Photo by Sergiu Nista.

WASHINGTON STATE – The “citizen informer”. It’s very common under totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. After all, there often aren’t enough secret police to watch everyone, all the time. But if everyone in such a dystopian society is watching everyone else, and reporting the arbitrary crimes “to the authorities” in return for extra privileges and approval, plus warm feelings of virtuousness and overall "better-than-thou-ness", well, it’s so much easier for those in control at the top. Never mind all those at the bottom living in constant terror for the pounding at their door.

There’s nothing like salving your own terror by watching some poor sap that you denounced get hauled off to the re-education camps – or worse. But, of course, those self-righteous tools who want that sanctioned approval – and aren’t particular about who it comes from, or even the frightened cowards who just want to point an accusing finger elsewhere so that maybe they can be the last ones on the chopping block, are certainly not welcomed with open arms among the people that the wanna-be tyrants fear.

That’s why such snitches must do their dirty work in secret, in the shadows. Watching. Listening. Washington has fairly strong public transparency laws, so perhaps by denying some anonymity to the informers, we can stop going further down this unpleasant path that we’re all on. The data provided here contains info on those who were foolishly proud enough of their informant work in their own community, to attach their name or other identifying information to their accusations. Some wanted to vicariously hear the results of the punishment that was administered, and others were eagerly willing to provide more dedicated (and creepy) snitch information such as photos or video. Other complainers, however, were less foolish, and submitted their snitch reports more or less anonymously.

But if you are an anonymous snitch, you’ll have to wonder: will some uncaring and incompetent government bureaucrat unintentionally release an identifying piece of your information, even though you desired full anonymity? Will a neighbor be able to piece some tidbits of separated information together and prove that you are the local snitch on the block? Will a business owner remember you on that particular day, and connect you and your information together with your hysterical complaint?

Interesting questions to ponder for some among us.

 

Meanwhile, below you can download the complete file of complaints – almost 89,000 total – received by state agencies against businesses and individuals, from March 25th, 2020, through January 18th, 2021. For easiest use, the rows have been sorted by County, and then by Business Name. These informant reports of real or imagined violations of Inslee's edicts, were submitted largely through the Governor's "Report a Safe Start Violation" form and its previous iterations. All data submitted is subject to release under Washington state public transparency laws.

While the data file is text-based, you’ll need a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft’s Excel, or LibreOffice’s Calc (free), in order to best view this CSV data.

Contained within the data are complaints that were filed with the state by business competitors trying to harm each other – because that’s how you build a better society these days. And, of course, this reporting system is just perfect for people with an ongoing feud with certain business owners – you can now get the state to deal out your revenge!

Additionally there are reports against political opponents and their supporters. As well as far too many informants against churches and religious organizations. Both of those common targets for snitches have pretty horrible historical parallels.

Then, there are various fake reports, such as for closed businesses or empty buildings, but which may require local knowledge to dismiss immediately – and also a number of complaints against Inslee himself and various government agencies and departments. Kudos for some of those reports maybe costing the state apparatus a bit of time to investigate.

Copious amounts of fear, and even hysteria, are on tap with the submitted observations and details of many complaint reports. But what is most upsetting is those clearly malicious and vindictive individuals trying their darndest to get particular local businesses fined. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

If you couldn’t already figure it out, just about every active business in the state that has contact with “the public” has likely been reported at least once – regardless of whether or not they want to strictly follow all the Governor’s arbitrary rules – because “someone is always watching” and it only takes a moment for a slipup to be noted and reported. There is no relaxing allowed, at all. Ever.

 

However, the great majority of complaints were found to be unsubstantiated by whichever state agency was assigned to investigate them. The state just had to spend a lot of taxpayer money and unproductive work hours to figure that out.

Governor Inslee is ultimately responsible for this fiasco. Encouraging and enabling this sort of widespread snitching to the government is breaking our society. We should stop all of it.

 

 

Please do not threaten these people. It could be a criminal offense.

 

Click to Download Compressed ZIP File (13 MB)

 

Do note that this data is inherently unreliable. Some reports, especially earlier ones, appear to be requests for guidance/clarification on the rules, and not necessarily complaints against a business. Perhaps the handling of these was bungled by the state and they were miscategorized. Also some individuals are reporting government agencies or divisions, for their irrational reaction to the pandemic with nonsensical rules and unwarranted service shutdowns, and not private businesses. And some reports also appear to be translated or paraphrased by state employees, changing them in unknown ways.

 

Log in to comment


Bvandersn replied the topic: #76 1 year 7 months ago
So, outing people while using less than a full name. Ironic.

Bruce Anderson
Court's Avatar
Court replied the topic: #77 1 year 7 months ago
Thank you for your opinion, Bruce. But I don't think it's accurate.

I didn't out anyone. If anyone actually was outed, then they did it themselves. I simply published public information. If you have a problem with public transparency for government, then that's another issue.
mmiller replied the topic: #78 1 year 7 months ago
I agree with Bruce. When one publishes a list it's done with a purpose. That purpose is outing. Outing is a threat. Cache it any way you want, it's easy to see what the purpose is.
Court's Avatar
Court replied the topic: #79 1 year 7 months ago
mmiller: hmm, well in a sense, I agree with you. And further, I have a solution to the problem.

These lists are being created, encouraged, and promoted by the governor and his office. It needs to be stopped there, at the source.
mmiller replied the topic: #80 1 year 7 months ago
Stopped? I think they should be encouraged. I'm trying to participate in my community and still feel protected. If an institution or business doesn't give a rat's ass about me and my safety, or about allowing the community to function as close to normal as possible, they need to be hauled before the court of public opinion.
Court's Avatar
Court replied the topic: #81 1 year 7 months ago
mmiller: Oh? Let's see how that might sound from someone on the other side:

"If an [individual] doesn't give a rat's ass about me and my [safety/livelihood/life's work], or about allowing the community to function as close to normal as possible, they need to be hauled before the court of public opinion."

Wow, that seems it is exactly how this particular topic here can be viewed.

So why are you apparently against those listed in the article above being "hauled before the court of public opinion", as you put it? But fine with doing so to those you don't agree with?
mmiller replied the topic: #82 1 year 7 months ago
Not sure I understand your question but I have nothing against anyone being hauled before the court. If one lives in and depends on a community but insists on giving the middle finger to that community, the court will pass judgment on that. For example the court should say that people should not patronize the gas station in town that wants its customers to come inside to pay and at the same time be exposed to a potentially lethal virus.
Court's Avatar
Court replied the topic: #83 1 year 7 months ago
Well, I was referring to what you said last week, where you didn't appear to like the court of public opinion if it didn't favor you.

But yes, customer-driven market forces are what needs to happen here, and as long as the playing field is level, I don't think anyone really has a problem with that.

Unfortunately, small rural communities such as ours will likely not be able to support two otherwise identical shops catering to different types of customers, so it might be that one group or the other finds itself without a local option and has to buy elsewhere.