Because Rich Seattle Has Too Many Poor People, QFC Has Installed Monitors That Assume You Are One of the Poor

Comments

1

Yeah Chuckles, that the booze section. Poverty ain't the problem.

Now get back to your wine at Oddfellows.

2

Seattle is the richest and most Liberal city in America.
Why is it so utterly incapable of providing for it's left behind?

3

^^^ Sorry little trolly troll. Richest Cities in America as of May 2018:

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
Median household income: $110,040
Households earning $200,000 or more: 22.8%
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 50.1%
March unemployment rate: 2.7%
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.
Median household income: $96,677
Households earning $200,000 or more: 19.5%
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 48.5%
March unemployment rate: 2.7%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va.
Median household income: $95,843
Households earning $200,000 or more: 16.2%
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 50.2%
March unemployment rate: 3.6%
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.
Median household income: $90,123
Households earning $200,000 or more: 19.2%
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 46.6%
March unemployment rate: 4.6%
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass,-N.H.
Median household income: $82,380
Households earning $200,000 or more: 13.1%
Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 46.9%
March unemployment rate: 3.4%

Seattle not even in the Top Five. It's ranked 9th.

4

You’ve been on camera while shopping your entire life.

While those things do make me self-conscious, just look for the (generally black) glass bubbles in the ceiling.

5

Now white QFC shoppers get to feel like suspected criminals as POC QFC shoppers are treated when watched closely by human security.

6

@2: because the problem is overwhelming and growing exponentially. no city is America has been able to solve it - and don't give me that "Salt Lake City did it" bullshit. no they didn't.

6

Be sure to tell them to sit down before you let them know what mirrors are for, 5.

8

3
wow, you really burned us.
OK;

Seattle is the ninth richest and most Liberal city in America.
Socialists and Progressives run the place with a free hand.
Clinton voters outnumbered Trump voters 11-1.

Yet it's homeless population is proportionally FIVE times as large as the second worse city.
Why is it so utterly incapable of providing for it's left behind neediest residents??

10

"jailing the homeless"

In Seattle?

Please, they have a wonderful list of the top 100 repeat felons who are continually released in Seattle without being jailed and all are homeless. Actually jailing these criminals might be a good start.

11

"The cameras replace human workers who can also effectively monitor and check loss."

Is Charles under the impression some sort of robot comes wheeling out of the back room if shoplifting is observed?

12

You may want to get the location correct. It is QFC at Harvard Market and not the QFC at Broadway and Pike.

13

If the homeless crisis is 100% cultural, as Charles writes, the what part of our culture is responsible for it? Or is Charles blending economics with culture?

14

The headline should actually be "QFC Has Installed Monitors That Assume You Are A Potential Shoplifter". Are you seriously equating "the poor" with "potential shoplifters"? Putting myself in my shoes when I was poor, I would have been more insulted by your headline than by QFC's monitors.

15

@1,

Well played by a dumbfuck who accuses CM of being drunk, but can't get three full words into his comment without a glaring typo. Gold star for you good sir!

16

Mudede is a master of writing content that is simultaneously provacative and bore-you-to sleep dry as an economics textbook. I’d get out the pitchforks and torches, if I wasn’t asleep before the article is over, every time.

17

It’s always amusing when someone looks directly at an obvious problem and then just decides his predetermined conclusions explain it so much better than facts do.

“The homeless crisis is 100 percent cultural.”

Addiction is 100 percent cultural? Because the city’s own survey of homeless persons showed a majority (55%) admitted to alcohol or drug use. Given the data was both self-reported and not independently verified, the actual number may be far higher.

An addict will steal to feed his addiction before he feeds, houses, or clothes himself; that’s what “addiction” means. Pretending “cultural” factors are completely responsible ensures the addicts will receive no help in curing their addictions.

And that is one of the cruelest things anyone can do to them.

18

You're the best, Charles

19

@8 Master statistician you are not I see.

20

@7 -- that is A Bingo.
It's cheaper; it's waaaaaaaaay fucking Pragmatic;
but there'll always be the Authoritarian Types
who do so Love meting out the Punishments...

So, QFC has cameras everywhere and rent-a-cops who can shoot you dead (for taking those nail clippers and exiting without paying) (HEADZUP, TIMothy E!); I wonder, is it "legal" for me to video them, videoing me?

