Further down the road I was approached by a Vietnam Veteran begging for money on the same street. A generation (or more) ago our government sent people to fight half way across the world. We've repeated it since then a few times. People who risk their lives for our country shouldn't be reduced to begging in it! Gulf war veterans, Iraqi veterans, Afghanistan veterans is this what your future looks like? I hope not.
I was also approached by an ex-convict who said he was trying to raise funds for a program to rebuild his life. Gee, it looks like prison had worked for this person. Perhaps he was ready to turn his life around, move away from crime but then he is roadblocked by lack of funds. I told him I couldn't help him due to my circumstances. He shook my hand and told me "Respect." Over the years I have given to panhandlers. Very few have given me a warm thank you. Here I turned the guy down but he understood why and respected that. The respect is mutual. If a program is so great it needs to be accessible. This man should be in the program, not begging.
What is even worse than these three stories? The fact the street was full of more of them. Maybe politicians should get a way from the secret service, the office, the cubicles, and take a walk down a street. Open their eyes and ears.