On August 14, 2010 in this blog I warned about the increasing flood of transients, drug addicts, prostitutes, runaways, street hustlers, and other alcoholics and vagrants normally lumped together as "homeless" in downtown Seattle.
I said the idea of having small town tourists mingle on the downtown streets and in the tourist traps of the city with mentally ill individuals talking to themselves and drug addicts high on meth, crack, heroin, and a half dozen other drugs was not a wise idea. It was costing the city BIG TIME in the area of public relations and tourism. Not to mention stagnant real estate prices and just a feeling of decline in the city. I called it that "Taxi Driver" kind of moral decay, from the famous film. That same sense of dread. Who wants to live in a warzone when the streets are not safe at night? Where the doorway to your home smells of urine? When men and women live under plastic tarps on the sidewalk, beg for money on virtually every street corner, and bring about a desperation and decline aurora even on the brightest of days?
Well, yesterday an officer of the Seattle Police shot to death a homeless man in the center of downtown Seattle about three blocks from the Convention Center. Apparently this man, a homeless alcoholic who supported his addiction by making and selling wood carvings to tourists refused to put down his whittling knife when asked to by police. What I can say is that I'm sorry a man is dead. I'm also disgusted that the City of Seattle for a long time has thought it is safe and acceptable for a homeless alcoholic to be living on the streets of the city carving wood with a big knife in the center of the business district.
The streets of my neighborhood used to be safe, even at night. Now they are threatening during the day, let alone after dark where rolling open air drug markets take shape at will, and prostitutes ply their trade in the many alleyways of the area, and homeless men and women of all shapes and conditions make the doorways and dumpsters their private homes. Read about how other people feel.
The City of Seattle should be ashamed. The tourists who visit the city have plenty of stories to report when they return home, and far too many these days start with the words "Never again...."