The winner of Seattle’s public servant Darwin Award goes to…
June 15, 2022
If Seattle had a Darwin Award-type honor bestowed to public servants, the winner no doubt would be Councilmember Kshama Sawant. However, Councilmembers Tammy Morales and Teresa Mosqueda are giving her a run for her money when it comes public safety.
Recently Seattle Times columnists Danny Westneat accurately described what’s going on in the city:
This past week, Seattle released data showing the city is in the midst of a historic shooting spree in its neighborhoods. There were 65 shots-fired incidents in May, making it the worst month of May for gun crime in recent years by far, exceeding May 2017 by 41%.
The crisis is that this isn’t a one-off. It’s routine. April was also the worst April on record, March the worst March, and so on. So far this year, through five months, there have been 75% more shots-fired incidents in Seattle than through five months last year — and 66% more than in any year going back a decade.
Already, 63 people have been wounded on Seattle’s streets this year — and another 15 killed — by gunfire. C’mon, Seattle: Shootings are up 75%. This is not normal. Are we going to do anything about it?
Are we going to do anything about it?
That’s a question voters need to ask Morales and Mosqueda, who recently chastised Seattle police for deploying officers to homeless camps rather than sexual assault investigations.
Make Your Voice Heard!
Let’s take a look at Morales and Mosqueda’s Darwin Award-worthy decisions affecting public safety.
- Voting in 2021 to make drug use de facto legal, which basically rolled out the welcome mat for drug users and dealers across the country to come to Seattle.
- Voting in 2021 to shrink the Seattle Police Department’s budget after a mass departure of officers that all but guaranteed the staffing shortage would get worse.
- Voting last month against Councilmember Sara Nelson’s resolution to use existing police funds for hiring bonuses to help rebuild the department.
Drug legalization attracted people with addictions, who make up much of the homeless population and their camps currently driving much of the increased shooting incidents. By focusing on eliminating the homeless camps, the police department is helping bring the shootings down.
Morales and Mosqueda’s Darwin Award-worthy logic doesn’t seem to grasp that the police had to gut the sexual assault team because they don’t have enough officers to go around. If you run a sporting goods store and you don’t properly staff it, certain departments aren’t going to get the level of service and attention they would otherwise receive. Seattle currently has less than 900 officers to cover a city of 741,000 people, while the city of Boston has 2,139 officers for a city of 665,258 residents. This is simply unacceptable. Even police reform advocates say this has to change if we want to tackle the crime rate.
To be sure, the increase in shootings isn’t due entirely to the staffing shortage. The lack of officers has been a chronic problem for years. But when you combine a drug legalization with staffing shortage brought on by anti-law enforcement rhetoric and efforts to “Defund the Police,” the result is an environment where criminals feel emboldened to act without fear of arrest or pursuit. We’re not seeing more criminals on the streets, but the usual suspects committing more crimes. Another result is that the department can’t fully commit to preventing or investigating certain crimes.
The shootings will go down when there’s a strong police presence in those communities, but that requires having enough officers to do the patrols rather than simply respond to the scene after the shootings have occurred.
In a sense, one has to give Morales and Mosqueda credit. They’ve accomplished what they’ve set out to do. However, as clownish as their policies are, the consequences have been anything but funny for people who live or visit Seattle. And that applies most to communities suffering from these increased shootings.