Or is it a one-way street...

I'd like to see Tim Eyman tackle THIS breach of Freedom.
I know, I know, there's no real Money in it; but it just might
give ol' Timmy a splendid opportunity for Redemption.

21

@8 Again you pull things from your massive asshole.

According to Forbes and the USDoHUD in 2018:

New York City, where your super liberal Donald Trump is from, has 78,676 homeless.

Los Angeles has 49,995 homeless

Seattle has 12,112 homeless.

And the next largest population is in San Diego at 8,576.

Oops. Not "FIVE times" anything is it? Anything else you want just make up?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2018/12/20/the-u-s-cities-with-the-most-homeless-people-in-2018-infographic/#377f4fe41178

22

"You do the you the law wants you to do. But a screen that watches you, and shows it is doing so to you, leaves no doubt. There is no inner questioning or doubt. There is no gamble. It is objective. You are watching yourself being watched and recorded."

Well, I have some Good news here.
It's now possible to Doctor those Videos!
And with Hair Furor's (not to mention McBitch's)
stacking of the Courts, you're most likely gonna be
Guilty as fuck.

That's okay -- no better place to learn new Skills than Prison.

23

It doesn't help when other cities and states send their homeless to us on a 1 way bus ticket. They can't go back home because it would violate a contract they signed to leave their city and avoid going to jail by accepting this bus ticket to Seattle.

Cities move their homeless around to other cites and have been doing this for years; because no one wants to solve the problem.

Except Utah has done a better job at solving the problem than Seattle (and not by shipping their homeless to us).

https://www.npr.org/2015/12/10/459100751/utah-reduced-chronic-homelessness-by-91-percent-heres-how

24

Gotta see the Bigger Picture here, Tensor.

When Society homes you in Shit
you're most likely to make Shit decisions.

Society / Culture Causes Addiction
Proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqcwzsaGKbs

I know, we're not rats; but we're similarily wired.
Even you.

LEGALIZE drugs -- end the War on Drug Users
and have Strong Social Safety Nets.

"But, what about the Billionaires?!"

26

@23: I told you not to cite SLC/Utah and you did it. it was CHRONIC homeless only.

here's the 4th sentence in that 2015 article: "In fact, Utah still has a substantial homeless problem. The overall homeless population is around 14,000."

27

@16: Glad you’re comfortable with your shitty attention span. Good for you! Now go back to your Dan Brown novels or whatever and let the adults take it from here.

28

This store clearly has issues with shoplifting. The other methods cited in the article didn’t work so they are trying this. It’s pathetic that a business has to go to this extreme methods to keep losers from stealing from them. It’s also unfortunate that the author uses the unfortunate circumstances a business finds themselves in as a soapbox to complain about the treatment of thieves and the cost of rent in Seattle . Homeless are where they are because of their life choices and stealing is still against the law. Just a garbage article trying to use trigger words to get the lemmings upset over nothing.

29

Shoplifters are not necessarily homeless. They are also not necessarily poor. In any event, they are a huge problem for retail. Stores are trying to protect themselves from loss. That is all.

31

@24: “When Society homes you in Shit
you're most likely to make Shit decisions.”

Thank god you found someone (else) to blame for your comments here!

Meanwhile, you can tell us all about culture-based drug-treatment programs.

32

This is the equivalent of blaming a rape victim for wearing a short skirt, drinking and being out at 2am.

33

Here’s a solution, Charles: do all your shopping on Amazon - no cameras at all! Problem solved, big guy!

Amazon has a great business model: there’s no chance of homeless thieves taking their inventory.

34

@29,

Re-read the piece. Charles isn't admonishing them for their efforts to curb shoplifting. He's doing so for the increasingly invasive and Orwellian methods of doing so, and reflecting on the fact that such measures wouldn't even be necessary if our society put more emphasis on proactive efforts to address the factors that reduce impoverished people to stealing in the first place.

@32,

Smart move in changing your user name. I wouldn't want to be associated with that embarrassing post you made @1 there wither. Stupid fuck.

35

QFC is doing the same thing at the Rainier Ave store. Down to one door, hours cut back. I thought it was because they were fixing to redevelop it.

But that Harvard Market QFC has always been a weird place. I don't know why they chose to open there in the first place.

