Seattle is Dying

Seattle is Dying

2019, Society  -   42 Comments
Ratings: 7.45/10 from 136 users.

Bordered by beautiful mountain ranges and gleaming waters, Seattle is one of the most desirable spots to live in the United States. According to Seattle is Dying, a documentary produced by the local KOMO news outlet, the appeal of the city is giving way to rampant crime, homelessness and disgrace.

After tackling issues related to homelessness and drug addiction in previous documentaries, the outlet decided to focus on how these elements impact the quality of life for residents and what can be done to curb the tide of despair that has gripped their beloved city.

The scope of the problem is distressing, and its visual evidence can be seen on nearly every corner. Junkyards hiding under overpasses, tents set up on the side of highways, disturbed members of the homeless community shouting obscenities on downtown streets.

The city has spent large amounts of money to battle the epidemic in their communities, but these philanthropic efforts have had little effect. The film illustrates a profound disconnect between the reality on the streets and the courses of action taken by the city's government agencies.

That disconnect is the central focus of the film as the filmmakers attempt to devise a strategy for restoring order to the region. They receive input from several whistleblower police officers who wish to remain anonymous. The conditions on the street are nearly post-apocalyptic, they claim, and the criminal justice system limits their ability to effectively enforce the law.

In a random list of 100 repeat offenders, the filmmakers find that every subject is homeless and drug-addicted. Most of those tested are afflicted with mental illness. But the majority of them have repeatedly been thrown back into society without a conviction or additional follow-up of any kind.

Seattle is Dying isn't afraid to examine the stark realities behind these issues. It does not intend to demonize the vulnerable. To the contrary, it questions why the city hasn't been able to do more for them. Ultimately, the film endorses more virulent enforcement, and advocates for increased access to recovery services for the city's population of prisoners and other at-risk individuals.

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42 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Rafael

    Why do yo make it sound like homelessness is the epidemic? Unhoused peoples are people, not a disease. Look at the root of homelessness, what needs to change? Try mental health reform? Try addiction recovery programs?

    1. John

      "Look at the root of homelessness, what needs to change? Try mental health reform? Try addiction recovery programs?"

      Why didn't you watch the documentary?

  2. arlo

    You don't need to go back in time to find out why empires collapse. It's happening right here and right now in this US Empire. This is what you get for being a FAKE democracy with a FAIL capitalism which is running by a bunch of oligarchs in a corrupted system. Don't act innocent and pretend like you don't know what's going on... because, you are not innocent in this tragedy, but... instead, you're (and have been) supporting this same system since after WWII and you're a part of the problem, all Americans! You selfish people who voted for the crooked politicians and corrupted government leaders for your own hidden agenda and self-interests in order to maintain your status quo decadent and materialistic lifestyle, eh! Yeah... you all guilty of this tragic demise of your nation. Period.

  3. Sharon McConville

    I think KOMO TV had a good solution to help the homelessness in Seattle. After interviewing hundreds of homeless people, they came to the conclusion that 93% of all homelessness was due to addiction. Some type of drug or alcohol addiction and not much was mentioned of an actual clinical medical problem as Schizophrenia or other PTSD. So most of the problems are addiction. The end result to help many people was to turn McNeil Island into a hospital for the homeless and addicted. What ever happened to that good idea. The money that is thrown at the tiny houses and the money for clean up of camps is staggering. Why not fix up McNeil Island and do some actual good. Also, many people who live here have come from other cities. Thanks to those officials who are "kind enough" to give them tickets to Seattle to get them out of their cities. It's a known fact that our city has a corrupt political homeless factor in place and the money goes into the pockets of the people who are supposed to be helping the homeless. But this idea would take that away from the crooks. The Homeless who need help would have a second chance to get better if McNeil Island was a place for them to go. Wouldn't it be smarter to actually get some help for these individuals rather than just moving them around to different spots to live in the exact same squallor. I see NO progress, it's getting worse. Our politicians do not have a clue how to fix it. All the social workers have no idea how to fix it either. KOMO TV had a good solution...politicians need to get that going. nothing else is working. You could save many lives.

