The increase in gun violence and the shooting at Cafe Racer shook our citizens to the core. For the Asian community living around the area, the incident struck a similar chord to the recent White Center shooting, which left four dead, and other smaller scale shootings that occurred around the ID.
When gun violence resurfaced in the recent months in the form of accidents, gang shootings, stray bullet casualties, and more than one instance of murder rampages, the fear and concern felt by the public led to discussions on restricting gun ownership and revising state gun laws.
While those changes are warranted, gun violence is rarely about guns alone. Behind the recent shooting at Café Racer and the White Center shooting, where a Cambodian grandmother shot and killed members of her own family before turning the gun on herself, are people who struggle with mental illness, and families and friends who’ve felt helpless for years as the problem continued to build.
Similarly with gang violence, we must not forget that many of the gang members still on the streets are comprised of disadvantaged youth. While these problems should not be compounded by easy access to guns, if we go to the polls and write to our mayor with only gun laws in mind, we’re missing the bigger picture.
We’d be naïve to vilify the perpetrators while turning a blind eye each year as mental health services and youth programs are at risk of being cut. The increase in gun violence in our city may have been quick and sudden, but sadly, the solution to combatting this issue may not be as swift. Patience, in the face of so much loss, is difficult, but behind most instances of nonsensical violence is a call to make sense of the unspoken issues.
We’re called on in the face of such tragedies to not only reexamine our laws, but also to look more closely at our community, and how some solutions, however difficult, can act as preventative measures, while others are merely band-aids. (end)
Town Hall will host a conversation about the recent shootings with Mayor Mike McGinn, Councilmember Bruce Harrell, and others on June 18 to discuss issues of public safety, gun control, mental illness, gangs, community response, and how a city heals after tragedy.
A ChipIn fund has been set up to help the families of the victims and the surviving victim of the Cafe Racer shooting. The fund will also create a living memorial for the victims and scholarships in their names. For more information, visit www.caferacerlove.org.