So far in 2012, homicides in Seattle have quadrupled when compared to the number of killings at the same time last year. News of this spike in violence has had city officials grasping for answers.
Back in February, Deputy Chief of Police Nicholas Metz told local reporters, “I get a lot of questions as to why do we believe this is happening and I really don’t know the answer to that.”
That was when the murder rate stood at nine, since Feb. seven more people have been gunned down bringing the total to 16. Now, perhaps feeling pressured to make sense of this unfortunate situation, Deputy Chief Nicholas Metz seems to have changed his tune a little, intimating that gun owners are to blame for the recent spate of shootings.
A few days ago, following a meeting with the City Council Deputy Chief Metz told reporters, “A person who has a gun is more likely to use a gun.”
In short, the implication is that the blame must lie with all gun owners.
Yesterday, Alan Gottlieb, the Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, fired back against this blanketed indictment of law-abiding gun owners.
“With all due respect, Chief Metz needs to say that to the more than 365,000 law-abiding gun owners who now possess active concealed pistol licenses and haven’t fired a shot in Seattle or anywhere else, except in self-defense. He needs to make that assertion to the estimated one million gun owners in Washington State who do not deserve being lumped in with a bunch of criminals who cannot legally own or carry firearms.”
“It is easier to blame guns than to confront gangs and a thug culture that glorifies violence and disobeys existing gun laws,” Gottlieb added. “Suspects in two recent high-profile murders were both 20 years old, and by law, they could not legally carry the handguns they used, and Chief Metz knows it.”
Metz told the Seattle Times, “Police cannot say that the shootings are gang-related, although it could be a possibility.” Other causes, he added, could include drugs and people feeling disrespected.
I’m no crime expert, but “drugs” and “feeling disrespected” sound a lot like gang-banger activity to me.
So, why the reluctance by officials to call it like it is? It’s a good question, one I don’t have an answer for (is it political correctness that has Metz and others tongue-tied or some other political force at work?).
Whatever the case may be, and as Mr. Gottlieb pointed out in his retort, Seattle gun owners should not be blamed by city officials for the actions of thugs.
“Law-abiding gun owners are not going to take the rap for Seattle’s gang violence,” Gottlieb stated, “nor are we going to stand silently while public officials blame inanimate objects for the cruel, vicious deeds committed by people who ought to be behind bars. Rank-and-file Seattle police officers are dedicated to protecting citizens and their neighborhoods, and they know who the real troublemakers are.”
Here’s a Video from KING5, dated Feb. 22, 2012:
(Picture Credit: Seattle Times and Associated Press)