Defund the police isn’t just a bad idea, it’s a fatal idea.
The truth of this hit home hard this past week in the city of Seattle, where a social worker was stabbed to death by a mentally ill man.
Seattle recently cut its police budget by 20% and redirected some of the funding to community outreach and social workers, following demands by BLM and Antifa activists to “defund the police” and let social workers help defuse dangerous situations instead.
The result? Murder.
What Happened to the Seattle Social Worker?
According to police, social worker Kristin Benson went to see a formerly homeless man called Hans Dewey Van-Belkum. As his case manager, Benson wanted to check up on the 58-year-old man at the Scargo-Lewiston apartment complex, a place housing people trying to get off the streets.
Van-Belkum was reportedly worried that he might be at risk of losing his Social Security benefits and also suffered from serious mental illness. He violently attacked Benson, stabbing her repeatedly. She bled to death on the floor while paramedics who rushed to the scene unsuccessfully tried to save her life.
Van-Belkum ran away from the scene of the crime but was arrested later that afternoon.
Seattle defunds the police
Redirects funds to social workers to work with violent homeless people
Social worker gets brutally stabbed to death
Good job BLM! https://t.co/ChBDbcmj7s
— Drew Hernandez (@DrewHLive) December 5, 2020
Benson Was Well Loved in the Community
Friends described Benson as a kind person who always wanted to help others. She was employed by an organization called Plymouth Housing, a Seattle non-profit whose mission is “to eliminate homelessness and address its causes.”
“She was so kind and loving and with open arms all the time,” said Benson’s friend Jessie Parry. “She was never afraid and always approached people with kindness.”
Benson’s organization Plymouth Housing also reacted to her death, saying:
“We are devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of life at one of our properties today. We are working closely with the Seattle Police Department on the ongoing investigation. At this time, we are concentrating fully on supporting our staff and residents throughout the tight-knit Plymouth Housing community.”
Plymouth also added that “additional security is one option” following the horrific killing.
The Danger of Trying to Solve Everything Non-Violently
Non-violence and compassion are wonderful ideals, and should be upheld as much as possible, especially by Christians and people of faith. However, the truth is that in some situations non-violence can get you killed.
It is not responsible to send an unarmed social worker to a potentially violent situation where she is alone with a mentally ill man.
It is highly likely that Van-Belkum will present a defense of being mentally ill. While this speaks to the mental health and drug abuse crisis that is destroying this country — and is a clear sign of the broken families and morals that have partly caused the current crisis — it also demonstrates the completely unacceptable nature of asking a social worker to go into a life-threatening situation.
How is a social worker expected to deal with someone who’s legally not responsible for their actions – even murder?
While it is true that further training for police to deal with mental illness is a smart idea, slashing police budgets is reckless and stupid.
Seattle is a prime example of the genuine danger that progressive ideas cause if they are allowed to be put into practice. You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, and you certainly don’t bring a social worker to resolve a police matter.
The concept of replacing police with social workers has been supported by numerous far-left protesters and endorsed by some fringe progressive politicians such as Congresswoman Ilhan Omar who has previously called for “dismantling” the “rotten” police.
The Pacific Northwest city was also the site of the short-lived Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), a BLM and Antifa separatist zone that lasted less than a month this past summer before deteriorating into violence, infighting and anarchy.