The CHAZ effect: *Nineteen* 911 calls get zero response after burglary, arson suspect held

What would happen if you called 911 and no one answered? Or even worse, they answered but no one bothered to show up — even after you caught the perp yourself? Seattle residents are getting a taste of a community with no police after KIRO-TV reported on an auto shop owner’s travails near the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone yesterday.


After foiling an arson and catching the suspect, John McDermott repeatedly called 911 for both the fire and the arrest of the man responsible. After much hemming and hawing, Seattle police finally admitted that they wouldn’t respond.

What in the …?

“I chased him down and a s soon as I came face to face, he came at me so I put him on the ground,” Mason McDermott said. He said he had the suspect pinned while his dad repeatedly called 911.

“At some point he tried to cut me with a box cutter,” Mason said. He pointed to a large rip on his jeans from where the knife cut just his pants.

McDermott said he kept trying to call 911

“I’m told 19 times,” he said. “They alluded they were sending someone… finally said they weren’t going to send somebody,” McDermott said.

“I don’t know what to expect next. If you can’t call the police department, you can’t call the fire department to respond, what do you have?” McDermott said. “Heartbroken. I mean, they are the cavalry,” he said.

In this case, perhaps almost literally. The McDermotts found themselves surrounded by hostile forces that demanded the release of the suspect. The owners had already released him by that time, wisely assessing the situation as hopeless. That provided the McDermotts with a moment of clarity that has thus far escaped elected leadership in the state of Washington and the city of Seattle:

“It could’ve really gotten out of hand,” he said. … “Nobody showed up when literally our lives are on the line,” Mason said. “I think the mayor and governor need to get their act together- because this is beyond a protest,” he said.


Bear in mind that this shop is outside the CHAZ or CHOP, depending on your preferred nomenclature. The “protesters” came to the shop to demand the release of the suspect and to intimidate the McDermotts into doing so. Governments are constituted locally and otherwise to prevent this kind of mob rule, but if those governments never bother to show up, it’s a real question as to whether they exist at all.

And what replaces government when it retreats or collapses? Oh, the usual suspects … complete with guillotines. It’s the French revolution all over again, which makes the new CHOP nomenclature more accurate:

No guillotines yet, but unless Jenny Durkan and Jay Inslee act quickly, it won’t be long. And that autonomous zone might end up taking over all of Seattle if legitimate government doesn’t reassert itself.

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