  4. Karen Rogers

    Good, but * very * incomplete, video. It shows just the surface level of a problem, all the while failing to ASK THE QUESTION: Who is making money by perpetuating this drug culture?

    Drug dealers/manufacturers -- making $$ through sales

    "Non-profit" organizations providing services -- making $$ through donations, tax subsidies (city, county, state, and federal), and possibly illegal kick-backs

    Elected officials -- making $$ through donations, jobs (for themselves, family, and friends), and possibly illegal kick-backs

    Black-market criminals -- selling stolen goods

    Sex traffickers -- selling stolen humans

    A problem doesn't get this big unless someone is making $$ -- and a LOT of it. While it's nice that the video producers showed (part of) a problem that is obvious to anyone who goes to Seattle, it'll take bravery to follow the $$ trail.

    I have no doubt that the people making $$ from this problem would move Heaven and Earth to stop -- or * severely * punish the people who dare to make -- Part 2: Follow the Money.

    1. Cindy

      I would love to see a follow up documentary called " follow the money in the homeless debate", Who is getting the money.

    2. John

      I agree with Cindy.
      There's a ton of money being spent on homelessness, and I'm not sure its getting to the people who need it.

  5. Rand

    Chicago is sick and dying also.

    1. John

      100% Rand. I lived there for more than 50 years, and its so close to being at the point of no return.

  6. Alana

    We moved last month from Seattle to Nevada for all of the reasons that this documentary goes into, and so much more. A Socialist and Marxist leaning City Council that refuses to support it's police department. A corrupt, inept justice system, lawlessness and policies designed to handicap, bleed & exploit businesses are all part & parcel with why the Emerald city is no longer a desirable place to live. San Francisco is worse, which is why housing prices are temporarily buoyed in Seattle. The influx of Californians will end, & yet smart Seattlites will continue to exit on mass. Most business owners & friends we know are quietly planning to leave. It is easy to understand why, as Seattle is just another failed liberal city that is self destructing. It's too bad, it once was so beautiful, vibrant & vital. We are sad to see it dying due to socialist policies, policy makers & a general moral decline. What kind of city supports Antifa, but not it's police department? Clearly Seattle is a city that sadly, actually, deserves to die.

    1. Penelope

      Nevada? You mean where prostitution, gambling, strip malls, other Republican "civil liberty" approaches have built the state from the bottom up? Ha. Without all those naked women and drunk gamblers, I guess you'd just have Seattle.

  7. James

    I must be the oldest person posting here. I remember when LBJ started the Great Society. We have been on the sam socialist path since then. Each drug has its own story. Why it's here, what made it possible. The people to start on it? Sometimes they are dealing with depression, bored, around the wrong people, made a bad choice, didn't have a father around ... in the end it was pressures of socialism and socialism's desire to break down the family unit. Remove a community's natural safety nets - replace them with people who don't know who you are and don't care - this is what happens.

    Seattle isn't the first city to see this. San Fran, LA, San Diego, Portland - it's all up and down the coast. Chicago, NYC, Atlanta, Miami, (recent addition) Denver, Tucson, and welcome to the club Antonio. What's in common? Socialism. Every single one of these cities have followed the same path.

    Don't arrest for personal use amounts. Don't arrest for nuisance offenses. Have homeless projects that count the number of people they serve as a measure of success rather than how few they have left to help as a measure. Court/Justice systems that look more at home as a revolving door, a fixture rather than having a function.

    But let me touch on the Great Society ... this country use to have hospitals for the mentally ill. Use to. The country shut them all down and kicked them to the curb. "We can do this on an out patient basis," we said. Now the question is how many self medicate and how many people at the fringes fall into the mentally ill category because of one of many reason such as those I stated above?

    In the end, community is not government and when government attempts to take over the rolls of the community they remove accountability in the process. The promise of socialism is a fools dream.

