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27 Aug, 2019 21:34

Seattle courthouse drowning in waste, but cleaning up would be same as crackdown on… civil rights?

Seattle courthouse drowning in waste, but cleaning up would be same as crackdown on… civil rights?

When two US judges asked the local authorities to clean up garbage and human waste from the homeless camp outside their court, one council member worried that power-washing the area would bring back bad memories.

Editorial Note: Changes have been made to the article to remove any misunderstanding regarding the publication date of the original report by the Seattle Times. The article dates back to July, 2017, but reaction to it was widely making the rounds on social media in late August of this year. RT has also amended the part of the text which initially stated that council member Larry Gossett was worried the clean-up would be racist. The Times report cited Gossett as saying that the clean-up may bring back images of police responses to civil rights activists.

The King County courthouse in downtown Seattle is located near the social service centers and several homeless shelters. A tent city has sprung up in the little park outside. There have been several assaults on courthouse employees, and even two attacks on jurors In May and June, leading to citizens summoned for jury duty to voice concerns about their safety.

Judges Laura Inveen and Jim Rogers, backed by King County Sheriff John Urquhart, asked the county to do something about it, the Seattle Times reported. Among their requests was a daily power-wash of the sidewalks, which “reek of urine and excrement.”

Council member Larry Gossett, however, objected because power-washing “brought back images of the use of hoses against civil-rights activists,” according to the Times.

High-pressure water hoses were used by police in Birmingham, Alabama against civil rights protesters back in 1963. They have also been used to wash sidewalks in most American cities on a daily basis ever since, without being accused of racism. 

Also on rt.com Complaints soar as San Francisco drowns in human waste

While it was conservative pundits who brought up this item from the local crime blotter to national attention, calling it a perfect illustration of “peak liberalism,” the notion that garbage and excrement somehow represent social justice ought to be offensive to pretty much everyone.

“Gossett’s concern here is nothing short of insane,”wrote Kat Timpf in National Review in 2017. “What else are you going to do — not wash them? Because I really, really reject the idea that leaving sidewalks covered with human bodily waste is the less offensive move in this (or any) situation.”

Timpf was not alone in that sentiment, as legions of social media users had a field day with the councilman’s claim. Would using water hoses to put out fires be racist? Or tying a boat to a dock, since that involves making a noose? Make sure you don’t use brooms, either, because that would be offensive to witches!

“This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard,” one commenter wrote on Twitter. “And they will all wonder how Trump was re-elected,” added another.

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