given a dollar every time I don’t beat the shit out of them

    1. Same in downtown Asheville, NC. Dudes smoking weed in the park asked me for $$. Fuck that noise. Weed is a luxury item.

      1. So they have a pocketful of marketable goods, and they’re asking for handouts?

        Fuck that.

      2. I had a dude that came up to me in Nashville asking for money and he was wearing brand new Nikes and a gold watch. I told him I’d give him $5 for the watch. He walked off.

        1. Yeah, same on Haight street.

          “Your phone is nicer than mine, asshole!”

  9. From the authors of “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” comes the latest heartwarming volume If You Give a Panhandler a Buck featuring Wayne the Wino, Charitable Charley and Officer Tazemebro…

  10. Punishing pastors, organizations, and individuals for feeding the less fortunate has become a popular practice around the country.

    Because the government hates competition?

  11. Evil Rethuglicans! If Democrats were in charge of San Antonio they would be mugging your pocketbook to pay for grand edifices to feed the homeless.

    1. Pretty sure Dems are in charge in San Antonio.

  12. Would it be a violation of the law to give the panhandlers a one-way bus ticket to Austin?

    1. Don’t think that isn’t already happening. We see plenty of “greyhound therapy” — persistent mentally-ill homeless people given one-way bus tickets to California from all across the country — in ERs in the Bay Area. Not long ago the State of Nevada was caught, shown to have done this with hundreds of people.

      Usually the line we hear they are told is “you’ll do much better in the Bay Area, they have lots of services there, plus the weather is much better.”

  13. The panhandlers just need to add QR codes to their signs, linked to PayPal accounts.

    1. Bitcoin only, please.

    2. The fastest way to silence a panhandler is tell them you only carry plastic. Of course I guess I’d be obliged if they pull out a mobile credit card reader or one of those old, heavy, carbon-copy card swipers. Ka-chunk, chunk!

  14. OT: Republicrats in AL miss election filing deadline. And nothing else happened, probably.

    1. Ooooh, I love stories like this. Fun fun.

    2. Ooh, you’re going to piss John off. 🙂

    3. Libertarians win big, then?

      1. No. Nobody has to follow the strict letter of the law in those ballot access cases. Well, nobody important.

        1. Libertarians lose again? Is this one of those deals where even if the major parties didn’t run, the Libertarian candidate would be declared ineligible, even if every voter voted for him?

  15. So, for those keeping score at home…in a libertarian utopia, cops are all gone and the streets will be crawling with homeless bums begging for baksheesh.

    1. But you’d be able to shoot them at will, so problem solved.

    2. In my paradise, people like you will be injected with a virus that makes your penis shrink every time you tell a lie.

      You’d have a vagina in no time, Tulpa.

  16. I was waiting for the part about how giving cash circumvents some carefully crafted “bum scrip” program designed to control the choices available to panhandlers. No icky cheap wine or cigarettes, just wholesome nutritious organic sprout sandwiches and artisanal goat cheeses provided by city-approved vendors (who compensate the city fathers for the privilege).

  17. in a libertarian utopia, cops are all gone and the streets will be crawling with homeless bums begging for baksheesh.

    In libertopia, there will be no large scale government programs designed to eliminate the homes traditionally occupied by those who are currently homeless. So the “homeless bum” population will not be so much of a problem. Also, casual cash labor will no longer be illegal.

  18. Scammees gonna get scammed.

    One man’s scam is another man’s amusement. Ask me for a buck in a unique and entertaining way, and you might get it.

    1. This. Sign asking for vegan food? Literally sticking your hand out? Fuck off. Tell me a joke or do a good job playing the bucket drums? Here’s a dollar.

  19. Well, you don’t want to incentivize aggressive homeless people shaking down passersby on public property.

    Let’s provide a financial incentive for police departments and cities to shake down passersby instead. If times get really tough, they can start handing out loitering citations for people who stop for more than 10 seconds while tying their shoes.

  20. Why am I not surprised that McManus is going after pan handlers? Maybe because his stint as the chief here in Minneapolis was more of the same.

    Lots of going after stupid minor crimes instead of going into the bad neighborhoods and trying to lock up the real bad guys.

  21. So when a billionaire comes into San Antonio with Gary Bettman in tow, asking for handouts so that the NHL will bring a team there to “live”, San Antonio’s government will think that putting a referendum on the ballot for taxpayer money to be given to a billionaire is totally not panhandling because he doesn’t actually need the money.

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