36

Its i thing now in Seattle. Own a home, your privileged. Point out its wrong to steal your divisive and uncaring. Drive a car its death race 2000. The worst undeserving gutter dwellers are those who received inheritance or have a good job in the tech industry.

37

This has nothing to do with poor people it is about shoplifters. When someone shoplifts they are committing a crime but they are also causing everyone to pay higher prices. Stores make up for the shrinkage by increasing prices. All these articles demonizing stores for trying to stop the rampant shoplifiting never mention that everyone gets screwed by shoplifters. So the poor pay more cause the extreme left wants you to believe that being homeless means you have to shoplift and being poor means your a criminal. That is such BS! I have no problem with QFC installing these cameras cause everytime I see some tweaker stealing I see more money coming out of my wallet and that pisses me off, all so that tweaker can go get high.

38

Northgate QFC too.

39

Thanks, Charles. The cameras and screens and watchtowers are creepy. I’d rather not watch myself watching myself.

40

@35: Catalina dear, I lived in Pike-Pine for over nineteen years. The first of those years was the one before the Harvard Market complex opened. Hauling groceries all the way down from Broadway was not ideal. On the day Harvard Market QFC opened, my neighbors (and me too, I suppose) had delirious looks as we walked home with our purchases, as if to say, "I didn't just walk most of a mile!"

Not only that, but the only WaMu (remember them?) branch nearby was also way the heck up Broadway. Having a nearby cash machine (remember those?) was another bonus to Harvard Market.

41

This article makes me feel grateful not to live anywhere near a QFC. I wouldn't be surprised if they have bars on the windows.

42

It's not a poor problem. It's a drug problem. Gotta feed that addiction by stealing.

43

That QFC used to be open 24 hours but they curbed the hours because of the often violent homeless/addicts that gathered at the Broadway entrance. Chuckles should be as equally concerned about the lost wages of the night crew.

44

Good Evening Charles,
I read your piece. I'm of two minds on the subject. Part of me believes what a lot of commercial establishments are doing is installing surveillance (or a variation thereof, these screens) for protection of their inventory. It's probably a visceral reaction to rising thievery and vandalism by the poor and/or vagrants in Seattle as a result of the homeless crisis. It's also cheaper than hiring security guards. It's not surprising and I give it a lukewarm endorsement.

On the other hand, I don't like these screens/cameras. I, for one don't like to be film/photographed without my permission especially in a grocery store. Heck, I'm just there to purchase food. Alas, I've taken photographic surveillance in stores as de riguer. It is ubiquitous.

Do these screen demonize and profile? Mos def. But that is the society we live in. Technology is far outpacing our ability to control it. Thus, if it is available for use as a security system, businesses will use them. They (security monitors) have been used in convenience stores for decades. They aren't unusual. I take for granted being watched. I believe the poor do as well.

I'll also share what I and others DON'T do regarding the poor and/or homeless. I don't escalate a situation. I get that indigent humans can be desperate.

Twice in the past few years, I've seen someone shoplift at my local grocery. The first time I saw a young black man take a package of food off the shelf and place it surreptitiously in his jacket. I told no one. The second time, just a few days ago, a young Hispanic man was caught by a checker with stolen food items. The checker a big white male demanded but without force that the man give back what he took. The man did. The checker let him go.

Also, twice in the past 6 months at my apartment building I have caught homeless youth break into the laundry room. Three people were there sitting and smoking, a white guy on a bike, a black guy and an Asian-American woman. I asked them to leave. They did. The second time a few weeks later, I discovered two homeless youth, a black man and a white woman doing their laundry. Again, I demanded that they leave as soon as their load was done. In neither case did I feel threatened nor call the police. I warned all parties how extremely dangerous it was to "break and enter". I was thanked both times. Our building security locks have been upgraded.

I mention all of this as I know homelessness is rampant and affecting youth across the spectrum. Also, many including myself aren't escalating confrontations with them.

I admit I have have no solution to the crisis. It is most perplexing. But, I can tell the homeless and poor to observe the law and don't leave a mess. This city is OURS.

45

I’m so glad I don’t live in a shitty neighborhood.

