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Wars can also be ended by surrender, which Vancouver BC did. I understand Seattle’s approach has been similar: Grant de facto immunity to homeless people committing petty crime, stop all police enforcement of drug laws, and shame everyone who dares to complain.

Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver are remarkably similar in their problems and approaches to solutions. It really feels like a PNW/BC cultural thing.

And it's all following in the footsteps of SF. Lets make our cities open-air asylums!

The city’s approach is a shameful failure

That's happening all over. Statistics-based policing helps here. When you don't arrest people, your crime rate doesn't go up.

except governance is not a war, and unlike in a war you are concerned with well-being of your citizen and are not allowed to kill them... So really, just an empty soundbyte

> and shame everyone who dares to complain.

And then watch at they turn on you by quietly voting for your opponents in greater and greater numbers as the problem worsens.

... or fleeing to suburbs...

That's a big problem for those of us still here that would prefer enforcement; our fellow-minded voters have (probably rightly) chosen defect and left the city, rather than stay to vote for change. Suburb living also has twice the greenhouse gas impact as well.

I think the latest city council election is going to show that Seattle sadly wants more of the same problems and people like us are unwelcome

I don't know, Sawant got way less than was expected in the primaries (36.7% [1]), and I think a lot of folks are in the Sawant or anti-Sawant camp whereby all on the non-Sawant primary votes will consolidate to Orion.

Or people blew off the primaries sure that she'd take the general. ️

[1] https://ballotpedia.org/City_elections_in_Seattle,_Washingto...

She actually did pretty well considering many thought she would get primaried out. All the other incumbents look pretty secure as well

At least Mike O'Brien is out. His replacement may end up being more of the same, but at least it's some kind of change.

Those of us still here that prefer empathy would rather you follow your 'fellow-minded' folks and just leave.

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.

Does there need to be a line drawn here? I don’t think there is a contradiction between empathy and enforcement. For example, I would really like an end to the bike and package theft and I think it is reasonable to enforce laws against it. Do you disagree?

In a perfect world, no.

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.

>the majority of folks in jail and prison are there on probation/parole violations

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.

> Repeatedly letting criminals free to walk the streets

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[1].

Fear-based rhetoric around crime and the people who commit crimes* is not empathy.


My empathy is reserved for victims. I don't see how siding with antisocial actors and taking a permissive stance on crime is supposed to improve society. I literally can't understand the mindset of such a belief other by applying hipster contrarianism to morality.

My empathy is reserved for victims of the prison industrial complex (that includes your concept of victims, btw). I do see how your sort of hardline dehumanization of undesirables...sorry, 'tough on crime'...approach in the latter half of the 20th century has resulted in many of the problems being discussed in this thread.

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.


That was 10 years ago but by all means prove my point about empathy.

"Empathy" is unfortunately becoming code word for "caring to a specific group of people but not others". It's almost never used for "the ability to understand and care about the feelings of people in general".

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.

Is it empathy that leaves the mentally unwell and drug addicted to rot in the street, harass and endanger passersby, and commit petty crimes with impunity?

Time and time again, empathy leads to bad counterproductive policies with good intentions.

Compassion is a much better path.

I didn't think empathy had much to do with the tough on crime policies that are bearing this fruit today, or the dehumanizing rhetoric rampant in this thread that justifies doubling down on those failed policies.

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.

re: compassion vs empathy

google is your friend here since you don't know the difference:


Isn't a liberal left sided? I'm confused by your statement.

Though it's changed recently (and even more recently is swinging back to historical usage), historically the word liberals referred to folks that are generally corporate/free-trade friendly (Reagan famously claimed something to the effect of, 'I'm a liberal, an 18th century liberal'). They also pay lip service to personal freedoms, but that tends to be through the lens of white men being the only people deserving of those, and they're generally against freedom of migration. Or rather that they care about free-trade more than free-migration because it advantages them more, despite the societal benefits of one relying on the other.

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[1]. 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[2].



Gonna be honest thinking of doing just that. All the neighboring cities use Seattle as a dumping ground for addicts so they are nice and clean.

I heard from a lot of folks in Spokane who moved out because of the city's increasingly boggling policies. They were often quite vocal about the fact that they moved and their reasons for moving; they seemed to care for their old home, but simply could not live there any longer.

Vancouver's homeless have largely fled to the suburbs too! (Maple Ridge, mostly.) I guess the cost of living is so high here that even those who aren't paying rent still can't afford it.

Not to worry: WA senator Manka Dhingra has been promising to bring injection sites to the suburbs as well.

People are downvoting this, but the person has a point. That's exactly how Trump got elected (followed by millions of people wondering how the hell it could happen).

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.

That's pretty much Santa Cruz California and it hasn't happened yet.

Why don't you offer an alternative solution then? Throwing the homeless people in jail is ineffective and immoral.

If your solution is drug treatment programs, great, but then don't argue against raising taxes to pay for them.

Seattle loves to pass new taxes that are "supposed" to go towards certain things (and do for a year or two), but then end up in a general fund. Just like the tobacco tax, the alcohol tax and the marijuana tax. These were all supposed to go towards roads and schools, at one point and, yet didn't.

Is there even a legal structure allowing a government to pass a tax with a particular outflow, in a way that prevents said government from later deciding to redirect the tax's revenue to a different outflow? Like how a trust works for private citizens, but at an organizational level?

You can earmark tax dollars for particular spending, but Seattle has a habit of only doing said earmarks for 2 to 3 years before going into the general fund. I'm not sure if you can make those earmarks indefinite, to be honest.

We need low cost low security jails for people who commit property crimes. Basically just wall off a few square miles and throw them in there left to their own devices.

Maybe you can try using your giant 'logical' brain to postulate why that isn't a good idea?

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.

Many prisons in central and South America are run like this: the prisoners are thrown into a contained environment without guards otherwise, the prisoners themselves (usually visit a gangs) organize the prison economy and otherwise keep the peace (bar for some occasional riots).

This is basically the origin of Australia.

That’s not good because it gives the leaders a quality of life that they shouldn’t be able to enjoy.

Wow. That's your criticism? That they leaders aren't suffering enough? You and I have very different ideas about what incarceration is for.

Arizona's attempt at this worked poorly: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/aug/21/arizona-phoen...

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