KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Seattle Progressive activism enabled Garfield HS murder

Jun 9, 2024, 5:55 PM

Seattle school shooting...

Following the death of a student at Garfield High School on Thursday, dozens of people gathered at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park for National Gun Violence Awareness Day on Friday. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

There was another shooting just outside Garfield High School in Seattle, this time claiming the life of a 17-year-old. If not for years of stubborn progressive activism, the teen may not have died. It’s too bad Seattle Democrats have shown zero interest in reversing course, ensuring more dead teens will continue to devastate families.

Seattle Police said there was a lunchtime altercation on June 7. The victim was shot multiple times in the chest as a result. Some of the violence was recorded on a cell phone and circulated on social media. Despite life-saving measures, the teen was pronounced dead at Harborview Medical Center. A source told me the victim may have been trying to mediate a disagreement when he was killed.

Democrat politicians and the Seattle activists they enable responded precisely the way they always do: Blaming guns. To the ideologically-obsessed, the lack of School Resource Officers (SROs), soft-on-juvenile-crime policies that let gangs roam carefree, and the message that guns are only dangerous when wielded by law-abiding citizens played no role.

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Why are Seattle Democrats partly to blame for the school shooting?

After the shooting, Mayor Bruce Harrell lazily recited the same speech he always gives. He decried the easy availability of guns.

“I can’t use the word ‘trauma’ enough to describe what our children are going through,” Harrell said at a press conference that afternoon. “This is not the first shooting at Garfield, and these kids deserve better.”

No, it’s not the first shooting, but it is the same response.

A student was shot in March while waiting for her bus next to campus. Last October and June, there were a number of shootings around the campus, though they were unrelated to students.

On Friday, students, staff, parents and other community members held a “silent walk” to protest gun violence. They shouldn’t be silent. They should ask to undo some of the very policies they called for that led to this.

Pulling School Resource Officers

In the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists and their Antifa army convinced local and state politicians to introduce “criminal justice reforms” that falsely implied cops pose great risk to black residents. That was never true, but Seattle activists have never missed an opportunity to exploit a tragedy or national news story for ideological gain.

Seattle Public Schools (SPS), with the support of Democrat politicians and activists, removed SROs from schools, claiming they were a threat and that students felt uncomfortable around armed officers. Are they more comfortable around armed gangbanger classmates? Some of the very student activists demanding safety measures are the ones speaking out against SROs.

While there have been brief moments where parents have called for the return of SROs on campus, the conversations peter out in large part due to an unwillingness of SPS board members and Democrat politicians to admit their failures. Left-wing Seattle media outlets seem unwilling to push the conversation, either.

Soft-on-crime policies, especially with juvenile suspects

Dangerous juvenile suspects belong in jail. But in Seattle and King County, in particular, they get a pass.

Rather than jail time, they are pushed into “restorative justice” programs as an alternative. They rarely work since many of them are run by police and prison abolitionist groups that don’t hold juveniles accountable. It takes an act of G-d to see a juvenile land in detention. This is by design.

Democrat lawmakers have been dismantling the criminal justice system as we know it since 2020.

They passed a bill prohibiting cops from talking to juvenile suspects until a lawyer is present, even if the parents of the suspect demand he or she speak to the police. No lawyer lets their clients speak.

This law is almost certainly why police still have made no progress in the case of a 15-year-old Chief Sealth International High School student fatally shot in a boys’ bathroom at a youth recreation center. The three teens who were with the victim, Mobarak Adam, haven’t been interviewed because of the Democrat law.

Do gangs exist if you Democrats don’t acknowledge them?

Most Seattle Democrats and community activists stay silent on the gang problems plaguing the region. Ask any cop, however, and they’ll tell you gang-related crimes are rampant.

Since local gang membership is disproportionately black and Latino, Democrats won’t say much — they think it’ll lead to racist assumptions about black and Latino teens. Conversely, it could be used to better focus police and community resources, but Democrats prefer performative politics.

In Olympia, Democrats don’t even hide their agenda.

House Democrats pushed HB 1268. The bill reduced or, in some cases, repealed sentences for gun, drug, and gang crimes committed near schools. During public testimony, it was argued that gun, drug and gang enhancements have “resulted in the incarceration of young black men from urban areas in a grossly disproportionate manner.”

These shootings are all connected to failed Democrat policies they won’t admit failed

While Seattle Democrats blame guns, they could be taking concrete steps to save the lives of kids. And, frankly, the students, staff and parents aren’t blameless here, either.

Going after “guns” means you and I can’t carry to protect ourselves from the criminals Democrats keep out of jail. Instead, there could be a collective demand that SROs be returned to campus. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) offered two bombshell reports dissecting the positive impact SROs have on school discipline and overall safety while cutting down on disciplinary problems.

Instead of silently marching to SPS headquarters, they could march in Olympia and demand soft-on-crime policies be repealed. Then, they could make a stop at the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and demand we throw the book at violent teenage suspects. They can get restorative justice in juvenile detention.

Finally, at the next Harrell press conference, maybe someone can ask for him to offer a plan to tackle gang violence. If we’re not going to put gang members in jail for using guns, what exactly does he think will keep us safe?

Listen to “The Jason Rantz Show” on weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram, and  Facebook.

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Rantz: Seattle Progressive activism enabled Garfield HS murder