46

Some good comments. The piece was one of tour weirder ones though CM. Your premise is that stuff is somehow new and unique to Seattle when it is neither new to Seattle nor unique or even close. And without intent to downplay race inequality in general, this particular example is particularly bad as it specifically is a trend in suburban and rural superstores, mainly frequented by homed white people. Sure, many of them are poor as dirt, but if the TV makes you feel like they are treating you like someone then you should feel like you are being treated like a Walmart shopper, not an assumed Seattle homeless. And hey, while we are talking about where the problem is, let's take a look at who ends up on the Ring app wanted posts. Are they homeless? Maybe, but they sure look well washed and dressed for someone without a shower or money for good clothes... or even clothes stolen from Goodwill.

47

A few thoughts:

1) Addiction is not an intentional choice. Nobody knows they have an addictive personality until after they've become addicted to something. So it's not as simple as saying "they're addicts, not homeless" and, while people can go into recovery if there is support-there are almost no drug-treatment centers other than the massively expensive "rehab" clinics you can't afford to enter if you're not Charlie Sheen-no one is entitled to say "Just Say 'No'" to anyone else, because its not that damn easy and no one can do that solely through individual force of will;

2)It's nearly impossible to address addiction through the criminal justice system-jails and prisons do next to nothing to help the incarcerated deal with substance issues: they simply deny those people continued access to what they are addicted to, which is as likely to kill these people by putting them into withdrawal without medical attention as to help them clean up.

3) Most shelters don't take people in when they are under any chemical influence. Since there are virtually no free or low-cost drug treatment centers in any large cities, this simply leaves those people sleeping in the street where they will probably die of exposure.

4) Dehumanizing people with addictive personalities, offering them nothing but punishment and sanctimonious judgment does nothing to help people deal with their addictions.

It's simply useless to shake your fists with rage at people battling addictions, to treat them as failures who could have stopped being addicts at any time but just didn't have the "gumption" or any of those other 19th Century words to do it. And it's simply delusional to think that any of the issues involved in drug use in Seattle can be solved by having cops go even more Gestapo on the powerless than they do. Seattle is not dying, and none of its problems can be solved by brute force and putting the boot in.

49

@47 -- Thank you and Very Well Put, AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell.

50

Nobody, from rich socialite to homeless addict, deserves any sympathy or special consideration for shoplifting as it only drives up costs for the rest of us.

51

48: Fair enough. And the fact that "rehab" is the only path offered to anyone who wants to address their addictions makes it futility even more intolerable. The storefront drug-treatment centers most cities had in the late Sixties and Seventies actually did make a difference, and it's even more tragic that those were almost entirely defunded by the "Lock 'em up and throw away the key" types that KOMO was playing to in its mockumentary on homelessness and substance abuse. Fat lot of good mass incarceration did in resolving any of this, folks.

52

@51: The KOMO 'Seattle is Dying' documentary reflected the real blight that Seattle sees every single day. There were a few production blunders, missing follow ups, but that doesn't negate the reality of the situation and the deserved attention it got.

53

@52: it does negate the conclusions numerous people here have drawn from it, though-in particular, the conclusions involving coercion and arrests. It matters that that mockumentary was created by the Sinclair channel in Seattle, a channel whose corporate owners are committed to a hardline "law and order" mass arrest/mass incarceration approach to most of this country's problems-the approach which ruined the lives of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people when it was imposed in the Nineties while providing no solutions for anything.

54

@53: You can't just hang your hat on Sinclair. Eric Johnson has been with KOMO many years before Sinclair bought it from Fisher. Blame him and the local KOMO reporters crew and staff for the content if you will - but so far your rebuttal is just blaming the messenger(s).

55

Hey Chuck, you smoke too much pot. The Amazon Go store has even more cameras. Do you know what the cameras are for? Hint: picking on poor people isn't much of a profit strategy.

56

I work at a different grocery chain. I see everyone and anyone walking out with carts full of what ever they want, all day long. well off, poor, destitute, or just plain bored..its not shop lifting anymore. its looting.. we are down 600K in inventory every 6 months.. cameras aint gonna do shit.

