Dori: How I would solve the King County Courthouse crisis
Right before we left for the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, we had the story of the disturbing attack outside the King County Courthouse.
A man getting off a bus on Third Avenue randomly attacked a defense attorney on the sidewalk. When a King County metro bus driver tried to intervene, he was also attacked. Finally, a courthouse marshal had to use a Taser to subdue the attacker until police arrived and arrested him for felony assault on the bus driver and misdemeanor assault on the attorney. Witnesses said that he appeared to be homeless and in need of a mental health evaluation.
These random attacks are out of control. Of course, all of Seattle has a vagrancy problem, but this particular block of 3rd Avenue is more dangerous than all of the rest. There have been so many vicious, random attacks here in recent years that jurors are afraid to go to jury duty when called up, and courthouse employees are afraid to even step outside for lunch.
This alleged attacker was from Georgia — even though the politicians keep telling us that the homeless are the kids we grew up with so that they can prey on our sympathy and raise taxes for the homeless. But we know the real story. The homeless population has exploded because people know that the Puget Sound is the easiest place in the country to be a heroin addict and street vagrant. This man has now been arrested five times in front of the courthouse in just the month since he arrived from Georgia, including for two assaults besides these.
And so, does anybody think we are on the right track around here? We’re not prosecuting people who commit crimes, we’re not jailing people who commit repeat assaults. Now, some of the county prosecutors are doing a great job and trying to press appropriate charges. But then we have judges who have decided that it is better for criminals to be on the street than in jail. And they make decisions without thinking about the potential next victims.
I think there are only two things that would inspire change. Either someone would have to die, or a loved one of one of our decision-makers would have to be attacked. I hate to say that, but it is true. I think that that is the only way we would see change, because right now the politicians have such callous disregard for all of the rest of us.
I only did one day of jury duty this past summer, but I had to use that 3rd Avenue entrance, and it was not like anything you’d expect to see in a developed country. I saw people screaming and wailing and threatening others. Think about that — Seattle, Washington, a city that should be on top of the world, looks like a developing nation.
And then you have head-in-the-sand politicians like Sally Bagshaw, who says that there were only two 911 calls at the homeless shelter across from the courthouse in the last month. KOMO 4 found that there were actually 84 calls there.
So what is the politicians’ answer? Are they going to finally take some action against the dangerous crimes occurring on that block, and make things safer for the courthouse employees?
No, of course not — they are just going to close the 3rd Avenue entrance to the King County Courthouse. Their solution is, “We’re just going to let the drug-using vagrant criminals take over 3rd Avenue. We’re just going to go around them, even if it means moving all of the security machines from one entrance to the other.”
Here is the difference between the politicians in power and me. My solution would be to have zero tolerance on all of these drug-using vagrant criminals. I would clean up that street. We would make sure that anyone who assaults someone ends up behind bars for a long time, rather than being released right back onto the street. Instead of being outside the courthouse attacking people, they’d be inside of it being charged with a crime.
If you hand that block of Third Avenue to the criminals, it will soon spread to Fourth Avenue and Second Avenue and Westlake Park. The inmates are running the asylum, quite literally.
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.