Seattle has been on the front lines of the civil unrest in 2020. For the month of June, the nation stood aghast as radicals established the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) while the governor, mayor, and the courts undermined state and local police efforts to restore order to the area.
On June 23, Seattle’s Director of Public Defense, Anita Khandelwal, made a mockery of her job title by advocating that the city defund both the police and the criminal legal system. “In order to stop the systemic and violent oppression of Black and Brown people, we must not only defund police, we must also defund the system that criminalizes poverty and legitimizes police violence. This means divesting from a criminal legal system that is racist, ineffective, and expensive, and recognizing that a community-led response is the best way to secure the health and safety of the community.”
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The CHAZ experiment without police or a criminal legal system was a dismal failure. The police cleared the area on July 1 after a month of anarchy and violence.
A Chronic Mental Disorder
Seattle is not ready to abandon insanity. On October 27, Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold made a groundbreaking proposal, sure to warm the hearts of anarchists everywhere.
The proposal would strip the courts of any power to punish petty criminals. The plan would allow municipal court judges to dismiss any misdemeanor charge if the crime was “influenced” by “a person’s addiction, mental health disorder or poverty level.”
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Council Member Herbold defended her proposal, saying that “I think it’s a change that is intended to embrace transparency and empower and put our trust in judges and juries to have the entirety of a story in making these decisions.”
This move would allow anyone who alleges a mental or addiction problem a carte blanche to steal goods under a certain threshold. The courts could refuse to prosecute them, and police would no longer bother to arrest them. In such an atmosphere, order becomes impossible.
Director of Public Defense Khandelwal supports the move, saying that the change only a minor one. “It’s not a radical change from where we are now. It just offers the ability to tell the jury a little more about what may have been lying at the core of a person’s conduct.” Maybe she is correct in her assumption. Lenient prosecution is part of the liberal program. The city attorney, Peter Holmes, said that the proposal would “codify what my office already practices.”
Amazingly, this insanity could become law. According to the Wall Street Journal, Councilmember Kshama Sawant represents the Socialist Alternative Party. She “urged her fellow Councilmembers to pass the plan without delay.” Council President Lorena González added her spin. “I continue to believe that it is time to stop the criminalization of poverty, mental illness and addiction.”
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Council President González is indulging in one of the left’s favorite verbal slights of hand. Poverty, mental illness, and addiction are not “criminalized.” Leftists deliberately confuse the criminals’ states of mind with their actions. People whose cognitive impairments are so severe that they cannot differentiate between right and wrong have been found “not guilty by reason of insanity” for at least a century. Nor are those with less severe mental issues, the poor, and addicted punished for their states of being. They are only fined or incarcerated when they commit criminal acts, such as theft or assault.
Such attempts at obfuscation play upon the charitable instincts of Americans and American culture. In an ideal world, police, courts and prisons would not exist. However, man’s fallen nature makes such a foolish utopia impossible. Evil exists and has consequences.
The “Conscience” of the Left
Of course, the conscience of the left is more likely based on the foolish ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s revolutionary theory of the “natural man.” According to this sage of the Enlightenment, human beings are naturally happy and virtuous until corrupt society forces them to embrace vice. Crimes are caused by society, not the criminal. If no one owned the orchard, he blithely asserted, consuming the apples would not be theft.
Most garden-variety leftists are unable to trace their errors back to Rousseau or anyone else. They live in a world of make-believe that finds its inspiration in John Lennon’s notorious song Imagine. The real Marxists desire a world without restraint, rules or morality, regardless of the consequences to society.
If the members of the Seattle City Council approve the defund the police/criminal justice system proposal, they will be introducing a template for all left-leaning city councils nationwide. Americans must reject this proposal and all other similar plans. The very idea of civilization depends upon it.
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