After Mall Death, Writer Says Gang Violence “Puts Us All At Risk”


Much of what is deplorable about the fatal shooting at a Seattle-area mall over the weekend is summed up in the words of one woman, says Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Robert L. Jamieson Jr. She rushed to a hospital after two 16-year-olds were struck down by bullets in a gangland dispute that had shoppers scurrying. The woman, who was close to one of the teens, told a TV reporter: “Red. Blue. Crips and Bloods. They did what they had to do. But I am letting you guys know, it’s not over. When a family member gets hurt and they start bringing the gang members in, it’s on.”

Jamieson says her “chilling words are a wake-up gong for everyone, starting with Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, who, until recently, snoozed through a string of fatal shootings involving teens and gangs in the city.” They should prompt Gov. Chris Gregoire to fix flawed gang legislation she signed this year that is long on punishing youths in gangs and “criminally short” on prevention and means to address the roots of the violence — broken families, broken schools, broken souls. Jamieson cites “a multigenerational attitude in which adults seemingly condone retribution — you put one of us in the hospital, we put one of yours in the funeral home — to handle disputes. If adults think that way, what hope is there for impressionable youths?” He adds, “The blind pursuit of street justice — cycles of revenge followed by counterrevenge — puts us all at risk.”


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