Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz both acknowledged in a midday Monday presser that the Jet City is in the midst of a wave of violence, and that the city needs more police officers.
As reported by KOMO News, the local ABC affiliate, the police department says shootings are up 40 percent this year and drive-by shootings are up 100 percent.
This news comes six years after the city council hastily adopted a special gun and ammunition tax from which revenues would ostensibly be used to combat so-called “gun violence.” The state has adopted two direct gun control initiatives for which campaigns were financed by the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a billionaire-backed gun prohibition lobbying group.
Early Sunday shootings in Belltown, Pioneer Square, and the Chinatown-International District left 3 dead and 4 injured. As Chief Diaz recorded this update, officers were responding to an additional shooting at Cal Anderson with multiple victims. More information to come on all. pic.twitter.com/2j0uS3aSy4take our poll - story continues below
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) July 25, 2021
The tax revenue from that effort has never come close to predictions of between $300,000 and $500,000 annually, and since the tax went into effect in 2016, the number of murders in Seattle has gone up. Last year, there were 52 murders in the city, and following a deadly weekend in which four people were killed, the body count so far this year is at 28, according to the Twitter site Seattle Homicide.
Durkan asserted that part of the problem is alleged easy access to firearms, but this rhetoric is taking some push back from people who contend the problem is not guns “on the street” but criminals on the street.
In a report on shootings in King County—which encompasses the city—by the Prosecutor’s office, there was much attention paid to the victims of shooting and killings, but no mention about the perpetrators.
“Of the 196 shooting victims in Q1-Q2 2021,” the report says, “85% were male (167); 36% were between the ages of 18-24 (70); and 80% were people of color (156). Similar to previous years, nearly half of shooting victims, both fatal and nonfatal, were Black or African American (96).”
Not a single word about the shooters, however. Conservative Firing Line inquired twice with the Prosecutor’s Office about information regarding suspects in these cases. So far there has been no reply.
KOMO noted that some candidates for mayor, running to replace Durkan, who is not seeking re-election, have weighed in on the upsurge in violence.
Bruce Harrell, a former council member, said, “What we do know is that the lack of resources is not helping the problem – we do know that. We want seven-minute response times, we want good investigations done after the fact (and) we want good technology and to do ballistic investigations as best we can.”
Colleen EchoHawk also weighed in, stating, “The key thing is, we can’t sit back. We cannot sit back and allow this kind of violence to continue to happen.”
But that amounts to little more than campaign rhetoric while in the background, the city would like the Legislature to do away with state preemption and allow Seattle to make up its own gun control laws. The preemption law was adopted in 1983 and strengthened in 1985.
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