    1. Penelope

      May I remind you that it was the Republicans of the 1980s "trickle down" who shut down mental hospitals. And we continued to point the finger in the wrong direction. You can't have a society where safety net programs are cut to balance budgets that give tax breaks to the wealthy and think everyone will be ok. It. Does. Not. Work.
      People in this region complain about traffic and pot holes but want to pay $30 for their car tabs. You. Can't. Have. Both.
      Kids need sold education, healthy environments and good teachers to succeed. That takes money. But many who benefited from the system in "the good old days" now gripe about their prooerty tax bill. So where should the money come from? Are you arguing for a pay to play system?
      I have yet to meet a Republican who has put forth a real plan, a real policy that actually helps any of the problems set out in the documentary. Throwing out terms like "socialism" at anything other than corporate welfare isnt economic policy. It's propaganda.
      If socialism is a fools dream, where do you think your fire service comes from? What about your electricty and gas? What about your ability to get to work? Do you think grandma can pay her medical bills all on her own? Do you like the fact your bank account is FDIC insured? Who built the two stadiums? You must get comfort knowing the food you eat is safe. Right? What about the water you drink? Or flush your toilet with? Have you crashed your car and survived? Gone to the hospital in an ambulance and didn't have to pay to before being treated or released? I am certain you didn't teach yourself how to read.
      So at the end of the day, government IS community. Because it builds all the infrastructure and benefits for ALL of us to live and HELP EACH OTHER.

  8. Brian

    Seattle's answer: abolish the police.

    SMH...if the incompetent, woke, marxist ideologues running Seattle think they can just turn to the federal government for a bailout, know other American will not pay for your social experiments and mis-management. You destroyed it, you can fix it.

  9. Joy

    Everything this documentary points to is 110% truth. I won’t bring my family near Seattle anymore... it’s post apocalyptic.

  10. Caedmon

    Not enough political competition. Seattle has a one party political monopoly, and the voters are unwilling to kick the bums out and give the opposition party a chance. That is why there is no change.

    1. Pierre Delecto

      I am apparently the last remaining conservative in in Ballard (!). I believe there IS political competition....between far left "Social Democrats" on the one hand, and extreme far left fascistic Communists on the other hand. :-)

  11. Richard Rider

    Seattle, you need to spend more money on the homeless. Raise taxes, and make Seattle a magnet for MORE homeless. Works in SF, LA and San Diego!

  12. Janet

    They need to incinerate the garbage and place the bad ones in hospitals. The not so bad homeless need housing.

  13. Booster

    These are symptoms of the system, we must focus on the causes. It has little to do with political affiations.

  14. Andi

    What an eye-opener! Coming to a city near you if you elect liberal city leaders.

  15. Dave

    One of the best documentaries I have seen. I am American living overseas in Asia. It is a shame to watch the U.S. implode and nothing is being done about it. It was good to see the problem explained so clearly and a solution portrayed at the end. Hats off to those in Rhode Island.

    Where I live the streets are spotless, trains are clean, and I do not encounter what I have seen in the movie. I am not saying there are no problems here (there are) however the problems shown about Seattle (which also exist in my hometown of San Francisco) are devastating.

    I fear the U.S. will need to get much worse before anything gets better. It seems neither of the political parties have a viable solution (in my opinion).

    Again....I tip my hat to those workers in Rhode Island.

    1. Caedmon

      @Dave, it is not out of control everywhere in the US. It is only where "woke culture" prevails in local politics.

    2. Penelope

      How much do you pay in taxes?

  16. Thomas

    I live in Redding. A northern California town. We are on the same level as Seattle but no where near the scale. Seattle really does look like sh*t from what I have seen in this film. Medication cant substitute self respect; it can give an individual enough time to learn it.

  17. Dave

    Put them in concentration camps.

  18. Mars

    fantastic. There is a way to help.

  19. Jack

    I look forward to the day when all the "Progressive " bastions collapse under there collective bureaucratic weight. Exactly as the USSR and other failed Socialist states
    and like ideologies that came before them.

    1. Andi

      Spot on! Use Seattle as an example of what not to do.

  20. Mark Gaboury

    The drug problem, with all of its attendant crime and filth, is a symptom of leftist policies. It's that simple, folks.