58

@53: Ok, I'll give Eric Johnson some of the blame, too. Clearly Eric would have been one of the reasons Sinclair was attracted to KOMO. And there are many reasons to be suspicious of that show-from its absurdly alarmist title..."Seatle is DYING"? to its likely pre-selected emphasis on a criminal justice/put-the-boot-in approach to the problem, to the falsehoods(Seattle PD have never been barred from arresting heroin dealers, for God's sakes). The show was created to push for a Rudy Giuliani-type approach-never mind that Rudy's approach didn't solve anything in NYC.

59

@34- I did read the article, thank you. And my point remains that assuming that people might shoplift is not the same as assuming they are poor. Lots of non-poor shoplift, just because they think they can get away with it. And as far as "Orwellian", I'd argue that a camera that you know about is far less intrusive than being secretly watched. A camera watching everyone is also far less likely to lead to discrimination than making store security guess about who they ought to be watching.

60

@58: Ok, that's one takeaway. Given that the 'Seattle is Dying' title is hyperbole, its eye catching verbiage put the spotlight on a serious situation - that's what documentaries do.

But, to address your concerns and for robust perspectives, I emailed the Vox.com video team to do a documentary. They solicit ideas.

61

If your not shoplifting do you care if your being recorded.

62

@61,

Pretty sure I'm in the majority in that my preference would be to not be recorded while going about my mind-blowingly mundane daily rituals. If it's necessary for whatever reason and being down lawfully (both of which seem to be the case here) then I guess I can't really complain, but would probably prefer it done surreptitiously honestly, ignorance being bliss and all. Just my $.02.

63

Seems to me that if you aren't a thief, you would quickly forget about these completely out in the open monitors that remind you, that you are being watched by hidden camera anyways.

64

@61: Well...YEAH. Most people don't take well to the implication that they can't be trusted not ot steal.

65

Not TO steal. Dammit, why won't the comments software let us edit our posts?

66

65

The Gods are [apparently] delighted at our futile efforts for self-correction.

67

@65

Let's review: you don't want to lock up addicts, you don't believe in involuntary treatment, and you want the rest of society to be able to trust addicts not to steal their basic necessities.

It sounds like the proposal you're left with is furnishing each addict with a clean private home, a safe supply of drugs, and a stipend or basic income for necessities, all at taxpayer expense, leaving them every bit as free as any billionaire's heir to idle their lives away pursuing their chosen pleasures (as long as they're still engaged in addictive behavior, at any rate).

Personally I'm fine with giving that a try -- hell, throw in a nice TV and a videogames console, the extra cost would be negligible -- but from what I understand it's going to be a really, really tough sell for some of your other fellow-citizens.

69

@67: It’s fascinating, isn’t it, to watch someone who is part of the problem earnestly advocate continuing our failed policies as if they — and he — are part of the solution.

Given the identity of the headline poster, it seems fitting to have such a repeat commenter, though.

70

If we are going to be honest, people really can't be trusted not to steal.

People will literally just steal things for fun. I had a grass whip on my front porch years ago, and someone stole it while I was in the back clearing some brush.

A grass whip. An antiquated and simple lawn care tool with no resale value, or capacity to misuse for fun.

Likely just a kid being rebellious, but people will steal anything.

71

Every time Charles writes an article, a Unicorn dies.

72

My local QFC only has the surveillance in the alcohol section and the self-checkout booths. Is it different in other stores?

73

@47

Assuming that I agree with you that addiction is not a choice, if you have an "addictive personality" (a HUGE assumption), and that its impossible to address addiction through the criminal justice system, and acknowledging that (for very good reasons) most shelters don't take people in when they are under any chemical influence, and understanding that low-cost drug treatment centers no longer exist (because involuntary commitment is out of vouge), and absolutely agreeing that it's simply useless to shake your fists with rage at people battling addictions, the only plausible choice remaining is brute force and "putting the boot in" to persuade them to take their addiction elsewhere.

Personally, I think involuntary commitment of addicts to care facilities is the most humane approach (and if required by law, would force government funding for said care). But you would probably dismiss that by equating it to more prisons.

But, probably, the most acceptable solution (of many unacceptable solutions) is simply encouraging them to move along by being inhospitable to their lifestyle... Many places seem capable of achieving this.

74

1) Why should we lock up addicts when

A) Addiction itself isn't a crime-we don't lock people simply for being alcoholics;

B) Locking addicts up has been shown, over and over, to be a staggeringly ineffective method of getting people into recovery-all jail or prison time does is force people into withdrawal. When people are forced into withdrawal in jail or prison, they are given no support and treated with no human empathy; they are simply punished and shamed despite the fact that punishment and shame do nothing to help people deal with addiction.

