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Friday, June 6, 2014

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray Reflects on a Week of Gun Violence and the Need for Political Action

Posted by on Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Mayor Ed Murray at a city hall press conference this afternoon.
  • Seattle Channel
  • Mayor Ed Murray at a city hall press conference this afternoon.

"Gun violence is happening everywhere, and it impacts everyone," Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said at a press conference at city hall this afternoon. He was flanked by Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess and Seattle Police Department leadership, and backed by a large number of community members impacted by a week that began with a double homicide in the Central District and ended with a mass shooting at Seattle Pacific University. The violence, he said, was not unique to Seattle, but part of a national "epidemic" that he called "senseless."

Yesterday, Murray said, he found himself heading from the scene of the SPU shooting to a vigil for Dwone Anderson-Young, 23, and Ahmed Said, 27, the two young gay men who were shot on Sunday after a night out on Capitol Hill. The motive in their killings is still unclear, and investigators are still pursuing leads and looking for one suspect, Ali Muhammed Brown. But Mayor Murray described being at their vigil and hearing something heartening. "Dwone’s mother talked about how proud she was of her son, who was a University of Washington graduate, who was interested in computers. She also talked about how proud she was of him being gay.” After that, Murray said, Dwone's mother hugged the mother of Ahmed Said.

"Two vigils at the same time," Council President Burgess added, "are two vigils too many." He said he's never before had to choose between two vigils for shootings deaths in Seattle on the same night.

The fact that Burgess and Murray decided to leave SPU, where the media glare was brightest on Thursday, and go to the vigil in the Central District—which, on a busy news day, ended up getting little media attention—was a clear message. So was Murray's decision to convene a special meeting of the city council in the coming weeks to address gun violence, and his endorsement of Initiative 594 as necessary—and yet not nearly sufficient to the challenge.

"I think we’re reaching a point in this nation where we must find a solution," Murray said. "We have no choice... So far we have made almost no steps in this state toward responsible gun ownership." The initiative, which would close loopholes in the state's background check laws, is in Murray's view just "a small step toward a more rational conversation."

He continued: “If we don’t start to change the laws in this state, and in this country, about who owns a gun, and how many guns are out there illegally, then the sort of tragedy we’ve seen this week, with three deaths, will not change."

Murray said the student who died in the shooting at Seattle Pacific University was Paul Lee, "a Korean-American with a bright future ahead of him." Three other students were wounded, one very seriously.

Speaking of all three of the week's gun-violence deaths—Lee, Anderson-Young, and Said—Murray said: "We stand here, and they are dead. We also stand here because there are stories about how things could have been worse."

He and police detectives then added a few details to what happened at SPU yesterday.

They said the alleged shooter, Aaron Ybarra, was carrying a shotgun that he had legally obtained several years earlier. (Police officials were asked whether Ybarra's reported involuntarily commitments might have meant that, under state law, he'd lost his right to have the weapon. They didn't have an answer.) The mayor also praised the heroism of the SPU student who reportedly pepper-sprayed Ybarra as he was allegedly reloading his shotgun, and said there were other heroes involved in the SPU response, too. Police still don't know how many shots were fired.

As for Ybarra's motive, "We're not sure what that is yet," said Seattle Police Captain Chris Fowler, declining to confirm reports that Ybarra was obsessed with Columbine and reminding reporters that investigations like this usually take many twists and turns.

There will be more updates in the coming days, officials promised, but for now Mayor Murray remarked on how steps to prevent gun violence can be as simple as modifying "our built environment" (after Sunday's shootings in the Central District, city workers quickly trimmed trees that were blocking city streetlights in the area) and as complicated as changing the culture. He also quoted Aeschylus:

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.

 

Comments (19) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
Eli Sanders: "The fact that Burgess and Murray decided to leave SPU, where the media glare was brightest on Thursday, and go to the vigil in the Central District—which, on a busy news day, ended up being attended by no media—was a clear message. So was Murray's decision to convene a special meeting of the city council in the coming weeks to address gun violence, and his endorsement of Initiative 594 as necessary—and yet not nearly sufficient to the challenge. "

https://twitter.com/Ansel/status/4747513…

@Ansel

"So glad to see @Mayor_Ed_Murray attend vigil for victims of Sunday's murders in CD, drawing cameras with him, at this moment. Leadership."

Huh?
Posted by Jeff on June 6, 2014 at 4:14 PM · Report this
Eli Sanders 2
@1: Correcting. Thanks.
Posted by Eli Sanders http://elisanders.net/ on June 6, 2014 at 4:29 PM · Report this
Nick CapHill 3
I am glad the Mayor is focusing in on gun control. Because the only way they are going to take my drugged up mental illness from me is to pry it from my cold dead hands.
Posted by Nick CapHill http://thestranger.com on June 6, 2014 at 5:14 PM · Report this
4
Ed Murray had 18 years in Olympia to lead on gun control. He failed.

