Safe Places Report No. 3
Is Seattle the future for American cities? Let us hope not.
If Democratic leaders in the rest of the nation had any common sense, they would be jamming the phone to Seattle’s mayor demanding that she stop the anarchy, because it will only help elect Donald Trump. But the Democratic Party is so slavishly Left and woke today, I fear common sense is an endangered species (or actually extinct) in the party.
That’s my optimistic viewpoint. My pessimistic viewpoint is that perhaps Seattle really is the future for American cities. Certainly no governor or U.S. senator or big-city mayor is showing leadership by forcefully standing up to the riots and destruction that have hit Minneapolis, Seattle, New York City, Atlanta, and so many other cities in the past weeks.
The situation as of this writing: After weeks of protests, radical leftists have taken over a portion of the popular Capitol Hill neighborhood in downtown Seattle, first calling it the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ). That name has now been changed to “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” (CHOP). (Signs at the barricades surrounding the zone read: “You are now leaving the USA.”
Even more ominously, files and equipment from the police department’s East Precinct in the Capitol Hill neighborhood were removed to keep them from being destroyed, the building was boarded up (like the stores in Minneapolis and New York and so many other cities), and the police have retreated from CHAZ.
With the police gone, armed thugs have already started imposing their brand of “law and order” over the useful idiots who helped them create CHAZ. That’s the way it always is. Anarchy never lasts very long. The thugs always take over.
The reaction of the leftist Democrat city administration and the leftist Democrat mayor has been total capitulation. Mayor Jenny Durkan has gone so far as to praise the mob’s actions as “patriotism.”
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, caught between a rock (the revolutionaries) and a hard place (the city’s far-Left political leaders), told her police force: “You should know, leaving the precinct was not my decision…. You fought for days to protect [the East Precinct]. I asked you to stand on that line. Day in and day out, to be pelted with projectiles, to be screamed at, threatened, and in some cases hurt. Then to have a change of course nearly two weeks in, it seems like an insult to you and our community. Ultimately the city had other plans for the building and relented to public pressure. I’m angry about how this all came about.”
Chief Best also told KOMO News that 911 calls for help from within CHAZ “have more than tripled”—that emergency calls regarding “rapes, robberies, and all sorts of violent acts [have] been occurring in the area that we’re not able to get to.”
Regarding the armed thugs, Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette told reporters: “While they have a constitutionally protected right to bear arms, and while Washington is an open-carry state, there is no legal right for those arms to be used to intimidate community members.”
And she noted that citizens and businesses are being told they must pay a fee to operate in the area—which is extortion. There are independent reports that businesses previously located in what is now the occupied zone are afraid to speak out in any way for fear of violent retaliation. I can understand that. It’s called survival.
This all sounds crazy. It is crazy. And it’s hard to believe this is actually happening in a major American city, which once was considered one of the most pleasant places to visit in the U.S. No longer.
This is why you must fast-forward your plans to leave a big city if you presently live in one or near one. Emboldened by the lack of response against their burning and looting of Minneapolis, and now this anarchy in Seattle, the revolutionary thugs won’t stop with those two cities. And almost all of our big cities are ruled by far-Left Democrat mayors and administrations that will capitulate like the ones in Minneapolis and Seattle. Even the occasional Republican-led cities—Fort Worth, for example—are capitulating.
And indeed, as one CHAZ/CHOP supporter has tweeted: “I hope the Autonomous Zone idea will spread to every major city because that absolutely is the next step here. Don’t wait for the government to do something, we don’t need them. We can build a cop-free zone on our own.”
Unintended Irony: Trouble in Utopia
As often happens in Utopia, there were unexpected consequences in CHAZ, as this tweet recounts:
Finding Your Safe Place
Mainstream websites are beginning to cater to the concerns of law-abiding citizens who see the handwriting on the walls of “liberated” cities and CHAZ-type zones. But don’t assume the reliability of their advice—investigate how they choose the cities and towns they suggest as your havens. Their qualifications may not be your qualifications.
For example, there is Business Insider’s guide, titled “We found the 30 best American cities to live in after the pandemic.” I was skeptical, and indeed I found their choices to be a mishmash ranging from the very good (Logan, Utah) to the very ridiculous (Madison, Wisconsin).
The article aptly notes that “recent polling has suggested that many Americans are thinking about moving…. [and] a Harris Poll survey found that about one-third of Americans said they were thinking about moving to less densely populated places.” But when I checked their qualifications for the “30 best,” I found more chamber-of-commerce type boosterism than criteria appropriate for successful families seeking a safe haven.
None of their nine “metrics” used in selecting their “30 best” cities included their safety in terms of crime, their vulnerability to urban unrest in nearby cities, nor indeed how they have fared during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the attention-getting use of the word “pandemic” in the article’s title. Instead we have metrics like “educational attainment,” “housing costs,” “share of jobs that can be done remotely,” “commute time,” and “total spending per pupil (elementary-secondary).” Those may be good secondary considerations, but they don’t tell you whether these are safe havens in a time of increasing political and social unrest. As I’ve indicated, some are, some aren’t.
In this series of Safe Places Reports, I will focus on the qualifications that matter: How to find a community that is safe in terms of crime and unrest, sufficiently distant from bigger cities that may send refugees your way when a crisis hits, and with the community life, climate, and surrounding countryside that you desire. Don’t accept any less-appropriate substitutes.
My previous Safe Places Reports:
No. 2: Making the Big Move: Better Sooner than Too Late (June 9)