I can't say, living here, that I feel that the problem is solved. I view the needles outside my apartment as evidence to the contrary - though I suppose I'm an ignoramus for thinking that.
Simply strolling through Pioneer Square or most parts of International District paints a significantly different picture. One can dine at a Chinese place on Jackson and look out their window and see junkies peddling stolen goods at the bus stop. The non-enforcement of so-called "petty crime" used to fund drug addictions is egregious and continues to undermine the already little sense of community there is in this city of transients.
What I'm trying to say is that while I appreciate the difference in approach from the traditional one, I do believe that there needs to be an honest discussion about the limits of rehabilitation. More research on the subject, as it relates to Seattle, shows that there are many, many, people who take advantage of these lax policies to abuse the system, hurting others who actually need help.
> "Annual expenditures of approximately $10 billion on drug incarceration almost pay for themselves through reductions in health care costs and lost productivity attributable to illegal drug use, even ignoring any crime reductions associated with such incarceration."
(The above is from a study conducted by a prominent U Chicago economist and another economist who is now at Princeton.)
It’s really very complicated. One of the macro trends over the last few decades is a massive increase in crime from the late 1960s to the mid 1990s, then a decrease since then. Incarceration started increasing in the 1970s and 1980s as a response to that increase in crime. When crime started coming down in the 1990s, incarceration started coming down about ten years behind that in the 2000s.
Nobody really knows why crime started dropping in the 1990s. Some people think that the reduction is attributable to the banning of leaded gasoline. Maybe. But I don’t think studied have ruled out the notion that the reduction is attributable to putting a large number of people in prison. See: https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdf/10.1257/089533004773563485
> Crime fell sharply and unexpectedly in the 1990s. Four factors appear to explain the drop in crime: increased incarceration, more police, the decline of crack and legalized abortion.
It’s not an area where you can point to a definitive consensus, and everyone interprets the data to fit their own political views.
There is also a middle ground, where you can think that drugs should generally be legalized, but incarcerating people for non-drug crimes is a good idea. The problem isn't really people doing drugs. It's people breaking into cars, damaging property left in public, trespassing, assaulting other people, leaving big public piles of trash, things that fall into the "harming other people" category of crime.
In other words, middle-class employed people who are safe in their environment don't really commit crimes - why would they? The best way to solve crime In General is to make more people like that.
Now granted, there are some people that would _still_ commit crimes even though they don't need to - this is the place where punitive solutions are appropriate, to make it not worth their while.
> Based on these estimates, the observed 2 percentage point decline in the U.S unemployment rate between 1991 and 2001 can explain an estimated 2 percent decline in property crime (out of an observed drop of almost 30 percent), but no change in violent crime or homicide. The sharp increases in crime in the 1960s—a decade of strong economic growth—further corroborate the weak link between macroeconomics and crime.
Violent crime rates started trending up in the 1960s, more than doubling by 1971: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/U0YlrTTCYi550Z4py1MNVenNt-...
Meanwhile, the economy was quite strong until 1969, with unemployment below 4%: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33069.pdf (p. 5). Poverty rates went down about 40% from 1960-1970, and then were stable until about 1980. Over that same period, violent crime tripled. From 1982 to 1990, poverty went down by 15% and unemployment dropped in half, but violent crime increased 36% to historical peaks.
I wouldn’t expect homicide to meaningfully drop in an economic boom since the reasons for murder are so varied.
This seems impossible to solve without considering which people were actually experiencing this growth.
> In 2013, for example, the average poverty threshold for an individual living alone was $11,888; for a two-person family, $15,142; and for a family of four, $23,834.7
I wasn't alive in 1969, but for 2013, that threshold is quite low - it may make sense for poverty, but it is not a net wide enough to catch a significant portion of (relatively) poor people whose addictions have grown to far outweigh their paychecks.
A little silly but also nice.
If the economic difference is negligible then what reason is there for incarceration over providing healthcare? Crime did drop in the 90s but there's also the reality that those with criminal records are predisposed towards recidivism, a complicated issue on its own, but it seems that incarceration leads itself to staying criminal while healthcare at least has less direct links to criminal recidivism.
I do think mental health services are whats needed.
If you smell like crap and can't sustain a life because of drug addictions or mental illness, and your behavior causes problems for society, you need to be helped, and maybe against your will.
The vast majority of homeless are actually not visible and look like and act like normal people. They often get out of being homeless in a few years. It's the chronic homeless who need help, might always need help, that ruin the public space for everyone else.
One study shows the decrease in crime was caused by an increase in abortions.
Before everyone starts vilifying the person conducting the study. He said on the podcast that he does not think that his study should influence public policy and that the answer was not to try to convince people to have abortions but to spend more money on children and family services and criminal justice reform that keeps families from being separated because of minor crimes.
