Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Locked down

[Update to this earlier post:  the shooter in both incidents described below was the same person.  A third victim from the neighborhood shooting died later that day.  The shooter put a bullet in his own head when apprehended around 4:30pm and died last night.  He killed a total of five people, with a sixth still in critical condition.  The entire event lasted around 5.5 hours, an eternity.]

My neighborhood is locked down as I write this, as are the neighborhood elementary, middle and high schools, two nearby parks and a ravine that runs several blocks away from my home.  A man shot five people this morning at a neighborhood expresso place.  Two of the victims are dead, and the others are at our trauma one center, called Harborview Medical Center.  The shooter is loose.

About the same time this happened this morning, a carjacker shot a woman in the head near a downtown civic treasure called Town Hall, another place people generally consider safe.  Police are searching for that shooter also.

These events happened the day after the Seattle Police Department described their strategy for handling the violence the city saw over the long holiday weekend.

Guns are clearly not under control in this city.  And there is a question -- though not necessarily on this morning's events -- about whether or not we need to ramp back up the police gangs units.  Right now, police armed with assault weapons are going door to door in my neighborhood. 

One thing is for sure:  the situational awareness tips I provided yesterday may not be enough to keep you safe, at least in Seattle right now.  I'm locked in my house, unable to drive into the university district to keep meetings scheduled with my students this afternoon.  It's not just the inconvenience to them -- they also most likely live in the ten block radius and we want to be sure they are safe, too  -- but it's the notion that none of us is safe that is bothering me.  For my entire life, I have gone where I wanted, on my own, to satisfy my own interests or curiosity, by simply taking reasonable precautions.

What's next?  I struggle for the words, but my friend and former colleague Paul Mullin says it all:
"If you can spare some light, send it to the victims of violence today.

Please. We can do better than this. Please. We have to. Don't lock down on your beliefs. 
Open your heart and help change all this for the better."

1 comment:

  1. Annie,

    This is a very dark day indeed despite the spring sun. Stay put, and keep us posted on how things are unfolding for you in Ravenna. It's hard to know what to say, feel, or think right now.

    Holding you close,