Jesus dies.
A memorial of flowers marks where David Ballenger was stabbed to death beneath I-5.
Jerusalem, Station 12:
Jesus dies.

Seattle, Station 12:
Northeast Ravenna Boulevard under I-5.

David Ballenger was stabbed repeatedly by teenagers and died here, where he often camped. Afterward, one of the arrested youth was heard to brag to a friend: "Let's just say there's one less bum on the face of the earth."

A Seattle Times report

This is an excerpt from a speech I made at a Vigil Against Hate Violence, shortly after David Ballenger's death.


Where have Seattle's children learned to fear, hate, and ultimately attack human beings who just look like they're homeless?

In a City Council hearing on the Park Exclusion law, City Attorney Mark Sidran stood up and said, "I hear complaints that most of the tickets given out in the parks are to homeless people. Well, what you have to ask yourself is, who's responsible for most of the criminal behavior?"

Seattle experienced a terrifying tragedy when a passenger with a gun shot and killed a bus driver, then himself. The bus plummeted off the Aurora bridge. On the basis of a comment that the gunman had been seen at the Union Gospel Mission, the media began printing that this horror was committed by a homeless man. The man, it turned out, was not homeless. The corrections, however, weren't nearly as dramatic as the original rumor was.

When Seattle's own City Attorney portrays homeless people as criminals and annoyances that the rest of Seattle has to be protected from, when the media is quick to seize on sensationalist stories scapegoating the homeless, do we really have the right to be surprised when our children act on the images we've given them?


Go on to Station 13
Return to Stations of the Cross: the Spiritual Geography of Homeless People in Seattle