I personally find the lead/crime argument to be much more convincing
An independent study on the lead/crime hypothesis (impact of childhood lead exposure on criminality) came to a similar conclusion. (Reyes is interviewed in the podcast linked below.) Finally, they recently published a 15-years on follow-up study, which showed continued support for the hypothesis.
You can read a transcript of their most recent podcast on the subject here, or just go direct to the source material.
The abortion argument is just a pathway to IQ/some people are genetically more predisposed to being dumb & violent, etc. It's just a step on the way there. I hardly think I have to spell out what's the next step on the road after that. Open white supremacists like Steve Sailer vocally support the abortion argument, for instance
Adopted children (in the US) are much more prone to various failures, like becoming criminals, than are the biological children of their adoptive parents.
It seems unlikely that this is due to the adopted children being unwanted.
Your second paragraph is the most naked slippery-slope appeal to fear I've seen. Just repeating "just a pathway", "just a step" doesn't make it so. If the explanation is true, it's true. That some racist believes something or not doesn't affect its truth or falsity. I get a kind of claustrophobic communist-era vibe from your comment - that there is no truth, no reality, outside what the powers-that-be declare to be true. (I guess we call it 'political correctness' - there's no 'correct', only 'politically correct'.)
You do not seem to be familiar with the their conclusions and sentiments, no.
> The abortion argument is just a pathway to IQ/some people are genetically more predisposed to being dumb & violent, etc. It's just a step on the way there. I hardly think I have to spell out what's the next step on the road after that. Open white supremacists like Steve Sailer vocally support the abortion argument, for instance
Not even close.
> LEVITT: I actually think that our paper makes really clear why this has nothing to do with eugenics. ... what our data suggests is that women are pretty good at choosing when they can bring kids in the world, who they can provide good environments for, okay? The mechanism by which any effects on crime have to be happening here are the women making good choices. And that’s such a fundamental difference — between women making good choices and eugenics, which is about the state, say, or some other entity forcing choices upon people, almost couldn’t be more different.
> What did Donohue mean by “unwantedness”? He was referring to the expansive social-sciences literature which showed that children born to parents who didn’t truly want that child, or weren’t ready for that child, these children were more likely to have worse outcomes as they grew up — health and education outcomes. But also, these so-called “unwanted” kids would ultimately be more likely to engage in criminal behaviors.
> The mechanism was pretty simple: unwanted children were more likely than average to engage in crime as they got older; but an unwanted child who was never born would never have the opportunity to enter his criminal prime, 15 or 20 years later. Donohue and Levitt created a tidy syllogism: unwantedness leads to high crime; legalized abortion led to less unwantedness; therefore, abortion led to lower crime.
> DONOHUE: ... presumably the greatest thing that could happen in this domain is if you would eliminate unwanted pregnancies in the first place. But American policy has not been nearly as effective in achieving that goal.
> A country like the Netherlands, which has really tried to reduce unwanted pregnancies, has probably had the right approach in dealing with the issues that our research at least raised. So they have much, much lower rates of abortion even though abortion is completely legal in the Netherlands. But they want to stop the unwanted pregnancies on the front end, and I think almost everyone should be able to agree that that is the preferable way to focus policy if one can.
> LEVITT: On the other hand, I don’t think anyone who is sensible should use our hypothesis to change their mind about how they feel about legalized abortion. So it really isn’t very [abortion] policy-relevant. If you’re pro-life and you believe that the fetus is equivalent in moral value to a person, well then, the tradeoff is awful.
> LEVITT: So there are two policy domains for which this research is important. ... the second [policy domain] really does relate to the idea that if unwantedness is such a powerful influencer on people’s lives, then we should try to do things to make sure that children are wanted. You could at least begin to think about how you would create a world in which kids grow up more loved and more appreciated and with brighter futures. And you know, is that better early education? Is that, you know, permits for parents? Or training for parents? Or, you know, minimum incomes? Who knows what the answer really would be. But there’s a whole set of topics I think which are not even on the table.
Anyways, seeing as not only do social scientists widely disagree with their hypothesis, but other researchers found flaws in their data sets that Leavitt & Donohue were forced to acknowledge & correct for- it seems irrelevant?
I'm not sure I understand that. Surely people in prison are even less productive? Or is this counting the massively underpaid prison labour that sometimes happens in the US?
A huge amount of drug users are very productive and go to work every day, but when they get caught up in the legal system they may lose their job.
I think, from reading that abstract, that they’re claiming it causes drug prices to rise and lower the overall rate of drug use. If they don’t mean that, then I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.
Intervention works and it can be done humanely.
Would you mind pointing to some of those studies/evidence so I can be a little more informed about the whole thing?
EDIT: Found one further down, but would love to see any others you have: https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.94.4...
Furthermore, we cannot dehumanize our fellow humans even if they use drugs. The result of such framing is vicious savagery as is seen in America, the Philippines, and other places around the world.
