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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Don’t Do It, Greg. Keep All-Ages Dances Legal.

Posted by on March 25 at 22:00 PM

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. (And just to be clear: Electronica dances, like the one at CHAC on Friday night, were legal even before the TDO was repealed.)

But really, the fact is, if teen dances were prohibited, there’d be more opportunities for bad things to happen to teens, not fewer. There were nearly 300 kids at CHAC on Friday night. No fights. No trouble. If teens couldn’t go to a club like that, they’d go somewhere else (oh, like a small private house party). The CHAC event was being staffed by 19 security guards. That’s the kind of place parents should want their kids to be on a Friday night.

Without those kinds of events, we’d see more unregulated situations like the party at 21st and Republican.

Saturday morning’s tragedy at a private home just highlights the need for more (not less) public, and regulated events catering to teens—like the all-ages show at CHAC.

CommentsRSS icon

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for saying it, Josh. This is exactly what could happen, and what we need to make sure doesn't happen.

anyone who sees this tragedy as related to dance/music/party culture is out of their minds. something else was afoot here, which had to do with something far freakier in human nature than any of us could ever describe or hope to understand.

Right On, Josh!
If Mayor Nickels (or anyone else in local government) says one thing trying to link young electronic dance culture and this horrible tragedy, I really hope and expect The Stranger to hold their nuts to the fire on it. This was one random, terrible coincidence in an otherwise entirely peaceful community.

Growing up in Phoenix during the 80s, there was no all-ages scene. Any entrepenuer trying to establish one got shouted down by NIMBY activists during the permit process. If we had even half of what goes on for all ages spread out over the course of a year, I would have been in heaven.

Oh, but we did have plenty of house parties where substance abuse and violence happened, sometimes to fatal extremes.

It would be a damn shame if Seattle overreacted and killed off this scene... but overreaction is what government does best. Make your voices heard!

We fought too hard for too long to get rid of a bad law that suppressed young people's access to music and dance. I'm not going to panic until I have to, but let's keep an eye on this.

This bunch of posters sounds like a gaggle of ghouls.

7 dead and getting all freaky and paranoid about future raves - which has been pointed out many times - was not the problem.

What strange head space.

Just to get you all back to planet earth, the city council is more liberal today, and the Mayor is busy, not running for election.

The city will be consumed with grief for weeks, and you all want to march on City Hall with a bogus issue. Jeez.

Not to be the lone dissenter on here, but I feel like you're using the same kind of scare tactics that you believe the lawmakers will use by implying that more incidents like this will happen in all-age shows are outlawed.

That being said, I am curious as to why you seem to believe that youth-oriented events would disappear if all-age parties are banned. Wouldn't a ban just lead to more teen-oriented events at the exclusion of older partyers? And wouldn't that be safer than an all-age party? I admit that I am not and have never been a part of this scene, so please forgive me if my question is stupid. But after reading your post, it was the first thing that popped into my head.

Thanks for saying what I have been thinking all day, Josh. I have been worried about a few (7? 8?) things all day, but this scares me just as much.

The thing that bothers me is that when the Tacoma Mall shooting happened, no one ever said going to malls was something that should be prohibited. Growing up a teenager in the suburbs, I can tell you that more drug use by youth happens in America's malls than anywhere else.

It's a reactionary world out there, and I think at this point all-ages activists should not be totally freaking out, but maybe making sure that we know our talking points VERY well.

All-ages shows are shows that teens can go to. Up until 2002, Seattle had a law known as the Teen Dance Ordinance, or TDO. That law used steep regulations that de facto banned shows that teenagers could attend. This meant that promoters were not interested in putting on teen-only events. Under the TDO there wasn't much for teens to do in Seattle. Under that scenario, teen activity is driven "underground"—which means more iffy house parties.
Mayor Nickels, who actually repealed the TDO, has a history of playing to the crowd after high-profile crimes. He basically rode into office using law-and-order "safe neighborhood" rhetoric thanks to the Mardi Gras murder in Feb. 2001.
He prides himself on making swift and bold "common sense" solutions, and so I can easily see Nickels rolling out a "common sense" solution banning all-ages shows because they "put our youth at risk."

Josh - Your bias toward this son of Seattle, common type guy mayor is showing.

