On Friday, 10 days after five people were shot in an apparent drug deal gone bad, city officials and various nonprofit groups met at City Hall to talk about what to do about the city’s homelessness emergency. They seemed bizarrely put off at the idea of shutting The Jungle to homeless access.
One talked of The Jungle’s “sense of community.” Another said some Jungle inhabitants would be worse off if they were uprooted. Others said it was stigmatizing to even call it The Jungle, preferring “Beacon Hill greenbelt.”
Instead, ideas for aiding The Jungle ranged from putting lockers under the freeway so the homeless could store their belongings, to providing encampments with bins for used hypodermic needles.
It was at this mention of needle bins that Dustin Davies and Angel Johnson couldn’t take it anymore. They burst into incredulous laughter and left the council chambers.
Davies was an alcoholic and meth addict who was homeless until 19 months ago. Johnson was a drug addict and prostitute who has been sober 12 years. In recovery, both have been helping the homeless through charity groups.
They came to the meeting to say that the very worst thing you could do for the denizens of The Jungle is keep it open. That the idea was even discussed seemed crazy to them.
I’ve argued in this space for more than a decade now that allowing these makeshift encampments is a humanitarian catastrophe — back to the days of The Jungle, which itself was only closed after a mass shooting. The shantytowns are an embarrassment to both Seattle and the liberal project.
The “city officials’ have been told their ideas are crazy for many years and the data is there to back up those claims. Yet they insist the world should change to match their beliefs rather than their beliefs change to match reality. This, by some definitions, is insanity. A diagnosis of evil also fits the available data.
Prepare and respond appropriately.—Joe]