In the context of my response, I really just meant it as shorthand for "not doing any of the negative stuff that Seattleites deal with on an everyday basis". Lots of homeless people are already doing that--namely, not putting the general public at risk with violence or needles sitting around--but many of the ones visible to us are making the city worse off.
So again, my OP should really be reframed as: "if you take a dangerous drug addict and put them in a house, they're still a dangerous drug addict".
And I do implicitly mean there that if you take a non-dangerous, knocked-off-their-feet homeless person and put them in a house, you now have a housed person, and that's a very positive thing :)
What data are you referring to? Governments in the Seattle area manage to spend over a billion dollars each year on the homeless problem. With about 10,000 people, that’s about $100,000 per person per year (both numbers are 2017). And they only house about 50%, which means $200,000 per person housed in temporary or permanent housing.
Somehow New York City houses 80% of a larger homeless population (60,000) for around $50,000 per person. They are three times more effective with their money.
People should be yelling. The data does suggest that policies on the west coast are expensive and ineffective. They aren’t good for anyone. I think the author of this post  makes greats points about the problems of unlimited compassion. Looking at the numbers really changes how I feel about the tent city down the street from me.
It seems like creating housing projects for these people would be cheaper and more beneficial to society than increasing the prison population. I’d like to see something like dorms with shared restrooms, cafeterias, and such facilities. It’d create work and demand locally while keeping the streets clean.
B) From a healthcare perspective, both housing and rehabilitation are necessary for the person to be able to function stably. I would argue that this type of housing as well as drug decriminalization is necessary to treat the underlying poverty (and resulting crime).
- Dealing with petty crime that makes everyone miserable is insensitive to the homeless/addicts/etc who are stealing people's stuff and selling it.
- We should send people to provide garbage pickup to people occupying spaces that don't belong to them, but make sure that they aren't disturbed.
- We should be housing first, but not with housing projects.
What would you suggest be done?
Q: What should we do about this homeless encampment? The options are:
1. Provide it with free trash pickup so that it's a slightly nicer place to live and to be around
2. Shut it down, remove the tents as well as the trash, make the inhabitants move elsewhere
And then I would expect the "tough on crimes" crowd would prefer option #2 to option #1.
I read it as “opposed to trash pick-up in general” and then thought “who the hell would be opposed to that?”
Leaving people to rot on the street for even an instant longer is abhorrently inhumane, and the local government officials in charge of our west coast cities should just resign, since they so clearly lack any empathy or rational thinking.
Last week I saw 2 people shooting up on the brand new deck of pike place market, essentially the biggest tourist attraction in Seattle.
Are you honestly claiming that if only they had a safe injection site and some housing that allowed drug use that that wouldn't happen?
Drug addicts don't care about any of that stuff, they want to get it in their veins asap, and now that its effectively legal they can do this 24/7.
This is incorrect and I think it's constructive to address it.
People talk about numbers, but it's mostly just whatever justifies their bias. Where you draw a line AND when matters when talking about this, so I believe somewhere just under 40% are from outside Seattle. I measure that if you're not from King County (for at least 1 year) before you lost your home, you've moved to it (re: http://allhomekc.org/king-county-point-in-time-pit-count/). Either way, homeless people do not move away to cheaper locales, but are drawn toward the city center. This is primarily due to existing support networks, convenient mobility, drug availability, tolerance, and available disposable wealth. Seattle is not special in this regard, as this behavior is see in many metropolitan centers around the world. Does it matter? No. Where people come from isn't the issue as you can't really control for the conditions...what is WA gonna do, prevent global warming from sending climate refugees up the coast? Good luck Inslee.
I have observed how various cities have approached handling the homeless. I spent 5 years in Santa Cruz, CA and a decade in Santa Ana, CA where these same "issues" had been handled differently from Seattle. I'm not an expert, but I have an opinion, and I recognize that's all it is.
You know who doesn't have a homeless problem? Irvine, CA. If you have a car with a bunch of caked mud on it and some dents or a blown out window, you get status-profiled (they don't admit to it, and it's not racial, but it's demonstrable) and pulled over. The Irvine Company (a family who owns most of Irvine) leverages or ships undesirables from the city and it stays that way (mostly in Costa Mesa, Laguna, etc) same as Santa Cruz did in the 90s where they would drop repeat offenders on a train to Santa Clara. Luckily(?) when a few people ended up freezing to death in their cars and the streets (over a few winters) in Santa Cruz, it came out as an official public safety policy. Draconian measures work to a degree, it seems, but mostly moving people CONSISTENTLY works.
Mixing unrestricted support systems into metropolitan areas has been applied for over half a century. It sifts those who can be helped, out until you have those who cannot or will not be helped. As unpopular as it seems, I think that a city/county being allowed to export people to unincorporated areas if they break a city/county law and have no residence and aren't able to complete a work program, would solve homelessness in a more humane manner. If you don't want to participate in society, homestead the land or run your way back and start over. Either way, it doesn't fill more jail cells. Yes people may die, just as people die now, but without putting residents at risk.
