For about five and a half hours yesterday, our neighborhood was on lockdown, while police searched for an armed shooter who had killed three people at an expresso bar just blocks from where I live.
There are many iterations to the story. The same shooter actually killed a total of four people and then took his own life. Accounts indicate that the event cannot be characterized as gang-related violence, but rather as the mental instability of a single individual, of whom a member of his family said, "We could see this coming."
For those five and a half hours, as I sent out communications to our neighborhood disaster preparedness coordinators, I was in the same position as other members of our community who live in constant fear of a stray bullet or an unintended consequence affecting their life. That two very well off neighborhoods -- Ravenna and West Seattle -- had armed police officers going door to door is a phenomena that others who live in different parts of the city are very familiar with. They have been asking for action to quell the violence for many years.
For most in Ravenna, life is back to normal this morning and life is good. For others in parts of the city where random violence occurs on a daily basis, life is as usual too -- but the reality is much more painful. Perhaps while horrific events are still in our minds, we can figure out a way to reduce the risk of this type of violence -- that includes enforcing current laws on the books, re-examining gun control registration issues, and re-staffing the gang units to prior levels at the Seattle Police Department.
My heart goes out to all the families who have lost loved ones or friends from such senseless violence. Colin Powell says that optimism is a force multiplier. I am optimistic that, without guns and using our best minds, we can make some progress on this issue. It's larger than Seattle, but I would be satisfied to start right here.