Column: Panhandlers not good Indian-White relations
"A few weeks back, I stopped by a Rapid City grocery store for a few items before returning to Hot Springs. About 20 yards from the entrance stood six Native American men and one woman. Entering the store, I thought little of it. Upon leaving, I observed two of the store's patrons being panhandled. I shook my head. Three of the men seemed intoxicated. This lent a sense of menace to the parking lot.

Can't be good for business, I thought, as I loaded my groceries in the van. Driving away, I added: Can't be good for Indian-White relations in Rapid City either. The most fundamental element in the social compact is safety in public places. But there's the fallout from alcoholism and drug addiction: the corrosion of security and civility. A great irony is the most frequent victims of this are the Native Americans in Rapid City who find this behavior equally reprehensible. They catch it in the hard-as-granite prejudices, by look, word or deed, of many fellow Rapid Citians.

Yep, it's no good for anybody. And it's a tough nut to crack. Public intoxication, whether by male, female, white or native - is everybody's problem. Not only is it a bleeding financial wound on our judicial, law enforcement and social services systems, its public aspect is just the tip of the iceberg. The men and women afflicted with these addictions raise infinitely more havoc in private on their friends and families.

So, what to do?"

Get the Story:
David Brooks: Problem in need of new approach (The Rapid City Journal 2/16)

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