And then watch at they turn on you by quietly voting for your opponents in greater and greater numbers as the problem worsens.
Or people blew off the primaries sure that she'd take the general. ️
Seattle's had this tension between the left and the liberals for a century. Traditionally you lived on the outskirts. You're welcome to go back if the city offends your sensibilities.
In the world we live in, yes I disagree. Our criminal justice system further entrenches these problems. Before you claim that these petty crimes don't apply, the majority of folks in jail and prison are there on probation/parole violations, and these petty crimes are all jailable/revokable offenses for folks on paper.
In America, we put the already marginalized in jail and prison which only further entrenches their marginalization. Empathy means breaking that cycle.
Fear-based rhetoric around crime is not empathy. In fact, it's the exact opposite. And it's rampant in this thread.
This is a funny way of saying they're back in prison for more serious original crimes after failing to rehabilitate during the second chance they were already given in the form of probation/parole.
Repeatedly letting criminals free to walk the streets and commit more crimes is not empathy, it is folly. Empathy is protecting the neighborhoods which aren't rich enough to be insulated from these bad actors.
That's a funny way of implying that everyone that the justice system imprisons are criminals in a world where we imprison 22% of the global incarcerated population despite accounting for 4% of the global total population.
Fear-based rhetoric around crime and the people who commit crimes* is not empathy.
I'm a felon that committed a crime and violated my probation a year after my original sentencing (I've since discharged my sentence). My crime was almost killing my passengers and myself in a drunken single-vehicle collision when I was 19. My violation was being a drunk passenger on my 21st birthday, after the designated driver was pulled over for simple lane violations (right/left turns into far lanes). They were let go with a warning, and I was taken to jail. If I didn't come from the privileged background I do, I could very well still be in prison today.
I'm a contrarian hipster, don't get me wrong, but I come by this empathy honestly. I empathize with your fear too, but I'm telling you to get over it because it only makes the problems you fear worse.
The people who aren't living in the street but are victims of these petty crimes or have their own quality of life drastically reduced because of all this still matter. And I don't think the solution is to bring everyone down to the lowest common denominator. Especially since even the reasonably well off (dare I say, what's left of the "middle class") frequently has it worse in the US than random people do in other first world countries.
Compassion is a much better path.
Time and time again, fear leads to bad counterproductive policies with debateably good intentions.
I'm ignoring the meaningless/unspoken distinction between compassion and empathy in your comment.
google is your friend here since you don't know the difference:
In Seattle, the leftists are the AnSyn folks at the unsanctioned May Day celebration, or the WTO protesters two decades back. Further back, they're the folks organizing the general strike. The liberals are the folks that put their No Re-zoning sign next to their BLM sign in the window of their Ballard home. Or more charitably, the folks that see Gates and Bezos as shining examples of what our city is capable of.
In case you need it in song form, this is a song written by a leftist.
Shame everyone who disagrees with you, cancel them, ban them on your online forums, and then it's like they don't exist. You win! Except they can still vote, and you're no longer in a situation where you can influence them.
If your solution is drug treatment programs, great, but then don't argue against raising taxes to pay for them.
You're suggesting making a fucking ghetto for homeless people? Are you serious?
This thread has confirmed my suspicion that HN cares way more about money and their material interests than any sense of morality or ethics.
(Swedes are very anti-drug. While a narrow majority of even Republicans in the US support legalization of cannabis, 83% of Swedes support keeping it illegal: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sweden-cannabis/in-anti-d...)
It doesn't seem to be working that well, does it?
In practice decriminalization was 20% of the action. The important 80% was investing heavily in social workers, public health, and temporary housing so that people on drugs could receive treatment.
What other countries fail to appreciate is that people in these conditions are almost always self-medicating or escaping something. So great, you don't put them in jail, but they continue living in a vicious addictive hell with no hope for a better future or of ever regaining their lives. That's not exactly compassionate is it?
The metric to track can't be: "didn't die" or "didn't incarcerate", it should be "regained their life" and "broke their addiction".
Gee, you are making it very difficult to choose which policy I prefer!
In terms of drugs Norway and Sweden have traditionally not had much drugs - mainly because they are a long way from anywhere.
I think enforcing these laws would make Seattle safer and an overall better place to live.
If you're physically addicted to drugs, you are to some extent not capable of making rational choices, and this means you are a threat to yourself and to those around you. Could this not be a legal pretext to detain someone (humanely) and bring them to rehab treatment? Seems like a better alternative than jail, and certainly a better alternative to letting drug addicts rot on the streets.
I'm also not a lawyer and have no idea what I'm talking about, so feel free to lay into me and let me know why this idea is wrong or even crazy.
The police don't really seem to care. I've watched a couple of officers find a small pile of used needles at one of the skytrain stations, they laughed to each other said how they should be cleaning that up, then just left. I know about an hour later, a bunch of school kids take the bus I was waiting for. Calling and reporting it did nothing.
Seattle Police ignore just about everything except active shooters. Even emergency calls about homeless brandishing knives in broad daylight are ignored. (If someone does get stabbed, the police will show.)
Seattle politicians have shown that they have no interest in keeping violent people off the streets, so the police don't waste their time with it.
I've been away from Seattle for a while, so excuse me if it's changed. But I still remember quite well in 2010 when Seattle police gunned down a native american for crossing the street downtown, I think it was off of Howell. That guy used to ask me and my wife for change. His big crime was making a very young officer, I believe a recent arrival from the eastern part of the state, uncomfortable due to his skin color. Shot dead, in the back.
"Police accuse King County prosecutors of declining cases, not charging felons"
He was released 24 hours later.
On a simpler note I saw someone exposing themselves/defecating on a street corner in downtown. Some officers spoke to him but then they left.
Similarly, Google "dallas homeless problem" sometime. Warm city, poor coordination of solutions for the homeless -- whoa, homeless populations are rising! But that once more does not fit the narrative, so nobody talks about it in threads like this.
(Houston is doing much better. Houston, unlike Seattle, has put a priority on coordinating efforts to help homeless. HUH.)
That said you're right -- it's not just about taxes. Seattle is low on revenue, but that's only part of why the city has failed to produce a coordinated response to homelessness. Bad organizational skills are not restricted to the right or the left, though.
b) Different scale, man. Seattle's issues are way bigger than Methadone Mile. (I've lived in Boston too.)
You had a viable argument right up until that point!
Edit: Thanks for the bot downvotes! Going from +2 to -1 in the span of a minute on two separate comments is a bit of a red flag :P
Two of my comments saw 3 downvotes in the span of a minute, the latter of which was much further down than this comment.
dang - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17996858
PG - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=392347
Downvoting as a tool to show disagreement has always been standard practice here. Mini-modding on the other hand...
sadly, me and other taxpayers like me in Seattle.
Homelessness and drug use also comes in very different forms even within Seattle; I live in Ballard, and most of our homeless and drug-addicted community lives in beaten-up RVs parked on the side of the road.
1. A person OD'd (presumably dead) at a bus stop
2. Someone passed out, face down in the gutter
3. Multiple people shooting up (usually pants down, shooting into leg)
4. A guy that would regularly walk around shouting and gesturing angrily, making everyone near by visibly anxious
5. One guy literally rolling around in the middle of the street during rush hour, holding up busses and cars
6. A fight, fortunately broken up caused by a homeless guy spitting on another guy
7. People selling stolen goods in the open
8. Finally, some guy got shot in an alley in the middle of broad daylight on like, a Tuesday a couple weeks back.
Not offering suggestions, merely documenting my experiences. I am genuinely glad you had a good trip to Seattle, though
It is really interesting, especially on a site like HN, because the latter is directly contrary to the ethos of most startups.
There's obviously a much deeper problem.
Its easy to see how that would make many people depressed and lead to a cycle of addiction to escape this crappy reality.
Either way, from what I've been witnessing, as the commenter above yours was saying - but in a more specific way, is that many people who once had a fair amount of discretionary spending ability have seen that money sucked up into higher rents and needs for broadband - having more needs for kids and slightly higher expenses for many things all around... it appears that saving to do big things is not an option.
all the while seeing people on instagram living best lives of travel and decadence, many people can't even afford to make healthy choices for food - that once could.
More and more people who were above poverty are finding the higher rents and other expenses taking them into debt with no good way out - more and more people are getting unbanked by fees, and leaning on pawn shops / family and friends to skirt by getting power and water turned back on.
Sometimes they climb back up out of this, but I think more and more people are just simply going without. Going without dental care and healthy food. Skipping meals. There appears to be a bunch of people using dating apps to get free food.
Just that reality is hitting people - and if they can an unexptected larger expense - they are over the edge.
I don't think we have good statistics to show all this. It may seem that poverty is being reduced, and I saw a meme saying the avg household has gained 5k per year lately.. but that's not enough to take care of the basics for most people I see around our growing city that is not on the west coast.
I hear that things like this are even worse elsewhere.
First I think we need to have an honest discussion about actually trying rehabilitation. The criminal justice system is more concerned with retribution than rehabilitation.
I agree that the limits of rehabilitation need to be seriously considered, and that good policy requires a mix of approaches. That said, all of your arguments could be applied to alcoholics during prohibition.
I think if we actually want a sense of community in this city, it starts by treating our neighbors as humans. These drug users are your neighbors. What are you doing to help them?
It's an opinion piece.
I think you solve problems like widespread drug use by repairing the tattered social fabric that of this country which has taken such a toll on so many of the people who live here.
Criminals in jail are a burden on society. Functional, productive, tax paying citizens are assets to society. Rehabilitation is not charity. It's enlightened self interest.