C) Locking up addicts simply returns us to the failed Eighties and Nineties "mass incarceration" policy. Why go back to ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of people when ruining said lives does nothing to improve life for anyone else?

D) The criminal "justice?" approach discourages huge numbers of people from seeking help, because it means they risk arrest if they go to any public health facility to try and get sober. It might reduce the number of people who are listed as drug users, but mainly because it leads to more and more of them simply dying from their addictions, from their illnesses.

Addiction is an illness-you don't get people to get help for an illness by shaming and intimidating them regards their illness.

2) You are wrong about what I support. I don't support the exact status quo-it isn't working.
It's just that authoritarian solutions also don't work

What I support is this:

A) Going back to the "neighborhood drug treatment centers" most large cities had in the late Sixties and Seventies. Those centers, in which people battling addictions were offered help WITHOUT risk of arrest and without being subjected to sanctimonious personal judgment being passed on them. Reagan abolished funding for those centers as soon as he took power in the Eighties-he just wanted to fill the prisons for the sake of filling the prisons-and his preferred alternative of sending his speed-freak wife out on tv to tell the audience of Different Strokes to "Just...Say...No"-as if everyone who ever took any form of drugs, in any state of mind, including the soulcrushing despondency Reagan created in any community that wasn't wealthy, straight, and white-was an arrogant and devastating failure. It worked to offer people a way out without making them risk ending up in a cell-why not try that again?

B)Legalizing drugs-not because I want to see their use spread, but because it would be far easier to deal with the issue if we approached it primarily as a public health issue, without moral judgment or anyone's fixation with vengeance.

C)Until legalization, if there MUST be arrests, focus on arresting traffickers and dealers, not their customers. It never worked to attack the problem at the level of demand-the way to attack it is to take it out of the realm of crime and greed and take it. People with addictive personalities are not evil, and addiction is real-nobody becomes a heroin addict just for the sheer joy of making society miserable or for the sake of making you miserable on the way to work. When people use drugs like heroin or meth, they are using them to kill the pain of an inner wound; find the way to help heal the wound and the need for the substance is reduced.

D) Address the severe poverty in many areas of Seattle, and the fear of being gentrified out of the neighborhoods where their families have always lived and that are rich in history, lore, and addition, that are creating a kind of collective depression. Adopt a "don't kill the old to bring in the new" policy in those places which would require gentrifiers to agree not to displace or exclude or rent-hike the existing neighborhoods away, but would, instead, INCLUDE them in any increase in prosperity, reserve enough jobs in the work of gentrification to keep the existing population there, and to build and rebuild in such a way as to respect the existing character of the neighborhoods in question. This is tied in because it is exactly the fear of being cast aside and treated as nothing that drives many, many people in this city to addiction, then leading them to homelessness, and the existing way gentrification has been handled which drives many to homelessness which then leads to addiction, and drives people in both cases to mental health issues.

E) Bring the community together in general to stop devaluing and discarding people. Push to create a real sense of empathy for all. Get out of the habit of declaring people as failures or as losers or as somehow no longer human. Recognize that ANY of us could, with the right combination of circumstances, be the people KOMO was vilifying in that documentary.

F) If there needs to be, in rare cases, involuntary commitment, make the forms of commitment clearly short-term, keep the treatment empathetic and non-judgmental in tone, make sure the relatives of those committed are kept in contact with the committed individuals, make sure none of the places of commitment are ever privatized or run for profit, or subjected to endless rounds of cuts by pigheaded, short-sighted "do more with less" corporate politicians. We know what turned mental institutions into "Cuckoo's Nests" back in the day-learn from that and NEVER RUN THOSE PLACES LIKE THAT AGAIN. If we've learned anything from deinstitutionalization and the rest of the history of mental illness in this country, we know shame, judgment and miserly operating budgets produce nothing but failure, that mental illness is just as much a form of illness as physical illness, and that it simply isn't possible to address it as something a person could "get over, if you just tried hard enough".

