September 27, 2013 at 7:05 AM
Downtown needs more cameras
I see in local television coverage that the police are seeking public assistance in identifying a criminal by viewing footage from a surveillance camera.
Seems that every week or so we see surveillance-camera footage on the news accompanied by a request for public assistance. Aren’t these the same kind of cameras that the American Civil Liberties Union is so adamantly against?
As downtown Seattle gets more of a reputation as being unsafe after dark, I would be happy to see more cameras, not fewer, when I visit your fair city.
Robert Gardner, Renton
September 23, 2013 at 7:02 PM
Gun-free zones are dangerous
The establishment of gun-free zones on public property has invited demented individuals to transform them into killing grounds in order to massacre their defenseless occupants.
One must conclude that those areas attract hopeful killers for that very reason. The locations of the last three mass shootings, Fort Hood, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and the Navy Yard, are all gun-free zones.
In the case of the military bases, Congress, in its inimitable wisdom, has embedded in federal law the prohibition against the possession of guns or other dangerous weapons on all federal facilities — 18 USC 930.
In so doing, Congress has rendered inhabitants of federal properties bereft of their Constitutional right to defend themselves; this legislative fiat has produced 26 fatalities at Fort Hood and the Navy Yard.
The victims were defenseless and unable to oppose the killers as a direct result of Congress’s ill-considered legislation.
The notion that military personnel, professionally trained in the use of weapons, can be entrusted with those weapons to kill the enemy overseas but not to defend themselves here at home is patently ridiculous. Congress should take immediate action to exempt military bases from 18 USC 930.
Moreover, governments at every level should stop creating gun-free zones and eliminate the ones they now have, lest those who ignore the “gun free” caveat visit their deadly intentions on yet more innocent victims.
Local, state and federal governments must recognize that, in their zeal to protect their citizens, they are accomplishing precisely the opposite.
Richard Porter, Langley
September 22, 2013 at 7:02 AM
Make resources available
Last Saturday’s tragic and senseless stabbing death of Troy Wolff and hospitalization of Kristin Ito cannot be forgotten. [“Guest column: How to make downtown more safe after the death of Troy Wolff,” Opinion, Sept. 19.]
We must work on ways to prevent these random acts of violence.
Community leaders who have resources to effect change need to promote change with posters and information in the parks and on the streets, encouraging people to call 911 and make reports about disturbed and threatening people and incidences.
We need to ask the homeless population to help prevent these violent acts. Having been homeless myself at times, as well as having close friends and relatives with major mental illnesses, I believe the homeless population would work with prevention tools if they were better-informed on reporting procedures.
Washington has civil commitment laws that help determine when people with severe mental illnesses need court-ordered treatment. Outpatient treatment is often possible.
Jane Smith, Tacoma
September 20, 2013 at 7:02 AM
In his guest column on how to make Seattle’s streets safer, Jack McCullough makes good and responsible suggestions. [“How to make downtown more safe after the death of Troy Wolff,” Opinion, Sept. 19.]
As a follow-up, the Downtown Seattle Association, as well as other organizations and individuals who support these steps to safer streets, need to step up and aggressively support the increases in local and state taxes needed to support them.
Loren Arnett, Bothell
In the guest column by Jack McCullough, prompted by the tragic death of Troy Wolff, several suggestions and proposals were made to deal with the problem of safety for those in our downtown Seattle area.
What is evident in all of these is that they attempt to accomplish this worthy goal by placing the responsibility for one’s personal safety on others. What is sadly missing is any mention of personal responsibility.
How different might the outcome in this sad event have been if either Wolff or his female partner had taken the steps to have a permit to carry a gun, and thus provided for their own safety.
Howard Almquist, Shoreline
September 17, 2013 at 7:34 AM
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
September 16, 2013 at 6:58 PM
Violence is unacceptable
I am writing in regard to the Seattle Police Department’s decision to send undercover officers dressed as 49er fans to CenturyLink Field. [“Undercover fans on duty,” page one, Sept. 13.]
