Such was the joy of life growing up in a city resembling exactly what the USA could have been. What it once was... the only crimes were taking one to many pieces of candy from the "please take one" displays left out by homeowners far too lazy to stay in for the night on Halloween.
Back in those halcyon days, my parents inadvertently rented Sleepless in Seattle for me and some friends for a sleepover.
Big mistake for a bunch of 11-year-old kids to be watching such a silly movie, hopped up on Coca Cola and Pizza Hut...
Well, let's just say nothing like the type of animalistic behavior found in current Seattle ever occurred...[Seattle’s black community reels from killings of young men, Seattle Times, 9-13-15]:
The first killing that touched Leoma James happened in March.
Robert Robinson Jr. was the little brother of a close friend. He was 17, a Cleveland High senior, and gunned down in the middle of the afternoon on Beacon Hill. James, 20, drove back from Pullman, where she attends Washington State University, to be at the funeral.
In July, Reese Ali, 21, who had gone to school with James at St. Therese Catholic Academy, was found dead in an idling car in Renton. His death laid her low. “I couldn’t even go to the funeral,” she said.
A month later, a friend, 24-year-old Antonio Lamarr Jones, was fatally shot while walking his grandmother’s dog in the Central Area.
“Honestly, the thing that bothers me the most is that nobody has really had the opportunity to heal,” James said. “It’s been one death right after another.”
The Seattle Police Department confirms 2015 has been marked by an eruption of gunfire. By mid-August, the department had recorded 252 shots fired — a 30 percent increase over the same period last year. As of Friday, 11 people have died in Seattle, with more killed in surrounding areas, such as Renton, Kent and Skyway.
Most have been young black men. And so the trauma has hit especially hard among African Americans, some of whom, like James, are personally connected to several victims. They are caught in a state of perpetual grief and fear, wondering who will be next and, in turn, making adjustments, big and small, to their lives.
James, for instance, stayed in Pullman for the summer at the urging of her father, who felt it was unsafe for her to come back to Seattle. His point was made when James came home for the July Fourth holiday and went to a party on Westlake Avenue North that was punctuated by a shooting. Among a crowd of some 100 people, including a number of WSU students, “everyone hit the ground,” she said, and stayed there until police arrived.
On Aug. 25, police unveiled a strategy to deal with the violence, including daily internal briefings and weekly meetings with federal agencies and police departments in neighboring areas. But some of those most affected believe, as James put it: “We need to take it into our own hands to save our community.”
First, people have to acknowledge the carnage.
That was the point the college student’s father, a longtime activist named Charlie James, was making as he stood outside City Hall one recent Thursday with a “Black Lives Matter” banner. He began to affixpictures he had accumulated of local black men killed in the last two years. When he was done, 10 young men appeared on the banner — some mugging for the camera, some serious, some in T-shirts, one in a coat and tie. Robinson, the Cleveland student, wore a hoodie and smiled widely; behind him was the telltale blue background of a school photo.If Seattle didn't have any blacks, would the city have any homicides or nonfatal shootings? At only 8 percent black, the city of Seattle has a problem with black homicides precisely because the urban chaos of killings in the city is committed by black people.
On a piece of paper, Charlie James had written the names of 13 other young men whose photos he still hoped to get.
Only a handful of people turned up for what the activist, best known for his role in creating Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, hoped would be a show of support for stopping the violence and an idea he was trumpeting to form a regional organization devoted to helping black youth. Among those who came, though, were people searching just as fervently for answers.
This wasn't something shown in Sleepless in Seattle, nor was the threat of black people something my parents warned my friends or myself about as we went out trick-or-treating or playing capture the flag late at night when I grew up...