I'm not advocating for kind of bleeding heart "charity" here.
I wonder how Portugal achieved such supposed success in decriminalizing drug use.
It's all about providing a counter-narrative to prevent cognitive dissonance.
Seattle is playing with fire here. I wouldn’t set foot in a city where hard drug use is tolerated, and seemingly celebrated, by many of the people that live there. Junkies will do whatever is necessary to get their next fix. It seems like a bad idea to be anywhere near a city with policies that both attract and help create them.
Certainly, the high profile stabbing in front of Nordstroms didn't do much. Nor, did much change when the homeless guy was stopped from throwing a women on her way to work off an I-5 overpass. Or the lady who was raped by the homeless guy at the U-district car dealership after dropping her car off for an oil change on her way to work in the morning.
I assume it would have to be someone connected to the local government. It took about five seconds to change the 2nd Ave bike lanes when a city employee was killed riding her bike down there.
If you are referring to the well known tragic death of Sher Kung in August 2014, just before the September 2014 scheduled opening of the 2nd Ave bike lane, you are very wrong. The project had been underway long before that.
It sure seemed to me that after her tragic death the call for bike safety was turned up to 11.
We haven't reached that point yet re homeless/junkie assaults. It will take the right person to get killed or raped for that to happen.
My city has one of the worst problems with repeat violent drug addicts in the nation (perhaps aside from the Bay) and yet we refuse to jail those who attack members of the public.
Just a few weeks ago we released a known violent repeat offender who four days later tossed a hot coffee on an infant.
Up in Ballard we released a guy who then chased people down with a pitchfork. Another is intent on assaulting the new Park Couriers who's job it is to keep people from open-using heroin in our public parks.
There's a guy down at an I-5 onramp in downtown who keeps trying to throw small women off the overpass. He keeps failing at doing so, and the cops say "Can't do anything, he hasn't actually thrown somebody off". I guess we'll just wait until he succeeds.
Oh well. I guess we'll just keep pointing these people towards social services, which they'll refuse again, lock them up for some token amount of time, and wait for them to harm the public again.
Regarding the idiot trying to throw women over the overpass. Your statement is in error. It's a crime to try to harm people as well and he has in fact been arrested repeatedly.
The problem is they keep dismissing the charges because he is incompetent AND not locking him up for everyone's safety not that they haven't arrested him.
They are currently trying to figure out what to do with him this time now
STATE OF WASHINGTON VS WILSON, JONATHAN JAMES
Criminal - Active
Lets hope they decide to do something smarter this time.
If someone has committed acts of violence you lock them up for those acts.
>There's a guy down at an I-5 onramp in downtown who keeps trying to throw small women off the overpass.
This is what we are discussing.
How do you get out of hospital?
What you're asking for is detention of people with a disability because they have a disability. That's not allowed under the UN CRPD.
Ex. Patient A was doing foo harmful behavior until we changed their medication and the devil stopped appearing in their dreams to give them orders.
Patient B had a history of trying to bite nurses noses off but has been well behaved for 2 years now and participating in therapy.
Every first world nation has standards and procedures for detaining people who are unwell and a danger to themselves and others. It usually involves "expert" opinion and bad behavior to get into such a situation and "expert" opinion to get out. There is an entire history of bad behavior and bad science involved here but the substitute for bad science is better science not let people get away with infinite malfeasance because they are nuts.
People are for example sometimes ordered to facilities where they may receive treatment in place of detention in prison or be taken into custody in the process of some bad behavior and be subjected to an evaluation based on their behavior.
What do you suggest we do with the guy trying to throw women into traffic when he is inevitably declared crazy? Dismiss the charges and let him go? Would you rather
-- He get the treatment he so clearly needs.
-- Someone get murdered by him.
-- The citizenry take matters into their own hands and rid themselves of him.
Option A is surely infinity preferable.
GP post calls for indefinite detention merely for being ill.
> I think the tough call needs to be made that when someone is obviously mentally ill, homeless and without proper sane supervision, the State should institutionalize them indefinitely.
There's nothing in this sentence about violent behaviour.
> Every first world nation has standards and procedures for detaining people who are unwell and a danger to themselves and others. It usually involves "expert" opinion and bad behavior to get into such a situation and "expert" opinion to get out.
You may want to read article 14 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UN CRPD). https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-...
> 1. States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others:
> a) Enjoy the right to liberty and security of person;
> b) Are not deprived of their liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily, and that any deprivation of liberty is in conformity with the law, and that the existence of a disability shall in no case justify a deprivation of liberty.
Especially read this bit: "and that the existence of a disability shall in no case justify a deprivation of liberty."
Now read what the committee for CRPD say about detaining mentally ill people because they are mentally ill: https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/CRPD/GC/GuidelinesA...
