Well, obviously something is so very very different this year. Or not. Waiting for the wild speculation. I say Poisson Process. People and crazy people are a little unpredictable. Populations of people and crazy people are a cinch.
Mental illness and firearms are not a good combo,, even in war. Please note the number of catastrophic incidents among active duty military personnel. Combat troops and others are suffering from abnormally high rates of mental illness. Maybe firearms CAUSE these aberations....

Perhaps the sight or feel of firearms triggers latent psychosis in some people.....Perhaps the possession of a weapons enhances delusions of grandeur and invincibility? Whatever, crazy people with guns create problems that sane people with guns cannot cure or prevent.
You take a mix of mental illness super easy access to a wide variety of firearms and add in economic desperation with little to no hope of improvement. Then you bake it in a society that celebrates war and violence while terrifying the population that everyone is out to get them (that last part comes from your evening news) and see what you get.

Yes, the killer is clearly responsible but don't forget for a second the role society has played in this nightmare.
Wow, way to present seemingly scary statistics with zero context or perspective. Good work Mr Pulizter.

We both know Seattle is an extremely safe city for its size.
Chicago had 120 at the beginning of April and Illinois has the most restrictive handgun laws of any state. Chicago had eleven dead and 43 wounded just last weekend. Gun control is a fantasy when the guns are already present. Do you have a feasable plan to round up 100,000,000 handguns?
Hay, swearengen, spoiling for a fight this early? The statistic that Eli presented is perfectly valid as a stand alone. It needs no context. Go back to bed, and try getting up on the other side.
this society is very very sick

and getting sicker.

expect the mayhem and carnage and chaos to increase.

at an increasing tempo.

murder in the streets.

normalizing homosexuality.

remorseless slaughter of the unborn.

waystops on the descent.....
It seems to me that the root of this particular tragedy is mental illness, and our inability to deal with it. We need involuntary commitment, long-term mental care facilities, and adequate funding to support them in a professional and humane manner.

As for the gang problems, drug legalization, as well as free and abundant access to birth control - including paying people to get vasectomies and tubal ligations - would work wonders.

But the conservatives would block any of these initiatives, preferring to use Jesus as an excuse for their cheapness.
Oh, and thanks to the troll @8 for reminding me: "birth control" should include free abortions on demand to anyone who wants one, no questions asked,
There's going to be no change in the way we deal with mental illness, there's going to be no change in our firearms laws, and there's nothing we can do about the general level of desperation that a down economy brings.
In Philly we've already had 150 murders, most of them gun-inflicted, and we only have 3 times your population. Consider yourselves lucky.

so true.

in fact, the underclass should be paid to abort their filthy illegitimate spawn.

of course, that would continue to thin the already thinning ranks of "Liberals" but, well,... don't you just love it when a plan falls together?...
Has anyone else noticed that the majority of the suspects in these violent crimes (this year and in the past) have had multiple arrests and have never been treated or tried for their crimes? I have. Instead of focusing on guns maybe the mayor should focus on treating the suspects before letting them go and kill a bunch of innocent people. Every city has their issues- most cities crime is directly related to poverty, while Seattle's is directly related to not caring and shoving it under the rug.
if only homosexuals could "marry" this would all cum to a screeching stop.....
The first 6 months of 2011 were exceptionally peaceful, even by the standards of Seattle. It's not really a meaningful baseline for comparison.
@12 I live in New Orleans and tusday someone shot up a ten year olds birthday party leaving 24 shells on the ground and 5 people dead, including a five year old girl. I don't consider ANYone lucky. All of it sucks.
Suicide rates double of any homicide statistic- where is the headlines? The press conferece by public safety comittee? The community meetings? Could it be that latching on to black and white wedge issues like gun ownership Just make better talking points for journalists and politicians?
For all those comparing Seattle to other cities, I think that is kind of the point. Seattle is generally an exceptionally safe city (I used to live in Miami, which is the opposite in more ways than one...), so this type of uptick in gun violence really gets noticed here, and perhaps indicates that we should all be paying a little more attention when it happens in other cities. 21 homicides vs150 homicides does not matter, all are tragic unnecessary deaths.
Swearengen anagram: we nag, sneer.
I tend toward the position that law-abiding, mentally-sound gun owners are responsible for a miniscule fraction of gun violence. Yesterday's tragedy is exemplary of a persistent and intensely-frustrating problem: our inadequate ability to disarm mentally-ill people with violent tendencies. I found this on a NYT blog:…

Q. What constitutes a mental illness that prevents a person from buying a gun? — Demo NYC, New York

A. Under federal law, anyone who has been formally committed to a mental health facility or adjudicated as a “mental defective” is disqualified from buying and possessing firearms.

