When you run a city on the values of (personal) truth, (social) justice, and the (anti) American way of life, there are bound to be consequences, no matter how hard you try to ignore them. That may include the spike in violence in New York City, the crime and homelessness throughout California, or the general collapse of Portland, Ore., on every front. For Seattle, it includes those things and a fentanyl crisis that is claiming lives at an alarming rate. The rate is so high that the King County Coroner is running out of places to store the bodies.
According to a report from KTTH, during a recent meeting of the board of the Seattle & King County Department of Public Health, Director Dr. Faisal Khan stated, “The Medical Examiner’s Office is now struggling with the issue of storing bodies because the fentanyl-related death toll continues to climb. Obviously, they have finite space in the coolers they use and that space is now being exceeded on a regular basis.”
As of Sunday, King County has averaged one fentanyl overdose every day since the start of the year. Last year, King County finished with 1,019 overdoses and 686 deaths from the drug. Public health officials are turning to “other options,” including keeping bodies on autopsy gurneys and working with local funeral homes. And of course, simply because fentanyl deaths are up, that does not mean that people will not continue to die from other causes.
This is part and parcel of the city’s overall problems of increased homelessness and rampant crime. Nike has decided to close its flagship store there, and Regal Cinemas has opted out of a lease for the Meridian 16 multiplex. Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw noted that Regal’s parent company is experiencing financial woes, making Seattle a prime target when it comes to trimming venues. Additionally, the area for the theater is located in the former CHAZ/CHOP zone. While the zone may no longer be in existence, the lawlessness, vandalism, and other crimes it helped to popularize have not abated.
In fact, the Pacific Northwest has become a magnet for innumerable people who are dedicated to destroying life as we know it. You can pin it on Soros-funded and minded district attorneys if you would like. Jason Rantz, who wrote the article for KTTH, notes that the state has been at work decriminalizing drug laws, notably the state’s Supreme Court declaring a felony drug possession law unconstitutional. Possession became a misdemeanor. Rantz also notes that the state’s desire not to stigmatize drug use under the idea that doing so might keep people from seeking treatment has only legitimized and exacerbated the problem.
Writing for the Seattle Times, cartoonist David Horsey attributes the problem partly to the tech boom, which saw the demise of affordable housing, including hotels and apartments. But he also lays some of the blame at the feet of those who practice “performative progressivism.” In this case, he is talking about how leaders refer to the homeless as “unhoused” and the word “crime” being replaced with “illicit economies of need.”
Both Horsey and Rantz note that one of the biggest issues among the homeless is fentanyl, which is shipped through the southern border and distributed throughout the nation by cartels and their associates. And the homeless population in Seattle is not just bearing the brunt of drugs, it is also staggering under assaults, rapes, robberies, and murders.
And the “housed” population is not faring much better. According to the Daily Mail, the Seattle firefighters union reports that there were 40 incidents of attacks on firefighters responding to incidents at homeless encampments last summer and that encampments are spreading to playgrounds and ball fields.
Seattle either does not want to admit that it has a problem or is viciously clinging to its own narrative. A federal judge has issued sanctions against the city because city officials deleted text messages between themselves during the CHAZ/CHOP episode in 2020. The texts in question included those between the former mayor and police and fire chiefs. The texts were required as part of the lawsuit filed by five businesses that were victimized during the incident on Capitol Hill. U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly dismissed three claims but has sent two others to trial. The suit is being led by the developer Hunters Capital and claims damages from the incident.
The city was supposed to preserve any information about its participation in the incident. Instead, the texts were deleted. The Post Millennial said that Zilly ruled that the city had directly participated in the CHAZ/CHOP by providing barriers, hand washing stations, dumpsters, portable toilets, and other resources to the participants can go to trial. The incident lasted from June 8 to July 1.
Also at issue is whether or not the city permitted “right of access taking” by the rioters, which impacted local businesses. Seattle must also pay “attorneys’ fees for plaintiffs that demonstrated that city officials destroyed significant evidence regarding their decisions during the armed occupation of six blocks of the city by BLM and Antifa rioters, including their decision to abandon the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct that led to the creation of the zone,” according to the Post Millennial. Zilly dismissed claims of violations of due process rights, negligence, property taken, and civil rights violations.
Affordable housing can definitely be a factor, but there are a large number of homeless people who have chosen to live their lives in this manner. And there are also people who choose to live in an antisocial manner, even under the banner of equity. And if your guiding principle is to reject anything that may remotely smack of conservative values because your attitude is “anything but,” you can bet people who value lawlessness will seek sanctuary in your city.
Performative progressivism, and progressivism in general, look good in terms of speeches and causes that tug at one’s heartstrings. In practice, however, these things lead to poverty, violence, social stagnation, and decay. And the productive citizens who make life possible soon decamp to places where life can go on unaffected by chaos. The large number of cars with California, Oregon, and Washington plates in my state would bear that out.
I would be tempted to paraphrase Frasier Crane’s “Goodnight Seattle, we love you” to “Goodbye Seattle, we loved you.” But Seattle is doing this to itself. Like a toddler standing among the pieces of a shattered Lego project throwing a tantrum that makes the neighbors close the windows, Seattle officials refuse to acknowledge that progressive policies have laid waste to a city, and, apparently, not many want whatever is left.