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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Tragedy strikes again: One dead, several hurt in mass shooting at Seattle Pacific University

Amer­i­ca’s dead­ly gun vio­lence epi­dem­ic has once again vis­it­ed Wash­ing­ton State.

Today, at Seat­tle Pacif­ic Uni­ver­si­ty, one young per­son was killed and sev­er­al oth­ers were crit­i­cal­ly and seri­ous­ly hurt by an uniden­ti­fied gun­man who walked into Otto Miller Hall and began shoot­ing at stu­dents ear­ly in the afternoon.

The gun­man was tack­led and sub­dued by an unarmed stu­dent build­ing mon­i­tor when he tried to reload one of his weapons to inflict more casu­al­ties. Oth­er stu­dents rushed to help keep the gun­man pinned down as the cam­pus went into lock­down. The gun­man was sub­se­quent­ly tak­en into cus­tody once the Seat­tle Police Depart­ment arrived. Ini­tial­ly, there was con­fu­sion as to how many shoot­ers there were, but SPD ulti­mate­ly clar­i­fied there was only one.

His vic­tims were trans­port­ed by para­medics to Har­borview Med­ical Cen­ter on First Hill. One of them lat­er died there; the oth­ers are still alive, but seri­ous­ly injured.

Seat­tle May­or Ed Mur­ray jour­neyed to SPU to con­sole the cam­pus com­mu­ni­ty and offer the city gov­ern­men­t’s support.

“Today should have been a day of cel­e­bra­tion at the end of the school year here at Seat­tle Pacif­ic Uni­ver­si­ty,” Mur­ray reflect­ed.

“Instead, it’s a day of tragedy and of loss. Once again, the epi­dem­ic of gun vio­lence has come to Seat­tle, an epi­dem­ic of gun vio­lence that has haunt­ed this nation. Friends, we have been here before: Café Rac­er, the shoot­ings on Capi­tol Hill, the shoot­ings at the Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion. This is a trag­ic moment for Seat­tle, a trag­ic moment for Amer­i­ca once again. Our prayers and our thoughts are with the fam­i­lies, and with the entire fam­i­ly of the Seat­tle Pacif­ic Uni­ver­si­ty community.”

Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee also offered his condolences.

“I mourn with all Wash­ing­to­ni­ans tonight for the Seat­tle Pacif­ic Uni­ver­si­ty stu­dent who died in today’s trag­ic shoot­ing,” Inslee said.

“There are oth­ers still strug­gling with injuries and we need to keep them, their fam­i­lies and all SPU stu­dents in our hearts and prayers. There is much we don’t yet know about today’s shoot­ing. But tonight it is clear that amidst the heart­break, SPU has shown that it is a com­mu­ni­ty that lives by its mis­sion to serve oth­ers. There were stu­dents who put them­selves in real dan­ger to pro­tect class­mates from fur­ther vio­lence and to aid and com­fort the vic­tims. Those self­less and brave acts should remind us of the indomitable spir­it of young people.”

“To see gun vio­lence erupt at a place of high­er edu­ca­tion shocks all of us. Our schools should be safe havens. And so should our homes, our streets and our work­places. We need to do more to pre­vent vio­lence through­out our state.”

The cam­paign to pass Ini­tia­tive 594, which would expand back­ground checks on gun sales in Wash­ing­ton, also react­ed to the shoot­ing, with a brief state­ment that sim­ply read: “We are heart­bro­ken that Seat­tle has once again been touched by gun vio­lence in today’s tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the vic­tims of today’s shoot­ing, their fam­i­lies, and the Seat­tle Pacif­ic Uni­ver­si­ty community.”

More than thoughts and prayers will be need­ed if sim­i­lar tragedies are to be pre­vent­ed in the future. That’s why I‑594 is so impor­tant. It’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty to min­i­mize the risk of guns falling into the wrong hands.

Busi­ness­man and investor Nick Hanauer, who on Tues­day pledged $1 mil­lion to help pass I‑594 this fall, issued a call to action in the wake of the shooting.

“Con­vert anger into action. Get involved. Donate. Vol­un­teer. Scream at your your use­less elect­ed lead­ers. Some of us already are. Ini­tia­tive 594 will make a dif­fer­ence,” Hanauer wrote in a mes­sage to friends on Facebook.

He lat­er linked to a recent­ly pub­lished satire piece pub­lished by The Onion, post­ed in the wake of the shoot­ings in Isla Vista, Cal­i­for­nia, titled: ‘No Way To Pre­vent This,’ Says Only [Devel­oped] Nation Where This Reg­u­lar­ly Hap­pens.

