Friday, July 28, 2006

Shooting update
It's been four hours since six people were shot at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. The top story at Google news is that Bush and Blair agree that stopping the fighting in Lebanon is someone else's responsibility. Neither Kos nor Atrios have mentioned the story. Atrios is traveling and on the wrong side of the continent. Kos, who lives in this time zone, is busy selling his latest buzz phrase, "people power." Of course, anyone who lives west of about Atlanta knows how hard it is to get into the news cycle with anything except a missing white woman.

Meanwhile, some accurate details are leaking out to replace the rumors that originally filled our local news. All six of the victims are women; one is pregnant. The local branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, issued a statement :
The Muslim community of Greater Seattle area watched in horror as news broke of a shooting at the Jewish Federation building ... We categorically condemn this and any similar acts of violence ... We pray for the safety and health of those injured and offer our heartfelt condolences to the family of the victims of this attack. We also hope that the perpetrator of this crime is brought to justice.

Some news stories are eager to toss around the word "terrorist"; others are using the phrase "hate crime." At present, I'm inclined to use the latter phrase. The police were careful and emphatic about saying that they considered this the work of one crazy, with no attachment to any larger organization. The unnamed shooter's quoted words, "I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel," are the words of someone desiring some sort of ill-conceived personal vengeance, not some one attempting to strike fear into the community. If this early quote is an accurate characterization, then the shooter is not a terrorist, just a hateful nut.

I live near a busy street. Every night I hear sirens. The weather has been hot for the last two weeks, so I have had to live with the windows open (this is cold, wet Seattle; no one has air-conditioning). Tonight, every siren sounds sinister, every firework sounds threatening.

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