By Steve Pomper | January 27, 2020
People are shocked and outraged after the latest shootings in downtown Seattle. Three shootings within 24 hours in the downtown core occurred recently. Police were still investigating one incident where Seattle police officers and King County sheriff’s deputies shot an armed man, when, at Third Avenue and Pine Street, gang members began shooting at each other.
The gangsters mostly missed each other but shot eight bystanders, including a 9-year-old boy. One of the bystanders shot, a woman, sadly died. On the previous day, a 55-year-old male was found in a stairwell with a gunshot wound not a block away from Third and Pine.
What are people to do with their understandable outrage when Seattle’s city leaders are ideologically opposed to effectively combating the violence? And then there are the city’s voters who, bizarrely, refuse to un-elect these destructive politicians.
Even the left-leaning Seattle Times recognizes and is reporting on the crisis with some refreshing honesty. “But in another sense, Wednesday’s tragedy was sadly less surprising. Third [Avenue] has long been beset by low-level crime and intermittent violence, with repeated attempts to address those problems never yielding permanent changes.”
At the same time city and county leaders are hobbling their cops, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle City Council members and King County Executive Dow Constantine and his council are doing the precise things that guarantee continued violence:
They won’t hold people accountable for their bad acts. They refuse to allow cops to enforce certain laws against certain people. They recategorize felony crimes down to misdemeanors. They refuse to prosecute street criminals who do somehow manage to get arrested. And they don’t vigorously charge and prosecute people who use guns to commit their crimes—especially juveniles.
This most recent outbreak of violence is courtesy of three of Seattle’s career criminal gang members fighting over turf, drugs, or a Big Mac. The third and worst of the three shootings happened near a notorious McDonald’s at Third Avenue and Pine Street. Armed gang members got into an argument, which turned deadly when they pulled out guns and began shooting.
According to The Seattle Times, among those shot was one suspect, two Amazon employees, the 9-year-old boy, and two women described as “formerly homeless,” one of whom died.
As for the shock expressed by city leaders, it’s kind of like a swimmer diving into the water and trying to convince you he was shocked when he got wet. This violence is not a surprise when city policy allows criminals to operate without much fear of consequences. Here’s just a small sample of Seattle’s shooting incident headlines during recent years:
November 9, 2016: “5 people shot in downtown Seattle; search for shooter continues.”
April 20, 2017: “3 Seattle police officers wounded, 1 suspect dead in downtown shooting.”
February 11, 2018: “Downtown Seattle shooting leaves 1 seriously injured.”
June 7, 2018: “Woman shoots other woman in Pioneer Square.”
October 5, 2018: “Man fatally shot in downtown Seattle.”
March 27, 2019: “Seattle shooting: 2 dead, 2 injured; suspect in custody.”
May 28, 2019: “Shootout injures 3, including baby, at South Seattle park.”
September 13, 2019: “Seattle PD releases video of suspect in deadly Westlake Station shooting.”
October 5, 2019: “3 overnight shootings wound 5 people.”
January 21, 2020: “Man shot dead at Westlake Center in downtown Seattle.”
January 22, 2020: “1 dead and 7 injured, including 9-year-old boy, in mass shooting on downtown Seattle sidewalk.”
This kind of violence in Seattle is not new. In fact, more than 20 years ago, an officer I know was working off-duty at that very same McDonalds. He was forced to shoot a suspected drug dealer. The man pulled out a cigarette lighter made in the shape of a chrome pistol.
McDonald’s management eventually remodeled the restaurant to get rid of a second-floor dining area where criminals tended to loiter. So, how has the city rewarded the business for trying to reduce crime in the area?
According to KVI Radio 570 host John Carlson, the city has reduced street parking and, incredibly, created the Pine Street Plaza. The plaza is a pedestrian gathering location complete with tables and chairs in what used to be parking spaces. It’s right outside that McDonald’s.