Ed Murray had 18 years in Olympia to lead on mental health. He failed.
Posted by junipero on June 6, 2014 at 5:25 PM · Report this
5
How about pursuing the core issue here: Mental Illness!
There is rarely ever any talk of this when these tragedies occur. Once again, guns become the focal point; a distraction from the real issue.....
Posted by HR on June 6, 2014 at 6:16 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 6
@4

I though Seattle wanted a professional politician? They certainly voted for one, and got one.
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on June 6, 2014 at 6:25 PM · Report this
7
Guns totally jump into people's hands and force them to do terrible things.
Posted by treehugger on June 6, 2014 at 6:33 PM · Report this
8
A WEEK? Doesn't anyone pay attention to the South End? Not even The Stranger? http://rainiervalleypost.com/nine-shooti…
Posted by rmisaac on June 6, 2014 at 7:59 PM · Report this
9
Always another sophomoric, absurd gun nut to chime in. I'm sorry, did i wake up one fucking morning and forget about my motherfucking right to walk down the motherfucking street and not have to dodge some half assed shit head stoned on his FOCKEDnews shit sandwich of deceit and NRA cowardice and his bullets? Did the rest of the nation somehow give up our rights to live in peace? FUCK YOU GUN TOTING PUSSIES. fuck your unnecessary gun WRONGS. you fucking assholes are in the extremeFUCKING MINORITY and you DO NOT GET TO TRAMPLE ON OUR RIGHTS TO LIFE LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS OF EVERY MAN , WOMAN AND CHILD IN THE UNITED STATES. I, NAY WE THE FUCKING PEOPLE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS BULLSHIT. Grow the fuck up or take your guns to Iran, this is fucking america and it's obvious you can't handle living here as a free and responsible person. FUCK you.
Posted by fuck yeah on June 6, 2014 at 10:26 PM · Report this
10
Wow, look at that Rainbow Coalition backing him up. It's like a cosplay convention.
Posted by one guy on June 7, 2014 at 4:31 AM · Report this
11
Thanks very much for this, Mr. Sanders
Posted by ooppoddoo on June 7, 2014 at 8:59 AM · Report this
12
Mass shootings are a rarity compared to "regular" shootings. While addressing the problems which lead to mass shootings is laudable, reducing mass shooting will do very little to reduce the overall rate of gun violence and deaths. Mass shootings are a red herring, brought to you by the media and the NRA.

There are things, simple things, we could do to reduce the gun violence in America, and there are some very difficult choices we need to make as a society if we REALLY want to reduce gun violence. Like global warming, we don't have the political will, so we just have to learn to accept gun deaths as a part of our American lifestyle, part of the price of "freedom".
Posted by kbatku on June 7, 2014 at 9:16 AM · Report this
13
@12

Uh, mass shootings are indeed a rarity compared to regular shootings, but I'm of the opinion that they are a red herring brought to you by the gun control zealots and the media, not the other way around.

Gun crime is down 50% in the United States since it's peak in 1993 and continues to trend downward at an impressive rate.

This is indisputable fact. Look it up at FBI.gov Uniform Crime Reporting.
Posted by CPN on June 7, 2014 at 9:24 AM · Report this
14
@12 A link to the FBI homepage - really? How about a link to the actual stats, from the CDC as well, while you're at it. If you're going to make an argument based on statistics, at least link to the stats you "quote".
Posted by kbatku on June 7, 2014 at 9:47 AM · Report this
15
@9

That whole fucking Constitution sure is a fucking inconvenience for fucking people like you, isnt it.

fuck you.
Posted by on the other hand, fuck off on June 7, 2014 at 9:50 AM · Report this
16
@13 - try this. http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?iid=4616&ty…

But, as you well know, 1993 was a peak for crime and violence in general, and guns were a big part of this. To say "crime is down" is not the same thing as saying "There is an acceptable level of gun violence in America". Gun crime IS down from its record high levels, but that is doesn't mean that society is OK with this ongoing level of violence.
Posted by kbatku on June 7, 2014 at 10:07 AM · Report this
17
@9 Yeah you, THE CONTROL FREAK NUTBAG. You call the overwhelming majority of responsible people who carry PUSSIES? Because they have the common sense to know that most likely the police aren't going to be around when they are attacked? You would rather have them taken away, then carry one yourself. Gawhawd, you're dumb...Once upon a time, they used think it was okay to give the mentally ill lobotomies for being mildly defiant or emotional. They already have to report patients who make violent threats or admit violent or pedophilic crimes and understandably so. But what's next? Automatically reporting anyone with a diagnoses of anxiety, depression, ADHD, Autism, PTSD (victims of violence) that shows up on any background check for anything???? Historically, we all know what governments do with what they consider to be mentally ill, so fuck off. We've all made comments at one point or another in our lives that convey a mild disgust with society or lost their temper on some level. Keep going this route, we aren't even going to be allowed to do that anymore or people like you will report them. You control freaks scare me more than these nutcases ever did...
Posted by ruby rant on June 7, 2014 at 10:11 AM · Report this
18
excuse me...Diagnosis, not diagnoses...lol
Posted by ruby rant on June 7, 2014 at 10:15 AM · Report this
19
@17

Keep going this route, we aren't even going to be allowed to do that anymore or people like you will report them.


Imagine, that terrible world when everyone's been shown to have moments when they shouldn't be trusted with a gun, and so everyone loses their right to own a guns and then very few people have guns and then you don't have to worry about needing a gun to defend yourself from other gun owners.

Imagine!
Posted by madcap on June 7, 2014 at 12:27 PM · Report this

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