All observers to the teen dance issue know the new ordiance has exceeded all expectations. Worked very well.

Josh - I was there at Mardi was hell, with 300 cops in full riot gear in formation on the sidewalk, watching the riff raff rumble. Death and injury resulted by cop cowards. Mayor Greg was on target to say that will nevr happen again in this city. Your not on track to compare the two.

More interesting is why the cops are not tellings us more inormation about 7 dead.... Go scoop them Josh, who is the shooter? What is with his twin brother?

Hate crime from the nut cases from Montana? 24 hours later, no new information.

THAT is the NEWS - are you not the NEWS editor at the Stranger?

Plenty of time for editorial specualation - get the news - the cops are stonewalling and the MSM is wimping out.

So sad to see this horrible mass murder.

Think though -- just what might have happened if this well armed and bold, plan ahead killer had opened up at the Rave with help from his twin brother?

Even alone at the Rave, using the AK assault rifle whidh is a modern battle field machine gun, and the hand cannon- he could have killed many more people.

Chilling thought.

These Seattle house parties after the dance closes or the bar closes - they are historic. There are hundred of them all over the city every weekend.

Ask the gay men. That is where the hot stuff happens, who want to stop at 2 am?

Also remember our liquor laws end the party by law. In old New Orleans where they can drink to 6 am I doubt they do the late night hang and talk and drink and smoke and cruise for whatever house thing - well is has always been a Seattle feature.

Smart gay men go to the bar late - and save their energy for the house party which is the real late night goodtime event.

Thanks for the clarification Josh. I'm just curious if there is any sort of minimum age for these parties? I just ask because, if I were old enough to have a 13 year old, I probably wouldn't want him or her hanging around with a bunch of twentysomethings on a regular basis. I was just trying to point out that there is a middle ground between banning teenagers from dance events and having all-age parties. Having just read a bit on the TDO, its seems maybe having parties restricted to 20 and under without the bureaucratic nonsense that went along with the TDO would be a middle ground solution.

Solution? Solution to what? There are no problems with all ages dances, raves, concerts, etc. Why do you want to find a solution to something there isn't a problem with?

Well said, Mr. Meinert.
I'm calling the SPD to track calls to all-ages shows since the TDO was repealed. We'll see if spots like CHAC or VERA had any problems.


I appreciate your effort on this and all your efforts in the past on the issue. But right now there is no outcry to change anything rgarding all ages laws. Please don't make an issue of it. If there is an outcry in the upcoming weeks, let it sit for a minute. People need to react and a lot of the reactions to a massive tragedy like this are irrational at first. I really believe that writing about this increases the chance for these shootings to be tied to all ages events. Let it lie for a minute. If politicians start screaming for a change to the AADO, then we will all have work to do. Until then, let's just respect that this is a horrible event, find out what really happended, and grieve as a community. You guys are doing a great job of covering this. No need to bring outside political issues up right now.

The reason, Mr. Meinert, many of us bring it up is because the city will likely bring it up, and we might as well be prepared for it. You should know as well as the rest of us that, when communities like Seattle react irrationally, they often run with those irrational feelings. To sit on your laurels until it's formally brought forth as an issue, once the city's come up with a plan of attack, is irresponsible.

I'm with Gomez on this one. We have to frame the debate before reactionaries do.

Gomez, don't even imagine to call me irresponsible on this topic. Really.

The deal is this. It's Sunday. Nothing is going to happen today. I think we could use a minute to sit back, gather the facts, take a deep breathe, etc.

On the issue of the AADO, please remember the AADO was an issue the Mayor ran on. He was the one who introduced the bill. The council passed it overwhelmingly. The only person left on the council who voted against it is McIver. It's going to be ok.

Let's please not use this tragedy to grandstand on political issues. There is plenty of time to do that elwhere. It's an ugly thing.

Josh - you have let your bias toward the mayor get out of conrol.

The mayor is not going to do anything.

Remeber the stip club zoning is on the ballot. He will loose that one.

He has excellent political skills. This is the best coucil in twenty years as far as I can tell.

I bet Sally Clark is a past Raver. Nice Lesbian music rave things. She is way cool. You need to go get drunk - Josh, find a druken orgy for the night. Dan must have some inside info for you.

Tomorow will be a bit better. This is very hard for us who are vested in our city - and who cherish all life.

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