Barring some 11th hour spurt of violence, and despite a bloody start to 2012, Seattle will finish the year with 26 homicides, a tragic but rather average number for the city over the past decade or so. All but three of Seattle's 26 homicide victims this year were killed by guns.
At 4.2 murders per 100,000 residents, Seattle's homicide rate is consistently one of the lowest in the nation among cities with populations greater than 250,000. By comparison, Chicago recently recorded its 500th murder of the year for a homicide rate of 18.5 per 100,000, while New Orleans' 189 murders in 2012 gives it a homicide rate of 52.4 per 100,000 residents. A murder rate like that in Seattle would have left us with 325 dead.
The point is, Seattle's murder rate remains relatively low. You know, for an American city.
I suppose there are a number of things one might take away from this comparative data. Local gun rights advocates might wonder what all the recent fuss is about, while gun control advocates might question what exactly it is the gun owners think they are protecting themselves from?
But as someone who is paid to complain about all the things our city does wrong, it's good to remind myself that there are a lot of things that Seattle does well—not the least of which being that we tend not to kill each other in nearly the same numbers as most other big US cities.
Not that this is much consolation to the families and friends of the 26 dead.