First, Nicole Brodeur plays the dead baby card in her sensationalist "reporting" of last month. Then Craig Thompson, whose recent fantasy genre op-ed in the Seattle PI connected homeless encampments to organized crime and the Asian heroin trade, took the smearing of homeless people to heights that none of us could have foreseen.
"A violent, well-organized, Asian heroin gang took over the forest on the west side of Beacon Hill. They beat up most homeless people they found, especially women, and set up shop. Their command and control center was a camouflaged bunker made of concrete blocks, a wooden frame and a door that could have stopped a round from a service revolver. It was a hobbit hole for junkies, with a killer view of the mouth of the Duwamish."Ergo, we must eradicate homeless campsites in the enlightened best interest of those with nowhere else to go.
Reinforced concrete bunkers? Weapons? Heroin cartels and meth manufacturers in the greenbelts? Was a shred of evidence presented that these issues have anything what-so-ever to do with the current controversy. No. This is sensationalism at its worst, and is an unconscionable libel on those whose only documented crime is to attempt survival in a city that has gone to war against its most vulnerable.
Thompson's vaguely racist scare journalism — with its visions of Asian gangs running the greenbelt heroin trade — brings to mind another war of several decades ago. In this war, we destroyed villages to save them. In shorthand, this tactic was referred to as "draining the sea." If we attack the places where they live, all those frightening homeless people will have no choice but to go somewhere else.
At least in Vietnam we offered Strategic Hamlet concentration camps as an alternative. Today in Seattle, with shelters well over capacity, we're offering nothing.
If this is what "ending homelessness" has come to in this city, I want no part of it.