West Seattle, Washington
What’s going on here this week? First the stabbing, now a shooting reported outside an Arbor Heights home. Very short articles this morning from the P-I and Times. Is it the turbulent weather (which at this moment features howling wind following a night of pounding rain, and forecasts threaten worse on the way)?
Tonight we drove through White Center’s main commercial district for the first time since last weekend’s shooting, right past the roadside memorial south of Roxbury, marveling at how it brimmed with flowers, glowed with candles. Business and school marquees around the area bear words of tribute for the fallen hero. It’s hard to believe it all happened just a couple miles from where we live. A P-I writer brings it closer to home in this column, tying into the story of Cafe Rozella on the border between West Seattle and White Center, a cool coffeehouse we ventured into for the first time just a few days before Deputy Cox’s violent, tragic end.
Turns out the deputy shot and killed in White Center this morning was also a longtime community activist who had worked hard, even off the job, to improve the area. He is identified as Steve Cox, president of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council (according to the latest Seattle Times update), and a former prosecutor. According to the county site, last year he won a Community Builder Award.
Some consider White Center an extension of West Seattle (and someday it officially might be), so we’re letting you know about a tragedy there early this morning: A veteran King County sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed in WC overnight. Here’s some details from the P-I site; that story doesn’t mention the address but elsewhere it was reported as the 10000th block of 12th SW.
Figured my anti-tagging rant last weekend would attract at least one person offering apologism for the criminals who do this, and it did (though it’s relatively mild apologism). Even as the hard-working folks who have put time and money into improving The Junction over the years found themselves forced to spend more of both this week cleaning up after vandals, somebody dared to suggest it’s no big deal. Not only is it a big deal, it’s a huge deal, and I would challenge our city leaders to get something really big going against it, like this (as opposed to this tame page). Graffiti vandalism, particularly the “tagging” variety, is no more artistic than throwing a brick through a window. If you want to use spray paint to commit something akin to peeing your initials in the snow, do it on your own house, your own car, someplace where it’s nobody’s concern BUT your own.
P.S. One of the West Seattle Herald’s sister newspapers has an interesting story about some graffiti vandalism in the north end (although the editor should have cut out the irrelevant reference to the vandals’ speculated ethnic origins).
A small number of our fellow human beings do horrible things sometimes. Though there are far “worse” crimes, the offense that for some reason infuriatesÃ‚Â us more than almost anything is graffiti vandalism, aka “tagging.” This morning,Ã‚Â our blood pressure is somewhere in the stratosphere because of whatÃ‚Â we just saw in the Junction.
First, there’s the tagging on the Hi-Yu parade mural on the side of the post office. An e-mail tipster toldÃ‚Â us about this a couple weeks ago, andÃ‚Â we didn’t get around to checking it out immediately. Looking at it this morning, with the Saturday sun blazing against the beautiful mural and the hideous black scrawl across its lower left quadrant,Ã‚Â we fumed.
Moments later, heading back down California, we saw an even fresher example of this type of brazen, pointless vandalism — tagging on several business signs on the west side of Cali Ave, including WaMu, Radio Shack, and Be’s Restaurant.
We’ve tried to figure out why tagging pissesÃ‚Â us off worse than some of the more newsworthy crimes that involve blood, pain, and prison time. Perhaps it’s partly because the evidence is so public and flagrant — it takes time and money to arrange to have tagging/graffiti vandalism painted over, and until/unless you get that time and money, the crime scene just sits there, smirking at you. (Outside WS, a particularly galling recent example is a huge tag that appeared this week across the side of a classic brick building that’s highly visible to thousands of drivers daily as they drive northbound on the viaduct, into the Battery Street Tunnel. That type of vandalism can’t just be painted over, without ruining the beautiful old brick. Don’t even know if sandblasting will get rid of it.)
Anyway, the fact is, this morning the Junction is uglier, because of some idiot criminal(s) who decided to sneak onto business roofs, no doubt in the middle of the night, and deface signs. It feels like they’re spitting in the faces of the business owners and all those of us who live here and will have to look at it for who knows how long. (We volunteered for graffiti paintout patrols long ago and far away; do they still exist?)
Far from the first time, andÃ‚Â we suppose it won’t be the last time. Is security too lax? Are the laws too loose? How do we stop this? We’ll be thinking hard about it.Ã‚Â We hope you will too.
The Seattle Times says one of the five women who survived getting shot at the Jewish Federation downtown on Friday night is from West Seattle. According to the Times, Cheryl Stumbo is in serious condition.
On a related note, a few anomalies we noticed at the Seafair Torchlight Parade tonight might have been related to the shootings: Mayor Nickels, Police Chief Kerlikowske, and County Executive Sims did not appear in the parade. They’re part of it every year, but not this time. (Security concerns? Was there an evening briefing or other event related to the shootings? Or just coincidence?) Also, the Lake City Western Vigilantes (the guys with the bouncing truck) did a do-si-do for their street routine instead of the usual faux gunbattle.
Trying to find out more about a report I heard on radio news while we drove home tonight after spending the day out of town. Something about a shooting early this morning in the Junction. As of right now, not a shred posted on any local-news site I can find, even the one for the station where I heard the blurb (I suppose their Web producers all have the holiday weekend off) … but the Seattle 911 log does have an “assault with weapons” at California and Alaska at 12:53 am today.
(Monday update: Discovered a small eyewitness account on chasBlog … scroll down to the photo of flashing police-car lights.)
Sounds like things are getting a little scary on this side of the peninsula.
First the Fairmount Springs team runs yet another post about a car prowl.
Now the Fauntleroy folks are calling a “community security meeting” after a siege by smash-and-grabbers so brazen, they’re even hitting the church parking lot. Now that’s just evil.
This morning’s deadly shooting rampage on Capitol Hill left me trying to remember if anything really horrific ever happened here in WS. I remember a particularly ugly summer in the early ’90s including someone getting shot and killed on a waterfront bench along Beach Drive. But I forgot the 1998 bridge shootings till this Times “side note” article on Other Really Bad Shootings in Our State. Anyway, condolences to the relatives of today’s victims, and prayers for all who are taken away too soon …