On consecutive nights, reports surfaced of shootings and injuries related to violence inside the Capitol Hill Enterprise Zone in Seattle, Washington.
The left-wing protestors who have declared six blocks of Seattle to be an independent territory have lost hope of successfully communicating the message that was the intent behind their declaration at this point. As reports of anarchy, violent crime and theft pour out of the CHAZ, its organizers lost any credibility they could have established in protesting police brutality.
From everything I’ve been able to read about what’s really happening inside the zone, mostly from journalists going in and out through its porous borders, there’s a fair amount of disagreement amongst the protestors inside as to the intentions and long term goals for their rapidly-deteriorating social experiment.
Organized, peaceful protests with civil discourse and some allowance for defiance of the status quo will be the right mix of diplomacy that moves any legitimate vehicles of change forward. Lawlessness, assaults, theft and an every-man-for-himself attitude sabotage what could be a better nation for all of us in 2021 and the years beyond it.
As occupants of the CHAZ began distributing wish lists for anyone willing to support them — the lists asked for electronic devices, clothing, cigarettes, food, water and camping gear — it became clear that the group was not really autonomous, as its name suggests. It’s more like a parasitic drain creating a bleed from what could be a legitimate opportunity to express concern with the current conditions of local, state and federal government.
When I first read of the CHAZ in Seattle, I was reminded on micronations, which are tremendous fun to read about, but not exactly practical and self-sustaining.
Sealand is perhaps the world’s most famous micronation. It consists of an abandoned sea fort built on a platform in the North Sea, approximately 7.5 miles off the cost of Suffolk, in the United Kingdom. Its founders first occupied the fort in 1967, and have claimed it as a sovereign nation state ever since.
The same side of me that enjoys “Treasure Island” and roots for Han Solo in the “Star Wars” franchise loves the story of Sealand and roots for the pirates. Sealand is in the business of selling coins and stamps and titles of nobility via the internet. If you ever dreamed of being a lord, lady, baron, count or countess, duke or duchess, titles begin at just $44.99 over at http://sealandgov.org. They also have merchandise, like T-shirts and flags. It’s all very fun.
Accounts of what is happening in Seattle are not fun or whimsical, at all.
In a report by Andy Ngo in the New York Post that published June 20, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best was quoted as saying that response times to the Capitol Hill zone and its surrounding areas have “more than tripled.”
Some calls for help to police and fire departments have reportedly gone unanswered. Businesses are being damaged. Property gets stolen. Worst of all, people are being hurt.
These are responses to reports of shootings, violent clashes and sexual assaults. These are matters that need to be dealt with swiftly in times of crisis, when police officers don’t need to be delayed by someone acting out of order in order to prove a point about their disagreements with bureaucracy and policy. Human health and safety needs to come first.