According to the San Francisco Chronicle District Attorney Chesa Boudin has allegedly dismissed cases against 113 out of 131 people arrested for felony domestic violence in the last three months of 2020. The streets are descending into lawlessness. Compassion for abusers and violent criminals, rapists and those who make the city a dangerous place for everyone to live, is at an all time high.
I wanted Boudin to succeed. I am all for rehabilitation instead of criminalization, except for the fact that domestic abusers cannot be rehabilitated, especially not at the expense of their victims, and the women and children who are in danger deserve better. They deserve justice and they deserve safety. This is not compassion, this is anarchy.
In November last year you could walk the streets in the area in which I live with some degree of safety. It has got progressively worse as the months wound by. Now you cannot walk down central areas, not even Polk, in the middle of the day without being harassed and violently pursued by dangerous men, and some women, who are clearly mentally ill and suffering from the violent personality changes that crack and other hard stimulant drugs bring about.
Today I was walking down Polk. As I walked a woman behind me loudly spoke to ask to get by. Behind her was a young man, clearly impaired and chasing her just because he could. I got out the way, and ran into a shop. He followed us. No one on the street, minding their lawful business deserves to be chased and intimidated. Similarly we were chased and intimidated by another impaired man who lurched at us as we walked near Van Ness. It is catch and release under Boudin. These people are not being forced into rehab or psych ward beds, they are just being set free to continue to terrorize your average Jo and Joanna on the streets of SF.
The alleyway outside the shelter is now a full blown tent city, full of trash, human shit, and people who intimidate and yell as you walk past. You cannot go quietly about life unhassled. It is immensely dangerous and events of intimidation are increasing. I watched an older drunk try and intimidate and mug an even older woman. She refused to give him money, he started bashing his own head. She was terrified and could not get away from him. I could not go and help her – it was simply too dangerous. I had to stop looking, as I was attracting his attention. I can’t stop thinking about her, and feel so guilty I couldn’t help her. The fact is the police need to patrol and they need to protect innocent people. Either that, or we need Spiderman.
I did say that San Francisco was fine. It no longer is. It is absolutely terrifying and deteriorating rapidly. I no longer feel safe in the slightest. There is no police presence. Drunks are left to piss themselves in doorways as you step over the toxic rivers. Junkies and the mentally ill, crackheads and those who seek to intimidate and chase citizens going about their business makes walking through the city an absolute stressful horror.
I no longer want to go outside. It is beyond frightening trying to get out of the area I live in. In fact I intend to take a taxi on Wednesday past the worst of it. I no longer go to Target in Mission, because on the last two occasions it has been toxically terrifying – I refuse to be yelled at and threatened by men who belong on psych wards, just so I can go shopping.
Compassion is not letting the addicted spiral out of control and hurt, attack and intimidate law abiding people. Compassion is not allowing people’s mental illness to threaten the lives and safety of others. Compassion is not letting a city descend into anarchy. Compassion is not catch and release – these men know they will not face censure or involuntary treatment, and emboldened threaten the lives and safety of women and children in particular. Domestic abusers know they are not going to jail.
Society cannot have nice things, because society does not police itself, and the vulnerable suffer the most. The recent alleged DV case which involved the death of a 7 month old baby, and a man who had been arrested twice previously in the last year for alleged DV incidences and the cases not proceeded with on both occasions.
I want compassion to win the day. I want kindness to win over censure, but the fact of the matter is when the city becomes so dangerous you cannot walk through it, when life is so stressful because the right to walk safely is put before compassion for people who behave dangerously, threateningly and abusively, when day to day happenings are progressively more extreme and violent, something has to be done.
I would love that something to be compassionate. Involuntary psych ward mental health treatment. Involuntary drug intensive rehab. Compassion for the victims of domestic violence, in the knowledge their violent abusers will be locked up for long enough to both punish for their violence and also give the women room to breathe and get away safely with their children, but that compassion cannot be at the expense of other people. It can not be at the expense of public safety.
I believe Boudin is trying to feel a path along the right road. I believe in his passion, but he needs to put this into action, put plans in place, open up psych ward beds to treat and assess, open more inpatient rehabs, and if society doesn’t have the cash for compassion, then prison it is, because anarchy whilst attractive in theory is dangerous in reality, it is immensely stressful and will kill a city’s spirit…and it’s economy. I believe he loves San Francisco. I believe he has the vision. Come on, Chesa! You are the son of Weathermen, you know which way the damn wind is blowing!