Two Vigils

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Prayer vigil memorialLast night at 7 p.m. there were two simultaneous prayer vigils for victims of gun violence, one a quick response to yesterday’s tragedy at Seattle Pacific University and one in the Central District for the two young men—Dwone Anderson-Young and Ahmed Said—murdered on June 1 at 29th Avenue South and South King Street. The Mayor and I went to SPU’s campus to support our police officers and firefighters and the students and staff of the university and then traveled to the vigil in the Central District.

As an elected official I have been to several of these vigils over the years to show the City’s support for the victims and their communities. Never have I had to face a choice about which vigil to go to.

Two vigils for victims of gun violence is two too many.

The epidemic of gun violence sweeping our nation is maddening. At times like these, it is important to remind ourselves of the practical steps we can urge our legislators to take to reduce gun violence.

  • Adopt legislation that restricts access to guns—universal background checks, a ban on automatic assault weapons (as existed nationwide until 2004) and large capacity ammunition magazines, trigger locks and safe storage requirements, and micro-stamping technology that improves the capability of police to trace fired bullets.
  • Enhance mental health and intervention services—especially for those who are marginalized, showing signs of isolation, subject to bullying and the like—while keeping in mind that individuals suffering from mental illness are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crime.
  • Invest early in high-quality preschool and other child development services that are proven to reduce involvement in anti-social and criminal behaviors. (The Council will vote at noon today on the Seattle Preschool Program.)