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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 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 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 13, 2013 at 4:23 PM
Sent police downtown
What’s up with Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers playing dress-up to attend Seahawks games for free? [“Undercover fans on duty,” page one, Sept. 13.]
I don’t remember there being a problem with fans in losing years. Are they lining up to get a security gig dressing up as opposing fans at the Mariner’s games too?
Weren’t the stadiums supposed to bring in more jobs to the area instead of using up SPD budgets to run? If you need increased security for a paid venue, then use the funds from those high-priced tickets to employ some able-bodied Seattleites to work stadium security.
The SPD can play “secret agent man” downtown, buying drugs on Third and Pike and arresting the drug dealers. I expect that in the time it takes Russell Wilson and his crew to defeat an opponent, the SPD could make a dozen arrests and seriously decrease the crime in the downtown area.
This is what we pay them for, and they can dress up however they want if they just get the job done.
Melissa Hyatt, Seattle
September 10, 2013 at 6:22 AM
Promote safe, legal boating
The article in Sunday’s NW Traveler on chartering in the San Juan Islands is misleading and dangerous. [“Chartering a boat in the San Juans is easier than you think,” NW Traveler, Sept. 8.]
The article indicates that a novice boater can charter and operate a boat. It fails to indicate that the state law requires those who operate motorized watercraft with than 15 horsepower or greater to carry a Washington Boaters Education Card.
As a veteran boater, there is nothing worse in boating than the danger to other boats by novices — this is why the law was established!
The article misleads novices, and makes it seem like anyone can run a boat. This is not the way to promote safe boating.
Thomas Stoebe, Redmond
August 29, 2013 at 6:26 AM
Former New Yorker Stuart Marvin’s pointed observations about Seattle’s grizzly downtown and his recommended solutions are right-on. [“Downtown crime shocks New Yorker,” NW Wednesday, Aug. 28.]
But as someone whose migration pattern is the reverse of his — after 35 years in Western Washington, I moved to metropolitan New York — I know why his solutions won’t happen.
In New York, citizens and taxpayers are protected from rabble-rousers and criminals. In Seattle, it’s the reverse: rabble-rousers, who are often petty criminals, are coddled and protected by city officials.
[City Attorney] Peter Holmes’ unwillingness to act against repeat offenders is an example. Ditto the mere presence of Nickelsville, the illegal homeless camp that’s a stick in Seattle’s eye with only empty City Council rhetoric directed against it.
New Yorkers wouldn’t tolerate either for an instant. I saw two NYPD officers take a paper sack containing a bottle of Jack Daniels from a man and pour it into the gutter, then he was hauled off.
In Seattle, go after scofflaws or impose legal sanctions against unlawful encampments and you incur the wrath of nonprofits and bureaucratic sycophants.
You’re then checked by official timidity, political correctness and the fear of hurting someone’s feelings, none of which matter to a New Yorker.
Scott St. Clair, Clifton, N.J.
August 22, 2013 at 7:21 AM
Take it further
Washington State University’s new alcohol policies are a step in the right direction. [“Editorial: Campus drinking: ‘Cougs looking out for Cougs,’” Opinion, Aug. 19.]
The concept of training students what to do when a friend is sick is a terrific idea, as a majority of alcohol-poisoning deaths occur when friends let an inebriated student “sleep it off.”
Realize, however, that schools nationwide have adopted countless alcohol-prevention programs and initiatives with little long-term success. One program with documented success is Soteer.
In line with WSU President Elson Floyd’s call of “Cougs taking care of Cougs,” Soteer focuses on “students helping students stay safe,” and takes this idea one step further by training students in bystander intervention, who then attend parties to apply their knowledge and change the trajectory of a student’s night before a problem occurs. Soteer trains its monitors in signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse, intervention techniques, rape awareness and general safety.
This approach may compliment WSU’s wonderful and thoughtful new policies.
Paul Millman, CEO of Soteer, LLC, White Plains, N.Y.
August 21, 2013 at 6:43 AM
Violent crime is worse
To the letter writer who was upset about drug crimes, I understand your annoyance. [“Northwest Voices: Crime in Seattle,” Opinion, Aug. 18.]
I get annoyed with drug users at times, too. But to equate a drug transaction with violent crimes, such as murder, rape, assault, domestic violence and armed robbery, is ridiculous.
Let’s get real here. What’s the bigger threat to you — the man beating up his girlfriend, someone assaulting a bus driver, or a recreational drug user looking for a good time?
Violence is always bad. I’m not going to judge nonviolent crimes. I’ll leave that for you to do.
Brian Fehr, Kirkland
August 20, 2013 at 7:32 AM
Superb example for Seattle businesses
In my July 14 op-ed piece in The Seattle Times, “Building a Bicycle Renaissance in Seattle,” I specifically called on Seattle’s business community to support improvements in cycling conditions as evidence of their commitment to environmental sustainability, public health and the economic future of Seattle.
Thus, I was pleased to read on the front page of The Times that Amazon is investing in both protected bike lanes (cycle tracks) and improved bike parking. [“Amazon goal: safer, easier cycling,” page one, Aug. 16.]
Amazon has given a superb example for other Seattle firms, both large and small, to follow. It is now time for the rest of Seattle’s business community to step up to the plate and show they really care about the future of Seattle and the environment.
This is especially true for Seattle’s corporate giants, but even smaller firms can play an important role by providing good bike parking for their employees and customers. Heath-care firms have a special responsibility to promote active travel modes like bicycling, which promote public health while reducing health costs.
I hereby challenge the responsible business community of Seattle to follow Amazon’s example of investing in bicycling for daily travel. Although I live far away from Seattle, in the New York City metro area, I plan on increasing my purchases of Amazon products as a thank-you for their support of bicycling.
John Pucher, professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.
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