G) Actually build the damn drop-in treatment centers for the de-institutionalized that were SUPPOSED to be built when de-institutionalization happened, but that the property values-obsessed NIMBYs blocked from building nearly everywhere they were proposed. Had those been built when and where they were supposed to be built, the situation would be totally under control at this point. There was never any chance that refusing to let those centers be built was going to force those with acknowledged mental health issues-every human being has SOME sort of mental health issues, btw-and everyone who fought to prevent the establishment of the drop-in centers knew it the whole time.

75

@69: How, exactly, am I "part of the problem"? I'm just a guy on a comments board who disagrees with the idea that we should deal with these issues. It's not as though you'd have had your way by now if only nobody in the Stranger comments sections questioned your seeming notion that the way to solve drug use and homelessness would be to set the raging spirits of Jack Webb, J.Edgar Hoover and Nancy Reagan loose on the streets of your town.

76

Nah. They are sick. Too sick to know what's best for them. We have a moral obligation to get them the help they need (even if they don't want it). It's like making a child eat its vegetables. I don't care if its in public or private institutions (which ever are most cost effective in curing them of their addiction). But put them in there until they are cured. No reason they should be sleeping on streets and shitting on corners. Its cruel, unsanitary and inappropriate.

77

@74

Sure, I suppose you could build a whole bunch of free treatment centers, open the doors, and wait for addicts to line up to check themselves in.

But what if only a small fraction of addicts are ready to do that, at any given time?

What do you propose we do when treatment doesn't work, and addicts return to their addictive behaviors? Or are you going to wave a magic wand and make treatment 100% effective (or even improve at all over the current success rate of ~20% -- https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/recovery-blog/drug-rehab-success-rates/)?

And how do you propose we find or test for the tiny but real population of addicts who will NEVER be ready to seek treatment instead of continuing their addictive behavior? What are you suggesting we do for them?

If we should treat addicts like human beings, shouldn't we also treat the people affected by the actions of addicts like human beings? Or are they expected to just tough it out, suck it up, and accept whatever suffering we need to impose on them to make space for the addicted?

78

@75: That should be "who disagrees with the idea that we should deal with the issues the way YOU want them dealt with".

79

@76 it's impossible to be "cured" of an addiction-that's why people use the term "recovery". And why should we trust the police ONLY to force into institutionalization those who actually need it and would benefit from it? We already know we can't trust them only to arrest people who have actually committed crimes.

80

@79
That’s what court ordered commitment is for. A judge should decide when an addict needs treatment and if it achieves “recovery.” Fact is most (yes most) impaired addicts are not interested in achieving recovery... and can not be relied upon to choose a path to recovery regardless of how available that path is.

81

@75: I think the other recent comments have described quite nicely how you’re “part of the problem”. It’s simply not realistic to keep expecting addicts to play nice and respect the rest of us. We’ve tried that approach, and it had failed us miserably. Crime has soared as our city has become more prosperous, not because of gentrification or Amazon or broadly rising prosperity, but because we’ve tolerated an influx of addicts who have no intention of ever working or getting treatment, and are happy to live in tents and steal from us to feed their addictions. Our policies have enabled these addicts to continue feeding their addictions by preying on the rest of us. This serves no one but the Homeless-Industrial Complex we’ve built instead of solving the problem.

I’ve always opposed criminalization of drugs, and have voted for every legalization scheme ever put on my ballots. But while we still have drug prohibition, we can at least use those laws to put chronic addicts in treatment, voluntary or not. (And, no matter how cheap or legal the drugs, someone who steals to get them can go the same route.)

Funding for plenty of voluntary, non-punitive treatment centers would also get my vote, but as noted in recent comments, it’s simply not reasonable to expect that approach alone to work. Some addicts simply have to “bottom out” before they can begin recovery.

82

@81: Essentially nobody stops being an addict as a result of being warehoused or as a result of being treated like a criminal. All that happened was that some of them were hidden from your sight. Forcing them out of view isn't, in and of itself, an answer to anything.

Prisons are always full of drugs and a lot of the people who go in addicted come out addicted or perhaps come out using more or harder drugs than they were using in the first place.

We know the punishment model doesn't work-the Eighties and Nineties proves that.

And we know that involuntary commitment is a recipe for human tragedy in a time of privatization, austerity, and "do more with less". If we hadn't had deinstitutionalization, most of the institutions which hadn't yet turned into Cuckoo's Nests were inevitably going to turn into them. Look at the reports we keep getting of institutions having to be sued because they were having the orderlies beat patients.

