I thought the piece written by a Los Angeles Times reporter was an interesting twist on what’s been going on in this normally lovely and seemingly safe place called Seattle. I don’t feel safe anymore. I don’t want fear to rule my life, but I think about my loved ones…my family, and how we’d walk around every single part of The Emerald City without a single thought as to not making it home that night.
SEATTLE — In a city known for its post-hippie vibe — street fairs, vegan cafes and politics so earnestly committed to consensus that almost nothing gets done — Seattle’s violent spring has been a rough awakening.
This glacier-rimmed city that sees itself as an emerald refuge at the corner of a troubled country has been caught in a wave of often random gun violence that has claimed 21 lives since the beginning of the year—as many as in all of 2011.
“Seattleites, we are losing it,” Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat wrote Thursday, a day after the cafe shootings. He told of an email from Bush School — one of several schools that went into lockdown after Wednesday’s attacks — reassuring parents that the man seen in a black running suit with a gun wasn’t an attacker, just a jogger who wanted to be able to defend himself.
“This is what it has come to: Jogging with your gun,” Westneat wrote. “But can you blame him? … We are a city on edge. A city now in full-fledged crisis. The mayor, the police and the feds need to quit bickering, sit down like adults — now — and hash out what, if anything, they can do. Because the people at this point are literally being caught in the crossfire.”
The Cafe Racer, a popular neighborhood espresso bar frequented by musicians, artists and locals near the university district, is hardly a gang hangout. Neighbors said they go in frequently for homemade soup, veggie hot dogs and free music on Thursdays.
“It’s just a really laid-back, low-key place. People bring their DVDs and put them on the player and watch movies, there’s a little lounge area upstairs. It’s not fancy by any means,” said Martha Taylor, who frequently stops in with her husband.
The barista, Pugel said, appeared to have “politely” declined to serve the gunman — whom police have not officially identified as Stawicki — at which point he looked around. As one of the patrons stood up to leave, the gunman pulled out one of his two .45 caliber semiautomatic handguns and opened fire.
A bystander Pugel described as “a hero” picked up a bar stool and threw it at the assailant. As the gunman turned and pointed his gun at him, the bystander threw a second bar stool, providing enough of a diversion to allow two or three people to escape through the front door.
The gunfire killed four, including two members of a local folk punk band, Joe “Vito” Albanese, 52, and Drew Keriakedes, 45. A cook at the cafe, Leonard Meuse, was critically injured but was expected to survive.
The violence continued half an hour later, police said, when the gunman fatally shot Gloria Leonidas, a mother of two from Bellevue, Wash., at a downtown parking lot. Then he took her Mercedes sport utility vehicle and drove to West Seattle.
No more. No more false sense of security. I don’t necessarily feel safe with the Seattle Police Department cruising around on bikes, horses and squad cars. My feeling is that sometimes they are no better than the criminals who are ready to pop. You can read about the SPD and their issues with excessive brutality here.
Everyone is on fucking edge. This is NOT the gorgeous and cultured city I grew to love and taught my sons to love; now it’s just one more gotdamn reason to stay home. And I hate that feeling. Because sometimes we’re not safe at home either.
Let’s not forget about the serial killer across Puget Sound, on the Peninsula, who’s still roaming around and killing people in broad daylight while bringing in their groceries.
I’m afraid SEATTLEITES. I’m afraid I can’t help it.