Today’s Seattle Times column by veteran scribe Danny Westneat that discusses the murder of International District icon Donnie Chin last week, and the rise in shootings around the city, relays what seems to be a community frustration about the rise of violence this year in the Queen City.
UPDATE: While Westneat’s piece reflects the high community regard for Chin, there has been one glaring omission in biographical information about the slain community activist. Chin, it turns out, was a longtime member of the Washington Arms Collectors, the organization that holds monthly gun shows at the Puyallup and Monroe fairgrounds. Examiner confirmed with the WAC office in Renton that Chin had been a member since at least 1995 and he often had tables at the show.
WAC staff told this column that Chin shared a display table with another member, and he was always very pleasant at the gun shows. On Friday, the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility used Chin’s slaying in an e-mail effort to push its gun control agenda.
Still, as at least one reader noted in the newspaper’s comments section, for a city of its size, Seattle has a remarkably low number of homicides. Other cities of similar size have already racked up triple-digit body counts – Milwaukee and Baltimore come to mind – but Seattle is trailing far behind.
Perhaps one clue to this violence is found in the Seattle Police Blotter report from last week, hours after Chin was hit by what may have been random or misdirected gunfire. According to the Blotter entry, gang unit detectives stopped a stolen Crown Victoria near Martin Luther King Jr Way and South Dearborn Street. At the wheel was a 17-year-old convicted felon, In the glove box was a handgun, and a second handgun was stashed under a seat.
Cops interviewed three passengers and released them. The teen driver was taken into custody and the vehicle was impounded, according to the report. Police haven’t yet determined where the handguns came from.
Nearly three years ago, the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms threw its weight behind an effort pushed by King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg to crack down on armed teen thugs. Unlike Initiative 594, which Satterberg promoted and CCRKBA opposed, the teens-and-guns measure actually targeted bad guys, not good guys.
Another Seattle Police Blotter entry from several days ago talks about the use of a single vintage 9mm German Luger – the sidearm of the Kaiser’s army in WWI and it was still on the battlefield during WWII – in at least ten separate shootings over the past two years. There are images of two men opening fire at a park, and those guys are still on the loose, as is the pistol.
Anyone who thinks a background check was remotely involved in either of these cases – the bad guy in the stolen car or the other bad guys with the Luger – is at best delusional, Second Amendment activists would observe. Likewise, anyone who thinks passage of I-594 is going to prevent, or even make it more difficult for inner city thugs from getting their hands on guns is also living a fantasy.
The Legislature failed to pass the CCRKBA-backed Satterberg measure in 2012, even after CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb traveled to Olympia to testify in support during public hearings. A law that would have directly cracked down on armed teens is rejected, while an 18-page gun control measure that expands the state’s pistol registry while adding cost and inconvenience to law-abiding citizens is passed by voters, and Seattleites lament more gunfire in the city and the slaying of a good man, and wonder why this is happening.
In Chicago, where ten people have been shot since yesterday morning and two died, plus Milwaukee, Baltimore, New Orleans and other cities with a homicide and gunfire problem, people also wonder what can be done. Almost invariably, there are calls for more gun control, but a seeming reluctance to tackle the culture that feeds on violence, and to fix a criminal justice system that allows people to become repeat offenders.
The fix might involve something rather simple, but politically incorrect. Deal with criminals harshly, while leaving the law-abiding alone. That is, hammer down on people who break the law, and stay out of the affairs of people who don’t. Stop trying to micro-manage honest citizens who own guns, and slam down on people who misuse them.
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