And if you simply drove away everyone you include in your category of undesirables, without doing anything to examine why people end up on that particular path and address what leads them to it-why do you assume they all came from somewhere ELSE, btw?-you'd simply see their ranks refilled with everyone who was born in your town and spent their whole life there, and in a matter of months or at most years.

There was never a golden age of compassion and generosity of spirit shown towards people with substance abuse and mental health issues in Seattle, btw-there were simply alternating cycles of abuse and apathy. They've either had the crap kicked out of them by the cops or been left to rot.

BTW, do you realize that, in that post, you were talking about people with substance abuse/mental health issue in exactly the same way that Trump and his allies on the "nationalist" far-right in Europe talk about both refugees and members of whichever ethnic and religious minorities they disapprove of, do you not?

Finally, I'm far from alone and I'm not part of the problem. The Eighties and Nineties, and what was done in the hellhole of Rudy Giuliani's NYC, prove nothing would be made better if dissent against your vindictive, collectively punitive approach to this set of issues was simply to vanish. Nothing good ever happens in this country as a result of an unquestioning consensus in favor of "cracking down".

And I won't give in to your demands that I join you in abandoning common humanity.

83

@82
"Forcing them out of view isn't, in and of itself, an answer to anything."
Forcing them out of view (into institutions where they can be cared for), absolutely is in and of itself, an answer to the issue of public health and safety.

84

@83 LOL You and your gov. representative pals have made clear over and over again that you don't want to pay the higher cost for "institutions where they can be cared for." The only thing you want to pay for is for-profit prisons where the inmates "get the punishment they deserve."

85

@82: “Essentially nobody stops being an addict as a result of being warehoused or as a result of being treated like a criminal.”

Have statistics on that, do you?

“All that happened was that some of them were hidden from your sight.”

They also got three square meals a day, a clean place to live, a roof over their heads, and more medical care than the street provides.

“Forcing them out of view isn't, in and of itself, an answer to anything.”

See @83.

“Prisons are always full of drugs and a lot of the people who go in addicted come out addicted or perhaps come out using more or harder drugs than they were using in the first place.”

Still no statistics, I see. How about comparing your numbers - when you provide them, ha ha ha — to what living in filthy encampments or shoot-up shac— sorry, “Tiny House Villages” — does to anyone struggling with addiction?

“And we know that involuntary commitment is a recipe for human tragedy...”

No, we don’t know that, and how is leaving addicts to die in the streets any better than giving them a chance at treatment?

“...why do you assume they all came from somewhere ELSE, btw?”

I assumed no such thing. Seattle’s 2016 survey of homeless persons ( http://coshumaninterests-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/City-of-Seattle-Report-FINAL-with-4.11.17-additions.pdf ) showed over two-thirds were not originally from Seattle. That is self-reported data with no independent verification, so the real number could be much higher.

“...you'd simply see their ranks refilled with everyone who was born in your town and spent their whole life there, and in a matter of months or at most years.”

If we clear out homeless criminals who have moved here, well-housed persons will suddenly move out into our streets and start taking drugs? Why? Because you don’t actually have any facts to support your vague generalities, so you just made something up?

“BTW, do you realize that, in that post, you were talking about people with substance abuse/mental health issue in exactly the same way that Trump and his allies on the "nationalist" far-right in Europe talk about both refugees and members of whichever ethnic and religious minorities they disapprove of, do you not?”

Oh, look: you wrote that as if you had actually quoted something I’d written, and compared it to quoted statements from ‘Trump and his allies on the "nationalist" far-right in Europe.’ You’re too intellectually lazy to actually do that much work, too dishonest to admit you’ve got nothing left but to call me a Nazi, and too cowardly to just call me a Nazi outright.

86

I didn't need to quote anything you wrote. Your insistence on treating the people we're talking about as though they came from somewhere else, as opposed to mainly having been born here and been turned into what they are by what's around them was the proof of that.

87

“...treating the people we're talking about as though they came from somewhere else,”

Because that is what they themselves told our city when asked. I already gave you the url to the file which clearly documents this. Why do you keep insisting otherwise? Where’s your evidence?

88

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