> III. The absolute prohibition of detention on the basis of impairment
> 6. There are still practices in which States parties allow for the deprivation of liberty on the grounds of actual or perceived impairment.1 In this regard the Committee has established that article 14 does not permit any exceptions whereby persons may be detained on the grounds of their actual or perceived impairment. However, legislation of several States parties, including mental health laws, still provide instances in which persons may be detained on the grounds of their actual or perceived impairment, provided there are other reasons for their detention, including that they are deemed dangerous to themselves or others. This practice is incompatible with article 14; it is discriminatory in nature and amounts to arbitrary deprivation of liberty.
> There is an entire history of bad behavior and bad science involved here but the substitute for bad science is better science not let people get away with infinite malfeasance because they are nuts.
The long history is that people wrongly think mental illness causes violence (it doesn't) or that we can predict violence because of mental illness (we can't). If someone is committing acts of violence you have a criminal justice system that should deal with them, and that may involve forensic hospitals. But they're there because of the violence, not because of the mental illness.
But that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that unethical_ban is wrong to call for indeterminate detention of people just because those people are mentally ill.
Are you seriously arguing that a person of average intelligence can figure out which people wandering around obviously fucked up in the head might hurt them but science can't I don't find this claim credible.
Source on housing first being effective: https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.94.4...
I think people in this thread are asking you to question your assumption- do you think every drug addict on the west coast wants to hold down a job and live our normal life?
Non-addicts don't. Addicts do. Addictive people are stuck in the middle oscillating.
Free will + mind-altering drugs is a fundamentally hard problem.
People don't want to live like drug addicts; but nor do they want to stop using drugs.
To reverse the timeline of an obvious example: the people on the street addicted to heroin, would much rather just become people working regular jobs who are prescribed heroin.
These people probably they got addicted to heroin because of chronic pain, and probably that chronic pain hasn't gone away. So any time the heroin is wearing off, the pain comes back, and that decreases the amount of energy/willpower they have to do anything besides the simplest, shortest-term thing they can do to stave off the pain: buy more street heroin.
You might wean them off heroin, but you aren't gonna make them not take some painkiller, because they still have chronic pain. They'll always be "a drug addict" in a technical sense; they need painkillers the same way people with diabetes need insulin.
That's not the relevant question. Is it better for the rest of us if that drug addict is on the side walk or living inside? In the latter case, there's a better chance of treatment success, but it's also better when they remain addicts.
So he only
* pepper sprayed someone
* punched multiple people in the face
This wasnt enough for him to be charged.
How does that play out such that they can't get him on some type of assault / harassment? Is he politely asking these women if they would like to be thrown off the overpass and politely walking off when they demur?
But I'm not holding my breath for them to actually put him away, given their past decisions to not separate him from the public.
> Charges for the first three assaults were dismissed by the City of Seattle because of mental health concerns, prosecutors said in the charging papers.
Jesus, WTF? If he is attacking people because of mental illness, why isn't he locked up in a mental hospital? "Sorry, you attacked people but you're crazy, so have a nice day!" And why is trying to throw someone off an overpass charged with assault and not with attempted murder?
"An individual cannot legally be prosecuted in the criminal justice system if they are not competent because they will not be able to assist in their own defense. When a Mental Health Evaluation determines that an individual is not competent, prosecutors may move for competency restoration. In the three Seattle Municipal Court cases involving Mr. Wilson, the prosecutor did not request competency restoration."
competency restoration is putting a defendant in hospital pending return of competency:
> And why is trying to throw someone off an overpass charged with assault and not with attempted murder?
"The filed charge is Attempted Assault in the First Degree. That crime requires proof of intent to inflict great bodily harm. Attempted Murder in the Second Degree would require proof of intent to actually cause death. Because these are “attempted” crimes, the critical difference between them is the defendant’s actual intent. We are aware from indications in prior case dockets that the defendant has a history of mental health issues. Given that history, the fact that we are early in the investigation, and that the victim thankfully suffered only minor injuries, we chose to file the case conservatively. We can always consider adding Attempted Murder as the case proceeds towards trial. "
The short of it is that society mentally ill criminals are in the middle of a justice system that requires mental health, and a mental health system that refuses to hold people by force, and isn't funded to its expensive needs.
It's one of the many logical inconsistencies of law, and the cost of emphasizing compassion over general safety.
Before you say "emphasize safety more", realize that this leads to giving the State a long leash to use on citizens who might not be mentally nor criminal, but merely accused as such by the state.
In short, this is why we can't have nice things. The risk of harm from a mentally ill person on a bridge is the price society pays for not being able to field a trustworthy government.
Seems very odd Wilson managed to dodge both mental facilities and prisons.
The guy who stabbed people at 10am in front of the Nordstroms downtown flagship store, took several steps to evade capture, hide weapons, etc. All indications that he knew he was committing a crime when he stabbed his victims.
Then when the jig was up (as police closed in on him) he stripped his clothes off so we get the "naked man" headline.
