A bizarre incident at a Seattle restaurant Saturday afternoon involving a man “believed to be high” on drugs set off an interesting discussion among Seattle Times readers, some of whom seem disappointed nobody in the Ballard establishment drew a gun and stopped things cold.
The debate might compel someone to challenge these readers by asking “What would you have done?” As it turned out, restaurant patrons fled, and it was all caught on a security camera, as reported by KOMO. According to Seattle Police, the man kicked in a large glass window, picked up a shard of glass and chased people out of the restaurant. He subsequently injured two people outside, was eventually disarmed and wrestled to the ground.
Is a shard of glass a lethal weapon? Could be, as both the police and newspaper reported the injuries in their narratives. Had someone been slashed on the neck or stabbed in a vital area, it could have resulted in a serious, perhaps life-threatening injury.
That’s the threshold for a lethal response. But this was Seattle, and even though the name of the restaurant does not appear on a list of so-called “gun free businesses” in the city, apparently nobody was armed. What if someone had been armed and shot this man? How would Seattleites react?
Maybe the city should get used to this sort of thing. After all, earlier this month, the Seattle Times reported that some people in the city are looking at establishing “safe use” sites for drug users.
Still, Seattle doesn’t hold a candle to Chicago, where last week saw the city log its 1,000th shooting incident for the year. The Windy City has reported more than 170 homicides so far this year, and even though they didn’t all involve firearms, that didn’t make the victims less dead. Last year, Chicago logged 465 slayings, up from the 411 reported in 2014.
Gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms last Friday called on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign. He asserted that Emanuel “has allowed his city to descend toward anarchy” while “his administration has worked aggressively to keep the public disarmed and vulnerable.”
Chicago does have very restrictive gun control policies, despite lawsuits that essentially nullified its 30-year handgun ban, and forced Illinois lawmakers to adopt a concealed carry statute. Six years after the 2010 McDonald ruling by the Supreme Court, the city still doesn’t have a single gun shop or shooting range within city limits.
One can bet that there are far fewer concealed carry permits in Chicago than there are concealed pistol licenses in Seattle. The Jet City is in King County, in which more than 95,800 active CPLs are in circulation. Roughly 20 percent of those are held by women, according to a monthly report from the Department of Licensing.
But Seattle has tried to copy Chicago in gun control policies, specifically adopting a so-called “gun violence tax” as officials did in Cook County, which encompasses the Windy City. With all those shootings and killings, it’s easy to see how well that has worked.
Likewise in Seattle, the police reported last Friday that patrols were being stepped up in some neighborhoods to “deter and prevent gun violence.” Some observers might look at Seattle and ask officials why they think policies similar to those adopted in Chicago might work in the Northwest any better than they haven’t worked at the south end of Lake Michigan.
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