The first prong is fairly self-explanatory, describing people who have been hospitalized by court order. The second is a little more complicated. It describes someone who has been designated by some legal authority — usually a court, but it also could be a board or commission — to be a danger to himself or others, or to lack the mental capacity to manage his or her own affairs. It also describes people found by a court to be incompetent to stand trial, or found in a criminal case to be insane.

In other words, the fact that a psychiatrist has given someone a diagnosis of mental illness does not, by itself, bar that person from having a gun. Some sort of legal adjudication is required.

That, in fact, is one reason Jared Loughner, the suspect in the Tucson shootings, was not prohibited from buying firearms, despite having some serious mental health issues.

Complicating matters a bit, some states have set their own slightly different mental health criteria for firearms prohibitions. For example, in California, anyone who has been placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold for 72 hours in which they have been deemed a threat to themselves or others is barred from having a gun for five years. Virginia bars people who have been the subject of a temporary detention order and who voluntarily agree to inpatient treatment.

Q. How does a gun dealer know that a person has been adjudicated “mentally defective”? In other words, do the federal and state laws that prohibit mental defectives from purchasing firearms actually prevent mental defectives from purchasing firearms? — Rupert, Alabama

A. This is the whole point of the F.B.I.’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which contains information on prohibited firearms purchasers. In some states, firearms dealers contact the NICS call center directly; in others, the checks are handled by state agencies. The problem is a lot of states still do not share their mental health adjudications with the NICS. The reasons include privacy issues, technological challenges and just inattention from state officials. That was what the NICS Improvement Amendments Act, passed after the Virginia Tech shootings, was meant to address, giving money to states to improve its sharing of records, including mental health ones. Since the passage of the act, record sharing has improved, but there are still serious gaps. Even with states that are now sharing their mental health records with the NICS, they might not have uploaded older records of people who have been committed or adjudicated as mentally ill or incapacitated.
Folks, pay attention to #14. The lack of law and judicial enforcement is a much bigger problem than the gun laws. What good are new laws if we don't even enforce the current ones?
@4.. well that got old fast.. eli's pulitzer i mean. so now EVERYthing he writes is supposed to measure up to that achievement and when it doesn't we can trot out that sneer.. except..
in this particular case i think it relevant to remind you that the prize was awarded as a result of his reportage on a senseless violent crime that was in a large part a result of of the same factors that seem to have been in play here. different particulars , of course, but similar in significant ways, and with deadlier results. you want immediate context and perspective ? reread that piece.
It's the guns and the mental illness, in combination. We need to address both. An undiagnosed mentally ill person can too easily get a gun, as can anyone who falls through the cracks. Rigorous gun licensing that requires a Psych eval before carrying a gun in a city would prevent most mass shootings. We also need to spend more on mental illness and have socialized medicine. Republicans oppose all of this, unfortunately.
Crazy people with guns create problems that sane people with guns cannot cure or prevent.
McGinn, you're doing a heck of a job.

At this point, Diaz doesnt need to be demoted, he needs to be fired.
Since it is completely insane to deny that a) swamping the nation with instruments made for killing and b) leaving mentally ill people on the street without psychiatric care both correlate with levels of senseless violence in our communities, I humbly suggest that we get Republicans and their allies committed to mental institutions. I already hear your objections that it'd be extremely difficult to act on my insight but wouldn't it be more difficult to convince conservatives they have lost the plot. Think about it.
Even with the uptick in the homicide rate so far this year, and even if that higher rate continues through the rest of the year (though there's no clear reason to expect that it will), we'll still end up well below the average homicide rate in the 80s and 90s (especially the early 90s, when it reached an all-time high).

Seattle is still a very safe place to live, statistically.
Is gang-afflicted Seattle's murder rate per capita lower than gang-afflicted Vancouver BC's murder rate per capita?
@30 six people died in White on White gun deaths and you want to talk about gang murders?


Are you kidding me?
@27 for the win.
Thanks Gomez- it's true though. Focus on providing a solution to the ROOT of the problem first, not the tools involved. The more you make something illegal the more dangerous it'll become. The more help and love and care you provide to someone in need the less dangerous they'll become. Easier said than done, but it's the only way to solve this issue.

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