Below is a Letter to the Editor from a Burien Resident:
Dear Friends of Burien,
In response to the ongoing stories (written by The Gem) about the homeless encampments in Burien, I felt the need to ask some questions about HB 1333. In a time of limited resources, is this really the priority of our time? Would setting up a Commission with almost unlimited subjective power be good at any time?
But let’s focus on the immediate situation in Burien. Based upon an email from our State Senator Karen Kaiser, which you will find below, I have a few questions for Senator Kaiser.
Senator Kaiser, it sounds like you share some responsibility for Burien’s public safety. Are you aware of the homeless encampments surrounding our local library? Have you heard about the danger and damages incurred since these tents have been set up?
•While neglecting the real and tangible threat of the homeless encampment situation in Burien (particularly at the Burien library), does the city of Burien want to create a police commission designed to punish esoteric lawlessness (and not materially substantiated lawlessness)?
•Is it legal to punish thoughts/ideas even if they are not backed by any material criminal action?
•Do the residents of Burien want to enforce a theoretical threat of violent extremism and adopt a taxpayer-funded law enforcement commission accountable to AG Ferguson?
•How is the city of Burien able to financially support a violent extremism commission designed to enforce laws against theoretical threats, but we are seemingly impoverished as a city to address real threats/real crime?
•Does the city of Burien believe its residents to be engaged in violent extremism? Do we have tangible evidence of violent extremism in Burien as we do with the homeless encampments?
•How will the city of Burien define violent extremism?
•How can we ensure that Burien residents are guaranteed their U.S. and WA state constitutional rights? How do we protect Burien residents from the potential of thought incrimination and persecution in the event that they exercise their first amendment right to free speech, to the subjective disdain of a violent extremist commissioner? Could ideologically opposing the government be defined as violent extremism?
In summary, it seems that homelessness and crime have greatly increased in Burien over the past three years, and many residents sense a lack of basic police protection in Burien. Until basic public safety is established in Burien (regarding the real, material crime that does real harm to the people and properties of Burien), should Burien be funding a violent extremism commission to police residents’ suspected ideologies and report them to AG Ferguson?
The context for the above:
Karen Keiser of Burien’s 33rd district is strongly supporting HB1333, a bill proposing to create a domestic violence commission responsible to report presumable acts of violent extremism to Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Here is how Senator Karen Keiser responded to my request to vote against HB1333:
I want to thank you for taking the time to write to me in regards to House Bill 1333 which would establish a commission on domestic violent extremism within the Attorney General’s office.
It is unacceptable in a civil society to have extremists take violent action to try to hurt and intimidate others. I have also seen how our community stands together for all our neighbors in the face of violent extremism. It would be my hope that we could further address the underlying issues and work toward more peaceful and neighborly communities together.
Since the bill is still in the House of Representatives, I will keep your thoughts in mind if it comes to the Senate for consideration. It is currently in the House Rules Committee.
I do want you to know that as your State Senator, I support positive behaviors and communications in our wonderfully diverse South King County, even when we don’t all agree. Thank you for writing.
Senator Karen Keiser
33rd District of Washington
President Pro Tem
Thankfully HB 1333 has been confirmed dead for the session by the bill sponsor. No doubt there will be another attempt next year.
The response to the letter about the bill didn’t address the fact that speech does not equal violence. However, those who would have you believe the Constitution doesn’t protect it don’t care about that distinction, and would just as soon have you thrown in a FEMA camp for your beliefs.