The Sunshine Observer: SO… V:67

WTF is going on in Seattle?

Some of you not in the area may be wondering if we have gone to hell in a hand basket. No, no we have not. But it’s complicated.

Here is my understanding of the last few weeks…

Do not trust the media.

What is being reported in the media is a mixture of truths and false information depending on the perspective they are supporting. I do encourage looking at different news outlets to see how differently each is representing the situation.

There have been a bunch of different things going on at once. First protests were prompted by the police killing of George Floyd. Initially Black Lives Matter were not encouraging people to protest because of COVID, but people came with signs anyway in support. Then CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone) was created in reaction to the SPD’s violent response to the peaceful protests. While Black Lives Matter and CHAZ share some of the same concerns, they are different citizen groups. Here is the list of demands from each  Black Lives Matter and CHAZ.

Even though we now live 35 miles away, we still consider Seattle our city. When the protesting started, we sat on our couch and watched the news. Disturbed by the mayhem of the anarchists and looters. We listened to our mayor and police chief talk about how they supported the protesters and their right to march, but there were others causing trouble as the police were trying to keep the peace. We were impressed at the time with the calm demeanor of the officials and their support of Black Lives Matter.

Then I started seeing social media posts from friends who were there peacefully protesting.  The police were throwing stun grenades/flashbangs and tear gas at them. My son Sam got a frantic call from his friends to come get them. They were quietly setting up equipment for the speakers when the police came and threw flashbangs and tear gas at them. Then the looting started. It was really confusing at first, it seemed like these folks had just gotten in the crossfire between the looter/anarchists and the police. But the violence continued after the looters/anarchists went home.

The protesters decided to stand their ground and marched to the Capitol Hill precinct which is now CHAZ, a 6-block area of the city. During the weeks I would switch between social media and the news outlets to see how each was handling it. The media focus stayed on the Capitol Hill protesters often criticizing their behavior, calling them terrorists etc. Friends reported the protests continued for the most part peacefully. Yes, a few small things were tossed at the police but nothing that warranted the severe response as they continued to throw tear gas flash bangs and pepper spray. The mayor and the police chief both said they would not use tear gas anymore, but the police continued to do so.

I believe my friends and Sam who spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill as things unfolded. None of whom are terrorists, looters or anarchists. They are peace loving people who started out protesting in the name of George Floyd and ended up protesting against SPD in self defense. The main thrust of the CHAZ protesters was to get the police out of the precinct, which they did. It’s unclear what will happen on Capitol Hill moving forward, things keep morphing.

We need police reform. Defunding the police is not a request to get rid of police, but to look at restructuring the system and reallocating the budget to include social services.

Peace be with you.