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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Letter of the Week

posted by on July 2 at 12:35 PM

Readers undoubtedly recall the saga first reported by Last Days Hot Tipper Oscar, in which a prophesy-spouting freak brutally attacked a blind woman on a Metro bus, instigating a rescue effort by Oscar and his fellow riders and resulting in criminal charges against the attacker. This week brought a lovely new chapter to the ongoing saga, via a typewritten, snail-mailed letter from one Jeanne Towne:

Dear Stranger,

I was the blind woman assaulted aboard a Metro bus on Sunday morning, May 18. I want to add my thanks to the people who intervened on my behalf and looked after me when it was over. At first, I didn’t even realize someone had deliberately struck me. After three blows I finally wised up enough to duck, but he managed to hit me a few more times anyway.

Although I was dazed and amazed that someone would do such a thing when I was simply minding my own business and noticing how happy folks sounded on their way to do whatever, and although I did have to miss work due to a mild head injury, people were wonderful. It’s one heck of a way to make friends, but WOW! what friends in need! It makes up for the laxness I felt prevailed in 2001—when I’d been stalked for fourteen and a half months with supposedly hardly anyone noticing. (It took a year for me to convince anyone that i had a real problem. Disbelief was the first reaction, I think, because most folks I know are too nice to consider doing such a thing as throwing rocks at a blind woman or putting obstacles such as dumpsters in her path. It took someone actually seeing him doing hard to spur the police on.

The reaction of the other passengers on the bus this May has restored my faith in the decency of Seattleites and in the power of teamwork. God bless them all—especially those who also sustained injuries. All I can offer you is a song if we ever meet in Pike Place Market.

In case you’re interested in an update, the guy from the bus—a man in his thirties named Nguy Hughes—has no record of doing such a thing in the past. However, he was evaluated and considered not stable enough to stand trial. He’s now being held at Western State until September, when he’ll be checked again.

Should he escape or be acquitted by any fluke, I’ve been assured he’s banned for life from riding Metro. He’ll be arrested if he tries. The security cam onboard the bus caught an excellent video of the incident, which has been turned over to SPD for evidence. I’ve received concerned apologies from the King County Sheriff’s Dept. (responsible for Metro security) and from Metro, along with an annual pass.

Thanks again.

And thank you, Ms. Towne.

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Ms. Towne obviously has something about her that draws people to her. Did she send a picture?

Posted by Banna | July 2, 2008 12:47 PM

"minding my own business and noticing how happy folks sounded on their way to do whatever"

So beautiful in a way

Posted by Non | July 2, 2008 1:03 PM

Holy crap, it's Jeanne Towne? The blind woman who sings in the market -- she's been there for thirty years, I'll bet. She's a Seattle institution.

Now I REALLY want to kick this guy in the balls really hard. Fuck.

Posted by Fnarf | July 2, 2008 1:04 PM

...AND the Sheriff's department stepped up apologized? Instead of grumbling about how hard their job is? It's all so... classy. And strange. Very strange and unfamiliar, but definitely classy

Posted by elenchos | July 2, 2008 1:18 PM

Exactly what Fnarf said @3. Good lord, that woman is a fixture in the Market.

It breaks my heart to think of someone deliberately tormenting her. What kind of fucking creep stalks a blind woman?

Posted by kerri harrop | July 2, 2008 1:28 PM


The same kind of creep that stalks anyone, just way more cowardly.

Posted by PdxRitchie | July 2, 2008 2:35 PM

I'm counting my blessings.

Posted by Vince | July 2, 2008 2:46 PM

Google points me to a 1992 letter to the editor from Ms. Towne regarding jerks who try to run her over (my words, not hers). There's also a 1990 article (and followup) about her house burning down.

I had no idea the papers had free archives going back that far; it's nice to see they're not trying to charge for access to old articles.

Posted by Andy | July 2, 2008 3:07 PM

I'd take a couple hits to the face for an annual Metro pass...

Posted by Justin | July 2, 2008 3:20 PM

The stalking is breathtakingly ghastly and shitty. Some crimes, I think half the punishment should be having somebody covertly videotaping you doing it, then having that tape shown to your mother.

(Then comes the kick in the balls. Then off to prison, for death by wambi.)

Hey, no language wieners have posted yet, complaining that she has no way of knowing if the security cam footage was "excellent"? It would be dickish to point that out.


Posted by CP | July 2, 2008 5:37 PM

GodDAMN, what kind of asshole stalks a blind woman?! It sounds like a motherfucking Haneke movie!

Posted by raisedbywolves | July 3, 2008 3:27 AM

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