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Monday, March 27, 2006


Posted by on March 27 at 8:20 AM

From this morning’s Seattle Times’ lead editorial:

teen dance rules in our city must be thoroughly reviewed to see if they go far enough to protect young people. One of the six victims was apparently a 15-year-old Bellevue girl. What precautions or rules could have helped her?

On Saturday night, I posted here on Slog that, “Once the editorials start piling up (‘all-ages dances lead to shootings, outlaw all-ages dances!’), Mayor Nickels is going to seize the law-and-order moment and send an ordinance to council cracking down on teen dance culture…Don’t take the bait, Greg. The fact is, if teen dances were prohibited, there’d be more opportunities for bad things to happen to teens, not fewer.”

Some readers commented that it was ill-advised for me to even broach the subject. But I think it’s important to get out in front of the reacationary backlash that looks to be brewing at the Seattle Times.

Thankfully, smart city leaders like Council President Nick Licata, are already trying to head off a short-sighted political reaction. In this morning’s PI, he’s quoted at length.

“I want the Police Department and the chief to clarify what apparently is not a connection,” he said. “This was a private party. You can call it a rave or whatever, but in the old days, it would have just been considered a house party.” Licata noted there did not appear to be any history of trouble with the venue or the promoter.

“The actual rave was at a legitimate place that has been operating for a long time, that had a particular kind of music,” Licata said. “When a tragic situation like this happens, we all begin searching for answers and try to connect the dots,” he said. “I don’t see any evidence that connects the dots to an individual who apparently, for lack of a better word, just snapped.”

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I've said this before, but I have to say it again ...

The only way in which raving is relevant to this nightmare is that ravers are known for their hyper-inclusivity. Hell, when I was a raver, I'd meet someone nice at a party and think nothing of spending the the rest of the weekend with them. It's a community known for being accepting and loving and extremely friendly. Many of us these days are taught not to talk to strangers — ravers spit on that concept. Talking to strangers is the whole point! It may be the the only mistake these ravers made was inviting the wrong party-goer to their home.

I think many aging ravers remember the moment when they realized it wasn't actually smart to be nice to everyone ... you learn to avoid certain sketchies, and it's a bitter pill to swallow. So much of the rave community is built around being accepting and tolerant. It's a hard step to take when you have to say "I'm accepting and tolerant — but not of the tweakers who've been up for three days." (Not that speed had anything to do with this tragedy -- that's just an example.) It breaks my heart to think that these slain kids learned that lesson the hardest possible way. The only crime these ravers committed, as far as I can tell, was being too open and kind to someone who ultimately didn't deserve it. It's tragic on so many levels.

When a young man went into the Tacoma Mall and started shooting, was there a backlash against shopping centers everywhere? No ... because it became apparent that the incident had more to do with the young man wanting to hurt/kill as many people as possible and was no reflection on the victims.

I think what scares people the most about this shooting on Capitol Hill is the message that is slowly emerging in between the lines: this could have happened anywhere. Kyle Huff had the weapons in his car; he was planning to shoot people up somewhere and I'm not so sure that the location was all that important. It's just now beginning to dawn on some people that Kyle's original target may have been the club where the rave was held, and that he may have been deterred either by the proximity of the club to a police station or the security checking people as they came inside.

Instead of trying to blame raves or drugs for any of this, let's ask the real question: why is our culture such that young men feel more comfortable shooting guns rather than dealing with their feelings? Why are we failing so many young men?

We always try to kill what we know nothing about. They fear us because we allow anyone, we charge only the cost to break even, and we are open minded.

Surely we must all be on drugs. I'm completely straight-edge... one of the victims was a vegan who didn't even eat meat.

I'm glad that someone in a position to properly get the word out is getting the word out. There are a lot of scared and angry teens and young adults as a result of this... the last thing they need is a lecture.

Have you hugged your children lately?

Monday morning, and a tragedy has already turned into a heated political debate.

It is sad to me that people cannot just let a tragedy be what it is. Some dude freaks out. He is suicidal. He goes to where a group of people are and shoots them. This scenario has played out at schools, churches, Denny's, nightclubs, and private parties. It has nothing to do with the victims or the music they listen to. Everyone should stop trying to figure out who to blame. We know who to blame and he is dead. And everyone should stop trying to use it to push a political ageda. As far we know the shooting would not have been stopped with more gun control laws. We have seen this same thing play out in countries with very strong gun laws. It has nothing to do with the teen dance laws in the city. It might have something to do with people needing to watch out for each other more. Definitely something we as a society need to think about.

By the way, I think we need to change our gun control laws. And I think we need to keep the AADO as is. But I also think people, and especially the press, need to not use tragedies to push political agendas. We saw Bush do it with 911 and look where we are now.

I know you all will still argue about gun control, call each other names, and change nothing. I know people will discuss 'raves'. But wouldnt't be great if people didn't use this tragedy for their own agendas?

We live in a political world. You can't just wish that away. I knew the Seattle Times would go there, and they did. We have to engage in the debate if we want to prevent this tragedy from morphing into reactionary policy that upends this city's great music scene. The only agenda I'm pushing is the status quo, which people like you fought awful hard to help establish (by pushing your smart politics). I don't want things to slip backwards.

Nick Licata is living up to his image. Nice work, and very well said.

The only political response, that I remember in the aftermath of Columbine, was a crackdown on movie theaters. For maybe a month afterwards, I was carded everytime I went to see an R-rated movie. Utterly stupid.

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