Well, Seattle is changing. If you haven't noticed the signs before, recent events at Folklife should have given all but the densest a startlingly clear heads up.
There was a random shooting at Folklife, the first serious violence in 37 years at the festival supposedly celebrating folk music and folk morays.
Some 22-year-old Everett kid, whose family claims has mental problems, and who police say has a long, petty criminal record, shot three people with one bullet 10 days ago.
Seems he was fighting, and according to witnesses, getting the worst of it, so he did what all wannabe gangsters do, he pulled his gat from his ankle holster and before you could say, "gun control," three people were heading for a hospital.
As I write these words, the shooter is looking at three counts of assault and is being held on $350,000 bail. His family wants him out, says he is not a "flight risk," according to local media. Of course that's what families always say. Ted Bundy's mom, who lived in Tacoma, spent years castigating local media for persecuting her "innocent" son. And toward the end, not long before his 1989 execution in Florida for a dozen of his 60-plus rapes and murders, after Ted finally confessed and tried to trade hidden bodies for his worthless life, she said to reporters, "I guess you're happy now."
Families always remember the perps as cute little kids. And in a country where guns are easier to get than a driver's license, what's a little shooting where nobody dies?
The Folklife shooter should get a prison sentence in double digits (although he won't) for endangering innocent lives for no good reason.
And Folklife should start charging people who wish to attend. Bumbershoot was becoming the scene of multiple rumbles at the end of every weekend night when authorities wised up and started charging heavy bucks to get in, and the troubles receded. The Bite of Seattle and now Folklife, which are free, are becoming crime sites. Don't believe me? Google and read the papers covering the fights and beatings after the last two Bites. And now a shooting which only by the grace of a God not Ted Bundy's, resulted in no deaths at the hippie festival.
Folklife started when Seattle was a different town and hippies were part of the fabric, not a joke, not someone to make fun of. The crowds at Folklife are more mindless, but then why would that be a surprise?
What would possess a kid to feel he needed to come strapped to Folklife? Was he afraid there might be a bunch of rampaging dulcimer players?
"Gotta pack, momma, those drummers are some bad muthas, know what I'm sayin'?"
The Folklife incident won't change the hearts of guns-for-everybody advocates either. Nothing ever does.
Not long after Columbine, the recently deceased Chuck Heston showed up in the area of the site of one of the nation's worst mass murders, before last year's carnage by a madman with a gun at Virginia Tech, and praised the gun culture that killed 15 innocent kids and two crazed mass murderers at a local Denver area high school.
We have a serious problem in this culture with firearms. Not home protection weapons. Not hunting weapons. Guns carried by kids and crazies for one purpose, hurting other humans. If they do nothing else, at least the organizers of Folklife, Bumbershoot and the Bite of Seattle ought to invest in the same kind of metal detectors in place at the King County Courthouse. Spend a little of their profits to provide for the safety of the innocent, non gun-toting patrons of Seattle's festivals at the Center.
It is the very least that should be done and people who obey the laws ought to insist on it and boycott the festivals if protection isn't provided.
Dulcimers don't wound anything but aesthetic sensibilities at Folklife, but guns are another matter, as proven 10 days ago. If we won't disarm, we should at least protect those who aren't packing in public.[[In-content Ad]]