Tents and Teslas: The Seattle Zombie Apocalypse

Tents and Teslas: The Seattle Zombie Apocalypse

Tents and Teslas: The Seattle Zombie Apocalypse

This past week, I attended some training classes in Seattle. I spent a long time contemplating and observing whilst sitting on I-5 to and from work every day. I could sum up Seattle in two short words: Tents and Teslas.

For every Tesla, I saw a tent. For every tent, a Tesla whizzed by. This would have been one hell of a drinking game if I were not behind the wheel of my car. In the morning, a Seattle radio station music bumper proclaimed, “spring is in the air and people are peeing in the streets.” No joke. I walked Seattle in the afternoon. People in the streets, (no peeing yet), muttering to themselves or their imaginary friends with clearly no faculties about them. Addicts bearing signs and sitting on street corners, strung out on God only knows what. And then, there are the people just like you and me. (Or, are they really like you and me?) They walk along with their cell phones in front of their faces, looking everywhere but at the horrific scene that is unfolding around them. They are either seemingly oblivious or just numb. I saw more reaction from Seattleites when my car inched ever-so-closely into the crosswalk when making a turn than I did when any vagrant walked by. The passive-aggressive stares from the residents of the Emerald City were amazing, I tell you. I thought for a moment that they finally woke up and would see what is actually going on around them!

The numbness, I believe, is from apathy and people honestly believing that they cannot do anything to improve these circumstances for themselves or for the people on the streets. Those who have attempted to enforce law and order have their hands tied and cannot properly do their jobs. Judges let criminals out just hours after committing a crime and Seattle City Council doesn’t listen, nor, do they care to.

Who wants to talk when any ideas are shut down or ignored? Who wants to talk when they are mocked? The oblivion, well, that is multi-layered for sure. Let’s add more layers on this cake, shall we? About a month ago, local ABC affiliate, KOMO News, released a documentary entitled “Seattle is Dying“. The one-hour-long documentary focuses on the homeless problem tying it addiction. Conclusion made here, this is not a homeless problem Seattle is dealing with-it is an addiction problem.

A bombshell report dropped this week. Seattle city elites pooled together resources with other prominent foundations to hire a PR firm to discredit “Seattle is Dying“-an “opinion piece”, as Mayor Jenny Durkan called it.

Earlier this month, leaked documents revealed that a group of prominent nonprofits—the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Campion Advocacy Fund, the Raikes Foundation, and the Ballmer Group—hired a PR firm, Pyramid Communications, to conduct polling, create messaging, and disseminate the resulting content through a network of silent partners in academia, the press, government, and the nonprofit sector. The campaign, #SeattleForAll, is a case study in what writer James Lindsay calls “idea laundering”—creating misinformation and legitimizing it as objective truth through repetition in sympathetic media.”

Idea laundering. Everything is fine. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

Speaking of moving along, here is another brainchild of the City of Seattle. “Emphasis zones”:

So, they trash one place, and move on to trash another area and neighborhood. “Progress”, as Mayor Jenny Durkan calls it.

It’s unfortunate that it focused on a very limited part of Seattle. I think if you went to any neighborhood in Seattle today and told the story from Alki to Seward Park, up north to Seattle Center, you’re going to see a city that’s thriving with people who care, that’s welcoming and diverse.”-Jenny Durkan

Crosscut also had its own take on “Seattle is Dying“:

We already know we have a woeful lack of mental health services here. Drug addiction, which can be a cause or result of homelessness, is a nationwide epidemic, not a Seattle-only problem, and it affects people with homes, too. Homelessness is decreasing nationally, but rising in cities where rents are too expensive.

But facts don’t matter in this program, because instead we hear lively stories from the two people with lived experience who talked to (Eric) Johnson — the young man who uses meth and reacts delightedly to hearing that he’s on a list of most frequent offenders; the woman who says “100 percent” of people on the streets are addicted because everyone she knows is.”

What Crosscut neglects to mention is that most of the people who live this way, do NOT want to follow the rules of shelters that will demand they stay clean and off drugs. They prefer not to be called “homeless” but “home free”. We see this in other cities surrounding the Seattle Metro. The oozing, festering sore that is Seattle is spreading. What Crosscut also conveniently doesn’t mention is why we have this “woeful lack of mental health services” here. More layers: let’s look at HIV diagnoses. Those have increased 286 percent among King Country injection drug users.

As I made my exodus out of the city yesterday afternoon, I drove through Pioneer Square which is both dirty and dangerous. Yesler Way near the 5 looks as if it vomited up tarps, tents and trash. Seattle is not the quirky, creative city hipsters flocked to in the ’90s. And, yes, if you flocked to Seattle during the time of grunge, you were a hipster. Deal with this reality accordingly and accept it. This Seattle is tone-deaf. It seems some of its residents and law-makers are more concerned with separating recycling a bazillion different ways than cleaning up syringes. Its churches are more concerned with displaying the LGBTQ and Transgender acceptance flags outside of their doors than feeding the hungry and seeking out the truly marginalized, down-and-out residents. I feel the screeching guitars of Mudhoney or the Melvins may not even wake these zombies out of their slumber. Oh, look…there goes another Tesla.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons/FlickR/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)/Cropped

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