Why would he strip his clothes off? Sounds like he was taking deliberate steps to increase the likelihood of being found mentally incompetent knowing that local prosecutors tend to dismiss such cases.
Also, Seattle's city prosecutor and head public defender jointly and publicly admonished a judge that refused to release one of these career criminals when requested to by the prosecutor.
Long term? After the deinstitutionalization movement in the US, it's possible to get people forcibly committed for short term evaluations (a 72 hour "Baker Act" evaluation), but long term involuntary commitment is quite rare.
And I live in the Central District, which is one of the more violent neighborhoods.
Although I never experienced it and don't know many people who have, I will say that property crimes need to be prosecuted. The only common case I've really heard of is getting bikes stolen (which, again, happens pretty much everywhere) and I assume there is probably some shoplifting too. That's not really even that bad either, and again is par for the course in major cities, but it definitely should be prosecuted when possible.
I agree that a lot of people are simply bothered by having to walk past homeless people and don't want to see or think about them, ever. It's just not really an issue that will affect you very often, on average.
I've lived mainly on Capitol Hill and it's a safer and "nicer" place than it was back in the 90's. I had drug deals happening on corner outside my house back then, the neighborhood is great now. I also lived downtown, where Pike St. between 1st and 2nd Aves was horrendous with homelessness and drug use. Clearly much nicer now. The Central District (the other neighborhood I'm most familiar with) has also undergone huge level of gentrification since then, is much "nicer" place to live than it was in the 90's.
Yes, homelessness, and drug use and mental health issues are big problems, and I'm not sure the city has taken best approach to them. But it's easy to criticize without having better answer. The sensationalist ranting I hear sometimes in media and in personal anecdotes seems pretty misleading.
Compared to Orlando and Salt Lake City, Seattle feels about on par to me with regards to safety and the homeless problem (adjusted for the much higher population & density). Which is useless information because it is an anecdote, but the best way to bring data into a conversation is a lot of useless competing anecdotes.
Ballard? I’m not even sure where it being dangerous would come from, maybe getting run down by a bad Norwegian driver? Checkout Cops in Ballard: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hGlDVmBLibg
(Yes, that is Bill Nye)
Ballard is much worse. It's gone from an enclave of retired scandy fishermen to hip neighborhood with a thriving walkable main drag. Because much of the street parking is still free the homeless living out of barely functional vans and rvs can live without hassle and attempt to panhandle on the drag. I imagine that at least some of those vehicles are also essentially drug emporiums further concentrating the homeless population that is hooked. ... Still not as sketchy as the u-district in the 90s though.
I worked at 3rd and pine McDonald’s in 94-95 (one of the main hangouts for Seattle’s homeless population back then), and downtown was a lot more sane back then. The policing was much more aggressive than it is today, which I think had a large part to do with that.
There's a large chunk of people who think that "Let's take repeat violent offenders off the streets" translates to "Let's take away offered social programs and criminalize being poor", which is not a fruitful dialog.
No arrest, no statistics. When they do arrest someone, the city and county prosecutors often refuse to press charges.
No charge, no statistics.
The needling is also not working from data...
This was linked in that Needling article.
I have friend that is on the front line as a social worker. Any time one of these prominent incidents occurs, I make sure to ask if she knows the perp. And about 50% of the time they are a former patient that she couldn't find a spot for at a mental institution.
Would you rather be paying $100,000+ a year/person to judge and jail them for the crime of being addicted while poor? (I've yet to see people entering that pipeline for the crime of being addicted while rich.)
I said that these violent addicts are refusing offered social services, yet we let them walk around and continue to harm the public.
No, it's not.
What you said, in response to the article was:
> I am just astounded that this is being spun in such a positive light.
The implication here is that redirecting non-violent addicts off the addiction --> prison pipeline was a policy mistake.
I ask why you think that non-violent addicts should be put into prison. You tell me I'm grossly misrepresenting your point of view.
Which point of view do you actually hold? Do you think that non-violent addicts should be provided with help, or prison? Pick one, and own it.
I don't care one whit about your opinions on violent people in public spaces. I doubt they differ from mine, and it's not an interesting conversation.
Whatever problems the commenter in question has with violent criminals has absolutely nothing to do with it - but they chose to attack the non-violent policy (And then get defensive about how their points are being misconstrued. What are those points, then? Violent crime is bad, and should be dealt with? I don't think anyone disagrees with that one. What does it have to do with a diversion of non-violent addicts?)
It's like complaining that standards on organically-grown produce aren't preventing contaminated meat from ending up at your grocery store. Whatever problems you have with contaminated meat have nothing to do with the produce policy.
I assume you're just trying to troll and failing badly.
And just because concealed carry legal doesn't mean the process is constructed in such a way that normal people can actually do it (see CA, MA, NYC and NJ for examples of this) though I'm not sure about Seattle specifically.
But I see you're the type of person who will just shift arguments instead of having an honest discussion so I'm done with you.