Now the vermin who used to loiter in McDonald’s former mezzanine, now have a convenient location to conduct their illicit business. Oh, and sometimes turn downtown into a soggy, northwest version of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. But, in this case, only the bad guys had guns.
My family used to have an annual Christmas tradition where we’d go to the Seattle Center, ride the Monorail to Westlake Center, and then take the kids to ride the Holiday Carousel. Later, we’d go to a nearby restaurant to have dinner. Not any more.
We’ve moved our Christmas tradition to the other side of Lake Washington to Bellevue and Kirkland. The last time we had our family Christmas in downtown Seattle was probably five or six years ago. Even though two of us in our group were Seattle police officers, we still felt uncomfortable having to shepherd our wives and kids through the open-air drug dealing and aggressive “homeless” gauntlet.
Also, from The Times article, “Many [downtown residents, business owners, and employees] described a sense of powerlessness in the face of a constant presence of petty criminals who often seem to operate with impunity.”
Carlson nailed it when he said, “Nothing matters if you won’t enforce the law.” All the pie-in-the-sky, woke, social justice nonsense in the world won’t do a thing to reduce violence. You have city and county leaders who eschew equal justice. They reduce felony crimes to misdemeanors, and then impudently claim felony crime is down.
People are so fed up with the lack of enforcement and the refusal to prosecute, they’re no longer reporting crimes. Then those same public officials claim crime stats are down. Well, crime stats go down when victims don’t report crimes.
Mayor Durkan points the blame for these shootings in the wrong direction. Rather than blaming the illegally armed criminal gangbangers for the violence (since they literally caused it) or blaming the prosecutors who refuse to throw the book at those who use guns to commit crimes, she blames guns and has a history of targeting law-abiding gun owners.
Incredibly, she said, “If this had been a fistfight, eight people would not have ended up at the hospital.” Well, if this had been a nerf ball fight, they wouldn’t have gone to the hospital, either. Her comment implies banning and confiscating guns, right? I mean, if no one had guns (impossible in a free country), they’d have to use their fists, right?
Two of the suspects, both 24-years-old, reportedly have 65 arrests between them. Some of the charges were firearms related. In fact, both were charged in a drive-by shooting in Kent in July 2018.
Michael Medved, on his KTTH 770 radio program, said one of the men had been previously charged for a shooting at the same McDonalds. He said the man had been released from Harborview Medical Center and brought to the King County Jail where he was released on a mere $50,000 bail.
To put that amount in perspective, back in 2016, in downtown Seattle, a man climbed an 80-foot sequoia tree and would not obey police orders to climb down. When the 28-year-old man finally came down, police arrested him for criminal mischief. A judge set his bail at… yes, $50,000.
How does a gangster drug dealer packing an illegal gun, involved in a mass casualty shooting with a fatality, get released with such a low bail? Yet leftist city, county, and state officials blame the inanimate gun, not the violent criminal who’s pulling the trigger.
Worse, gun control advocates like Mayor Durkan want to blame and punish legal, law-abiding gun owners like John on Queen Anne Hill, or Elizabeth over in Magnolia, or Hakim up in Lake City for the violence that gangsters with illegally possessed firearms engaged in, in downtown Seattle.
Sorry, Madame Mayor, but John, Elizabeth, and Hakim legally owning guns had nothing to do with those scumbags shooting up your city during a Wednesday evening commute. In fact, had John, Elizabeth, or Hakim been there, armed, things may have turned out differently.
But leftist city officials don’t want to actually solve the violence, do they? If they did, they’d promote severely prosecuting criminals who use guns to commit crimes. And they would support harsh penalties for anyone committing a crime with a gun. The simple truth is they don’t—that’s just a fact.
Still, they continue to push for more gun laws that mostly affect law-abiding gun owners. But, ironically, they refuse to enforce gun laws already on the books. Instead, they let suspects in crimes committed with guns, even where someone died, and with a history of illegally using guns, out on $50K bail. What does that tell you? A hell of a lot more than Mayor Durkan’s words do, that’s for sure.
This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
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