If you and I board a city bus, and I decide for my own reasons to approach you aggressively and threaten you with bodily harm, I have committed a crime. This reality does not change because I have purchased a ticket to the Seahawks game, or any other sporting venue.
There is no social contract, and definitely no legal one which excuses this behavior. Yet on a local radio station which broadcasts the Seahawks games, I listened to a caller who identified himself as a season ticket holder. He claimed that his financial investment in the Seahawks gave him the right to make any visiting fan from another team feel physically afraid if they chose to wear their team colors into our stadium.
More disturbing than this idiot’s rationale was the host’s response: “I got no problem with that.”
How much lower are we going to drop the bar? When does the grotesque spectacle of Roman gladiators become a reality we saw coming and decided to ignore?
David Arntuffus, Shoreline
September 15, 2013 at 8:01 AM
There has been much said and written about the environment in downtown Seattle lately. [“Council, stakeholders discuss downtown crime,” NW Thursday, Sept. 5.]
I have been in the area of Pine and Pike at various times making deliveries, and I have seen so many things I consider disturbing and unsafe.
I am not trained to notice, but I have no problem seeing how it must look to visitors and guests in our city. I see people moving to the other side of the street to avoid contact with someone yelling, panhandling or being a perceived threat to their safety.
I have been in the back of my truck and approached by individuals looking for “free samples,” seen others arguing on the sidewalk and close to fighting and other obvious activities that should not be tolerated.
This happens in the early morning, midday and afternoon, and there has been very little police presence to stop these activities. Why do we have to have a major crime to bring this to a stop?
If I were visiting another city as a tourist and saw this, I would not only leave that area, but also tell others what I saw and encourage them to stay away.
Alan Greear, Maple Valley
September 12, 2013 at 7:08 AM
Fine distracted drivers
It amazes me that, with so many people in our state texting and talking on the phone while driving, so few are ticketed for these offenses. [“Study finds drivers in state busy on cellphones, texting” NW Monday, Sept. 9.]
With limited funds for better public health, education, social services, transportation infrastructure, safety, law enforcement and so on, it seems as if the revenue that could be collected could be directed to many good causes as well as teach some cellphone abusers an important lesson.
Why not go after the low hanging fruit (revenue) in our state, and slap some of the perpetrators with fines?
Mary Emmick, Issaquah
September 12, 2013 at 6:22 AM
It’s a problem
The problems in downtown Seattle are not just perception. [“Editorial: Downtown Seattle feels unsafe. Fix it,” Opinion, Sept. 8.]
I’ll focus on one day, Aug. 12. I had clients in town who experienced the shooting of a Metro bus driver, the subsequent police chase and the fatal shooting of the gunman. On our walk to lunch at Pike Place Market, we encountered both vomit and feces on the sidewalk. To cap off the day, an apparently homeless man was passed out at my bus stop.
My job moved from Tacoma to Seattle in 2010. I realize that, to many Seattleites, Tacoma is considered the armpit of Western civilization. Yes, the City of Destiny has had its problems. However, through diligence and a strong police presence, including regular bicycle patrols, downtown Tacoma is now a much safer place to be.
I implore the city of Seattle and your future mayor to clean up the downtown core for the safety of its citizens and denizens.
Jill McEntee, Tacoma
September 10, 2013 at 4:22 PM
Learn from it, and fix it
But first, write about it so that the voters of the city and the state actually see what has been wrought since President Reagan claimed that we would provide better care to those confined in mental institutions if they were moved into our communities.
I am not afraid to walk around or through street people, but I hate that they are there. I want our community to see our obligation to confront the fact of their presence.
I do not want more police officers to move them on to another corner. These people stand, sit and lie down, in evidence of the cruelty that ever greater profits flowing up to the ever fewer do not “lift all boats,” and no longer even “trickle down.”
Janet Winans, Seattle
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