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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 17, 2013 at 7:34 AM

Shoreline professor dies in downtown Seattle stabbing

Enough talk

Troy Wolff and his partner, Kristin Ito, were near the King Street Station when they were attacked and repeatedly stabbed by a man who Seattle police have described as having "diminished mental capacity" on Friday, Sept. 13. Wolff died the next day.

Troy Wolff and his partner, Kristin Ito, were near the King Street Station when they were attacked and repeatedly stabbed by a man who Seattle police have described as having “diminished mental capacity” around 10:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13. Wolff died the next day. [Ellen M. Banner, The Seattle Times.]

Another senseless downtown murder, and Seattleites begin to wonder where it’s going to end. [“1 killed, 1 hurt in random Seattle stabbing,” NW Sunday, Sept. 15.]

A man is killed protecting his date from an apparently addled street person while leaving a soccer game in Pioneer Square, and the police response is to tell people they need to be aware of their surroundings in order to stay safe. That’s the advice a young private gets from his tough top sergeant before going out on a patrol, not the advice the people of Seattle should be getting from their police as they head downtown.

Enough talk. Seattle has a downtown safety problem. The police know it, the city attorney knows it, the mayor knows it, the city council knows it, the downtown business people know it, the people of Seattle know it. But nothing gets done beyond more talk and more studies.

A good start would be to drop enforcement of parking laws and other non-safety statutes, and put all police resources on protecting the folks who pay their salaries. Our leadership then needs to figure out a plan to resolve the downtown issues, determine what it will cost, and sell the program to the voters. We the people then need to drop all this “no new taxes” nonsense, and give our elected officials the funds needed to give us a safe downtown, rather than the watch-your-back downtown we have today.

Jim Secan, Seattle

Fund mental health

The tragic death of Professor Troy Wolff reminded me that more than a decade ago, a nearly identical tragedy happened in almost the same location.

A retired Seattle fire chief was stabbed to death by a mentally ill man after leaving a sporting event in downtown. The fire chief’s family used their grief to press for a mental health court system in Seattle — one of the first in the nation.

This was a wonderful step forward with addressing the mental health crisis in Washington state; however, it does not solve the problem of too few beds for those who are mentally ill.

Unless our state legislators get serious about funding mental health, we will continue to see these tragedies.

Jim Knight, Seattle

Comments | More in Public safety, Seattle | Topics: downtown, pioneer square, police

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