The Onion has been spot on in its response to New­town, Isla Vista, and oth­er mass shoot­ings. But satire isn’t going to pre­vent the next mass shooting.

Over the last few years, we’ve watched one com­mu­ni­ty after anoth­er get ripped apart. New­town, Auro­ra, Isla Vista, Oak Creek, Fort Hood, the Navy Yard, Vir­ginia Tech… the list goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on.

We have endured these tragedies, but we have not yet learned from them. And that is why they con­tin­ue to hap­pen. We do not chan­nel our grief and sad­ness into action. Col­lec­tive­ly, as coun­try, we shrug and move on. We can’t keep doing that. Richard Mar­tinez, the father of Isla Vista shoot­ing vic­tim Christo­pher Mar­tinez, said it well when he said our ral­ly­ing cry ought to be not one more.

Let­ting peo­ple acquire dead­ly weapons with no ques­tions asked is stu­pid and sense­less. No oth­er devel­oped coun­try allows it, and we should­n’t, either.

Right wing activists who care more about acquir­ing, dis­play­ing, car­ry­ing, and shoot­ing guns than life, lib­er­ty, and the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness claim that the Sec­ond Amend­ment for­bids any reg­u­la­tion of firearms. It does not. In fact, “reg­u­lat­ed” actu­al­ly appears in the text of the Sec­ond Amend­ment, which begins with these words: “A well reg­u­lat­ed mili­tia being nec­es­sary to the secu­ri­ty of a free state…”

The Roberts and Rehn­quist courts have been inter­pret­ing the Sec­ond Amend­ment the way the Nation­al Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion wants it inter­pret­ed. But theirs is not the only inter­pre­ta­tion, let alone a sen­si­ble one. Jus­tice John Paul Stevens:

When each word in the text is giv­en full effect, the Amend­ment is most nat­u­ral­ly read to secure to the peo­ple a right to use and pos­sess arms in con­junc­tion with ser­vice in a well-reg­u­lat­ed militia.

So far as appears, no more than that was con­tem­plat­ed by its drafters or is encom­passed with­in its terms. Even if the mean­ing of the text were gen­uine­ly sus­cep­ti­ble to more than one inter­pre­ta­tion, the bur­den would remain on those advo­cat­ing a depar­ture from the pur­pose iden­ti­fied in the pre­am­ble and from set­tled law to come for­ward with per­sua­sive new argu­ments or evidence.

We can­not allow the NRA’s unin­formed and uncom­pro­mis­ing inter­pre­ta­tion of the Sec­ond Amend­ment to pre­vent us from improv­ing our laws to save lives. Since New­town and Auro­ra, we’ve made progress in a few states, but in far more, the NRA has suc­ceed­ed in loos­en­ing gun safe­ty and gun respon­si­bil­i­ty laws. They are a pow­er­ful lob­by, and quite expe­ri­enced at intim­i­dat­ing our elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives. For­tu­nate­ly (and unfor­tu­nate­ly), here in Wash­ing­ton, we have the ini­tia­tive, which, when used for good, can be the means of bypass­ing a grid­locked Legislature.

Ini­tia­tive 594 will be on the bal­lot this fall. If it pass­es, it will be the law of the land, bar­ring a legal chal­lenge. Even if that hap­pens, its pas­sage will still rep­re­sent an impor­tant vic­to­ry for life, lib­er­ty, and the pur­suit of happiness.

Wash­ing­ton made his­to­ry in 2012 by becom­ing one of the first states to vote in favor of mar­riage equal­i­ty at the bal­lot. This year, we have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to make his­to­ry again by stand­ing up to the NRA and tak­ing action — real, mean­ing­ful action — to pre­vent what hap­pened today from hap­pen­ing again.

Let’s make it hap­pen by get­ting out the vote for I‑594.

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  1. A young man held the shoot­er down. He risked every­thing. And he saved lives. But this is not nor­mal. The stu­dents at Seat­tle Pacif­ic Uni­ver­si­ty should be cel­e­brat­ing the end of the school year and prepar­ing for grad­u­a­tion cel­e­bra­tions. We need to change the rit­u­al of vio­lence. We need to take action to make peo­ple safer. I‑594 begins the jour­ney. But it does not change our cul­ture. Not one more. We must decide this. Not one more.

    # by Gael Tarleton :: June 5th, 2014 at 10:12 PM
  2. “It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun”? Not always.

    # by Mike Barer :: June 7th, 2014 at 8:52 AM
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