    1. Andi

      So very true

  21. Tominator

    Just back from Seattle. I live in the North East. I've visited Seattle dozen of times throughout the decades, and used to love to hang in the once great city. Pikes Market, ferry landing, downtown. I no longer feel safe, as the city gets dirtier and filled with grossness from the wacked out druggies. Meth is a much bigger problem on the west coast vs east. Heroin for both, is bad news. Homeless is the general category given to this DRUG problem. The city is dying because their is no plan in place to address this problem. The film offers one possibility that is being used in Providence, RI.
    The anti police comments here are close minded, and offer no possible solutions. Perhaps some of these police hater people should walk the streets of some of these west coast cities and be challenged by some of these crazies, as I have. Feel what it's like to have your child our wife with you on these walks.

  22. Maggie

    Could we learn from the R.I. rehab program?

  23. Carl

    This documentary speaks the truth. Plain and simple.
    The big unspoken truth here is that Seattle along with San Francisco are lead by liberals so open minded their brains fell out. There would be similar dire consequences if just conservatives governed a city or region. There has to be a balance of both sides politically. When one side is shut out then the checks and balances, put in place, whither and die.
    The answer is evident for those with a mind. Enforce the laws for the safety of the citizens whilst mandating drug treatment as a condition of release back into society. The financial burden would soon be equaled and surpassed by the savings of reduced crime and all that comes with it.

  24. winter

    You speak of empowering cops to punish the homeless, sick, and insane. This is the kind of thing cops most love to do because it doesn't place them in danger. Mostly they worry about missing out on their early retirement. My advice to you, if you are wond -ering what to do with your life? Take a couple criminal justice classes so you can be a c op. It's easy money, especially if you happen to be a woman.

    1. Kristen Noble

      Yep..blame a cop.

    2. Andi

      Absurd comment. Bet you don't take your life in your hands on a daily basis.

  25. JMFD

    "Let's give police more power because seeing the homeless poor hurts my feelings."
    - the whole point of this documentary

    1. DesertGypsyGirl

      JMFD - You had better watch this documentary again. You completely missed the point.

    2. JK

      That's how I interpreted most of the doc as well. Wealthy people feeling entitled to something they can't see a real path towards. They don't see that inequality, and their status in a high class is part of the scale that tips the "problematic" people and lifestyles into poverty and wretchedness. P.S. I don't think you need to watch the doc again.. you seem to get the bigger picture.

    3. bowen

      Agreed, this attitude is counter productive and toxic. I'd recommend taking these issues to your doctor not your fiduciary.

    4. todd mcallister

      Ahhh my dear friends and gentle readers, a voice from Portland/Vancouver: I'm from Portland and was in fact born here while many aren't as it's become a popular place to live. I went to school in Bellingham and have visited so many times and love Seattle- It was always a bigger and less personal Portland but held the same special allure to a certain type... What's the point? You know what I have found? I have done it all btw. That in Portland and Seattle it's just like San Francisco in that the druggie vagrants are virtually 100% not from there! Each place in the world has a stratification of social elements. And usually this is in equilibrium. Just like the documentary said: Out of work people don't do this. People that lose homes or housing don't do this. It's just the vagrant druggies that migrate around the country that do this. 100% are on drugs! Trust me. And they are horrible people as they will and do rape, rob and kill each other! They are all nuts in one way or another, trust me! To blame their condition on someone else or this imaginary "force of the elites" or some other charge that shifts the blame without any proof or study is total garbage made by people without a clue! As was said you missed the whole point. GO LIVE OUT THERE FOR A WEEK and come back to us! Inject some METH or heroin! If you haven't done these things you cannot be a proper advocate or voice! Society is the victim of these people: People that do not care about anyone or anything else but their momentary fix. Do they care about the environment? Do they care about social issues of any kind? Do they vote? What do they do? Drugs! Intervention! If any of these people was a family member that is exactly what you would do. Another part of the problem is that a younger, clueless, generation doesn't understand that unscrupulous people will play upon these "pop-issues" to get elected to positions of power/government and then exacerbate/prolong the problem to stay elected! If there is no "homeless" problem then no one cares about a "homeless" platform and we can actually spend our money on things that matter: Kids, schools, infrastructure... These vagrant druggies migrated to your city! Ask yourself why! Remember these facts: they are not from your communities, they moved in; they are on drugs and choose that above everything else: above you, them, your children, the environment... on and on. You must have an intervention. Yes you'll have to forcibly do it. Yes you'll have to shift money to places and people that facilitate it all. Sensible love is the best answer.