This can’t be real. I mean, this has to be a joke, right? In Seattle, one of the many Wuhan coronavirus hotbeds on the West Coast, the police chief said that if you hear racist things, you should call emergency services. I’m not kidding. That’s what’s being prioritized as experts say the virus could kill anywhere from 100-200,000 people. But if you hear mean things, call the police. That’s how we fight viral outbreaks on the Left Coast, I see. This is a colossal waste of time for our police. Even if there wasn’t a viral outbreak occurring in the country, this would be a waste of time. As Reason magazine noted, there are also First Amendment issues with this declaration (via Reason):
Washington State is no place for hate. In a show of solidarity, @LoriMatsukawa joined me to remind everyone that hate has no place in our community. Report hate, including racist name calling, to 911. We are here to help, and will respond to investigate. #WeGotThisSeattle pic.twitter.com/cFGkYopbVW— Chief Carmen Best (@carmenbest) March 31, 2020
Seattle's top cop may want to get her priorities straightened out. In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Police Chief Carmen Best used her most recent "chief's brief" update on the coronavirus crisis to urge residents to dial 911 if they are the victims of racist name-calling.
It's a time-wasting imperative—and one that's at odds with the First Amendment.
In her briefing, Best called upon the expertise of a former local news anchor, Lori Matsukawa.
"Hate crimes have no place in our community," said Matsukawa. "We are all trying to deal with the COVID-19 public health crisis together. If you are a victim of a hate crime or hate-based harassment, please call 911."
"We will document and investigate every reported hate crime," Best continued. "Even racist name-calling should be reported to police. If you aren't sure if a hate crime occurred, call 911. We are here to help."
This is unhelpful guidance that conflates two completely different things. A hate crime takes place when a person, motivated by animus, engages in criminal activity against a protected class. Importantly, the underlying action has to be criminal in nature: vandalism, assault, etc. Mere speech is not generally criminal, except in a few special cases (true threats of violence, for instance). Racist speech could be an element of a hate crime conviction, but engaging in racist speech is not itself a criminal action.
As the publication added, along with legions of free-speech lawyers, hate speech is protected by the Constitution. Police would be run down, exhausted by the number of things that liberals consider hateful or problematic. Almost anything they disagree with is racist to these clowns. Our police are already doing too much not the least acting as quasi mental health workers. Their services should be geared towards helping first responders and enforcing the law in this time of crisis, not engaging in an agenda etched out by social justice warriors.
This virus is contagious. It’s serious. One infected person passes this on to two-to-three other people on average, more than the seasonal flu. Most will have mild symptoms, while others will be asymptomatic, which is good and bad. The recovery rate is said to be very high, but those with mild symptoms venturing out could spread this to the population that is most susceptible to death if infected: the elderly and immunocompromised. This virus can live on some surfaces for up to three days. It’s why washing your hands frequently and avoid touching your face is key. Also, stay inside. It sucks, but the markets and the economy are now impacted, and millions of jobs are on the line. We all need to bite the bullet and be uncomfortable not going out until we can control the spread.
Don’t make a mockery of this by telling folks to call the cops if they hear supposedly racist things. That’s not a crime.
Also, yes, young people can get sick and die from this virus--and many have already tragically met the latter upon being infected. They are, however, a group where recovery is more likely. Stay safe, everyone.