Publisher’s Note: The Real Victims of Seattle’s Homeless Crisis

In her opinion, our Publisher-in-Chief rises above the sanctimonious hand-wringing to spotlight unacknowledged victims (lower right) of Seattle's homeless crisis.

Publisher’s Notes are the personal opinions of The Distorter’s Publisher-in-Chief and do not necessarily represent the official editorial position of The Distorter.

Seattle sneezes, and Mercer Island catches a cold.

KOMO’s recent airing of the controversial Seattle is Dying documentary on the local homeless crisis has sparked many conversations about the causes and effects of homelessness in Seattle. And while I haven’t watched and have no plans to watch the documentary — why should I be forced to feel bad about something that isn’t my fault? — I think it’s high time we start paying attention to the real victims of this scourge. I am referring, of course, to the residents of Mercer Island.

You may ask, how are Islanders the victims of the Seattle homeless crisis? Because unlike Seattle residents, who choose to live in Seattle and have apparently decided not to solve this problem, we Islanders deliberately choose not to live there. Despite this, we are exposed to this fiasco whenever we cross the I-90 bridge and our eyes are assaulted by the homeless encampments alongside the freeway exits. Sure, we could spend more time on Mercer Island, but Seattle offers certain unique cultural amenities, like sporting events at CenturyLink Field and the cosmetic surgery clinic at Swedish Hospital.

Even worse, some people have responded to the documentary by proposing the forcible relocation of Seattle’s homeless population to a nearby island. As a resident of a nearby island, I can’t imagine anything more terrifying and unfair than that. What do we on Mercer Island know about homelessness? Sure, there were those eight weeks when my family had to move out of our house during the kitchen remodel, but we were able to secure temporary shelter at the Bellevue Club. Maybe all those people on social media are right when they say that light rail across I-90 is nothing more than a conspiracy to make it easier for uninvited outsiders to get to Mercer Island.

So for the sake of the humble paradise that is Mercer Island, we implore Seattle: Do whatever you have to do*, but protect us from the trauma of encountering evidence of homelessness. Because if we don’t see it, then we don’t have to think about it. And that’s what everyone truly wants.

*Except raise our taxes.

Letitia Snugbottom
The Mercer Island Distorter