While cracking down on gun owners may be the biggest priority for Washington State Democrats like Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, residents of the state’s largest city have a different concern on their minds; illegal drug use.
According to a new poll from the Seattle Times, almost half of the 500 residents who were surveyed said drug use is their top public safety concern, compared to about one-third of respondents who named “gun violence” as their biggest issue.
Interestingly, while we’ve been repeatedly told that younger Americans are far more supportive of gun control compared to other generations, the Seattle Times survey found that “gun violence” was a bigger concern for Seattle’s older residents than young adults in the city.
There’s a significant age split in how people answered the question: 58% of respondents 18 to 24 said drug use was their top public safety concern, while 44% of respondents 65 and older picked that answer. Of the respondents who identified gun violence as a top safety concern, 36% were people 65 and older compared with 15% of 18- to 24-year-olds.
I have a theory as to why that’s the case: older residents are more likely to rely on traditional news outlets than younger generations, and they’re probably getting a warped perspective on the amount of “gun violence” versus the drug problem in Seattle. The city has seen eighteen homicides this year, including the high-profile murder of a pregnant business owner who was apparently the random victim of a convicted felon who had previous contacts with Seattle police, and these crimes receive far more attention from the local media than overdose deaths.
Even when the local media does report on ODs, they’re generally citing statistics and government reports; compelling information given that the number pales in comparison to the staggering toll that fentanyl and other illegal drugs are taking on residents of Seattle and the surrounding King County suburbs, but coverage that’s probably not going to resonate with viewers and readers as much as an emotionally-compelling story that names and profiles victims. As KOMO-TV reported in mid-May:
There have now been more overdose deaths in King County this year than in all of 2020, according to data from Public Health – Seattle and King County.
As of Monday, the health department recorded 524 overdose deaths in the county in 2023, surpassing the entire annual total of 2020, when the county saw 508 overdose deaths.
King County is on pace to exceed last year’s record-breaking total of 1,000 overdose deaths. A majority of overdose deaths involve fentanyl, according to the health department data.
… Fentanyl deaths in King County have skyrocketed, increasing 42% from 2021 to 2022.
Between January and April, Seattle EMS crews responded to 680 in downtown Seattle, the health department data shows.
Countywide, EMS crews are exceeding last year’s responses to overdoses. The data shows there were 2,582 overdose responses in King County between January and April 2023, compared to 1,429 in 2022, and 995 in 2021.
Seattle Fire Department (SFD) crews report they are sometimes treating the same patients multiple time for opioid overdoses.
“I think many first responders can see themselves or one of their family members in these patients and it’s just been really hard. If we do nothing different, we’re going to see them again tomorrow, next week, next month, and we want to try to change that trajectory,” Seattle Fire Medical Director Dr. Michael Sayre told KOMO News.
At 2023’s current overdose fatality rate, there will be approximately 1,500 deaths from overdoses in King County by the end of the year.
680 overdoses in downtown Seattle this year, compared to 67 shootings across the entire city, and yet Democrats have a very different approach to combating drug overdose deaths than they do addressing violent crime. While state lawmakers agreed to a bill this year that keeps drug possession illegal, the legislation also encourages and empowers prosecutors and police to direct offenders to treatment instead of jail. Meanwhile, under the state’s ban on “large capacity” magazines and so-called assault weapons those caught selling the prohibited items can face misdemeanor charges and jail time with little-to-no chance of seeing their cases diverted.
Residents in Seattle seem to have a firm grasp on the biggest public safety issue in the city, but as long as they keep voting for far-left loons like Inslee they shouldn’t expect things to get much better. While the state should be cracking down on illegal gun trafficking, Democrats have targeted legal gun owners instead, and the consequences can be seen in the rising numbers of both drug overdose deaths and repeat, violent offenders who are driving the violence in Seattle.