The last week of the legislative session is like Groundhog Day. Every year they wait and spin and sputter and then act like it's all a big chore. It reminds me of that Rice Krispie treat commercial where the mom reads a book and relaxes in the kitchen, then at the last minute, she splashes flour on her face and walks the yummy into her family. They can't believe how lucky they are to have such a hardworking mom. Oh, the effort.
Thank goodness for Nat Herz's sparkling articles, so we don't have to all be in Juneau minding the store. The past couple of weeks, there's plenty of flour splashing on faces of our electorate. It's boring. No one wants to watch anymore because it's all a little too much theater and not enough governance. While they parade around and swoosh out for fancy lunches, our headlines are screaming.
A new compilation of data declares Alaska as the most dangerous state in America. Oh, and Anchorage is the most dangerous city IN THE COUNTRY. You don't say. Who could see that coming? Spoiler alert: anyone who was paying attention during the Sullivan years or during Sean Parnell's shabby reign.
It's as though all those years of former Mayor Dan Sullivan and an Assembly addicted to austerity cutting the police department to smithereens actually had the effect we thought it would. Higher crime. Shocked. Not shocked.
People packed up their lives and moved, like the song says, North to Alaska, because the promise of livelihood and adventure. Alaska has a shrinking population. Why? Who the hell wants to live with all the super unsexy dangers of crime? The threat of cold winters and bears and wild things, those are so much less scary than what's in the trash by the side of the roads as the snow melts away: used needles.
The study pulled all the statistics from the FBI's 2016 Uniform Crime Report. Here's how they played out: In 2016, there were 804 violent crimes per 100,000 Alaskan citizens, 52 murders and 409 adults per 100,000 residents were imprisoned.
Hard to believe that isn't part of our tourism outreach program. Come to Alaska — we're No. 1 for rape, suicide, death by partner, and we have whales! Wahoo! Love me some whales!
Enough! While our delegation in Washington, D.C., pretends that the country isn't getting ready to burn down, they do nothing. Oh, sure there's some photo ops, but what have they done to make you safer? Juneau? Lord have mercy. The Senate majority is so drunk on self-importance they can't do the obvious things right for our state.
Here's a sentence from a recent article after another homicide in Anchorage: "The victim's girlfriend was recently granted a domestic violence restraining order against Thompson, charging documents say, but it hadn't been served yet." I realize a piece of paper doesn't stop bullets, but why hadn't it been served? They don't have enough resources to get the job done.
Here's another: "One hundred people died in Alaska from opioid overdoses in 2017, according to new preliminary data from state public health officials." Whatever we're doing, it isn't working! (In other news, thanks to the troopers and DEA for the big heroin bust last week.)
It's springtime and time to clean up the roads. This used to be something we did as school kids. Oh, it was gross, but the picnic on the playground was fantastic after filling all those bags of refuse. Now? No, kids. Stay home. There are too many needles and now they have medical sharps containers to dispose of them.
There's an election that's going to come up this year. It may feel far off because we're still figuring out what to do with all the summer company threatening to visit during fishing season. It's not. Too many times we ask questions that are our own personal litmus tests. There are newsletters full of grades on gun rights, women's rights, the environment, gay rights, oh, I'll stop, I know you ignore the same ones in your inbox.
Here's a question we need answered by people running for office: What will you do to "Make Alaskans Safe Again"? MASA!
If you don't get a good answer, run yourself. You might be who we're waiting for.
Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster.