Monday, June 18, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm

Public Safety: A Community Conversation

Great Hall, enter on 8th Avenue. Free with reservation.

Civics, Media Library, Special Programming

Town Hall Seattle staff, members, and board are deeply shaken and disturbed by the events that took place so close to our offices on May 30th. The other shooting the same day, previous incidents in May, and earlier in the year have caused us great concern. Like all of Seattle, we are trying to process the situation and wonder what we as a community can do to address it. As an institution whose purpose is to create a safe place for the expression of ideas, and which has hosted community conversations on topics including education, Occupy Seattle, artist space, the environment, and more, we can think of no more appropriate response than to gather as a community for a constructive conversation about these events which affect us all. A group of city leaders and citizens–including Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle Police Chief John Diaz, Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Mariko Lockhart (Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative), Rahwa Habte (OneAmerica), Bill Hobson (DESC), and Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat–will discuss issues of public safety, gun safety, mental illness, gangs, and how a community not only stays safe, but heals itself after such tragedies. Presented by Town Hall Seattle.

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  1. Ward Henneberry
    Posted June 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    As an “Eastsider”, I must admit that I had never heard of you operation until the recent tragic events. I looked over your site, and I suspect that I may have to go into Seattle to attend some of your events.

    In particular, I took a look at your “public safety” meeting that has been widely publicized. As a long time gun rights supporter looking at your featured speakers, you seem to have stacked the deck. Of the identified persons, only one has any track record of recognizing gun rights.

    If this were truly about gun safety why are there no listed participants from the pro-gun community who actually do safety training? The presence of a few police officers is meaningless in that regard. Most police do less training with their issue weapons than many CPL holders do with their personal firearms.

    In this country, and in the rest of the world, the guns are not going away. This is especially true of the ones that are neither not legally possessed or legally used. As for the rest of the folks, safety training is paramount.

    Hopefully this will be a community involvement forum that deals with the breakdown of the social contract in some localities and among some groups.

  2. Ray Carter
    Posted June 12, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I, too, note the absence of any named persons that are either firearms advocates, firearms safety trainers, or even neutral parties.

    No mention is made of any representation from the officers of the Washington Arms Collectors (the largest state wide firearms organization), the National Rifle Association (long known for their extensive safety training programs), or the leadership of the Second Amendment Foundation (second largest firearms advocacy group in the nation with headquarters in Bellevue, WA).

    On the other hand, I see only speakers named that range from somewhat hostile to deeply hostile to private firearms ownership and law abiding gun owners. When Danny Westneat is the closest a speaker comes to neutrality (let alone friendliness) on firearms and public safety issues at an event one is forced to wonder if organizers intend to create a forum or a mere assembly of talking heads parroting the Cease Fire party line.

    Are you putting on a forum or merely a bully pulpit for the same tired old gun control fanatics with some new taffeta decorations to distract from the same stale and failed mantras of their past ramblings? And if it's a forum, how do you expect to do that without representation among the speakers from all parties to the discussion…

  3. Mike Cheney
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    To bad Town Hall is not like a lot of places that have a table and safe place to store firearms from legal gun owners that want to attend this and many more activities. King County Court House for example has a secure area for legal gun owners. Since a woman was killed in the parking lot there a while back in a car jacking, I would think you would want people to be at least able to defend themselves from potential criminals.

  4. Mariana Quarnstrom
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Is this going to be another dog and pony show? We have had so long to do something and we pay all the experts to come and we never implement anything. Our tax dollars wasted, where they could have gone to programs to help the youth find employment or engage them in some innovative programs, such as sending them to camp, on hikes, etc.
    I am tired of these meetings where nothing ever gets done.
    The poor Seattle Police Dept is in shambles and the mayor does nothing but come out with a stupid 20/20 plan.
    Disgusted in SE

  5. Lorie
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I agree with Mariana. As long as McGinn and Chief Diaz are involved, this forum will lack credibility, since the Seattle Police Department is broken and McGinn seems to be in complete denial about it. The main reason I'll vote against McGinn in the next mayoral election is because of his failure to clean up SPD.
    And the simplest answer is that most of these crimes wouldn't have happened if people didn't have access to guns. I don't see anyone from Cease Fire on the speaker's roster. My son has lived in Malaysia for 7 years, where citizens cannot own guns. The total gun crimes for the entire country last year was 41.
    Politicians in the U.S. have completely sold out to the NRA.

    • Mike Cheney
      Posted June 17, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      Check your facts. Legal gun owners are not the problem. Criminals with illegal guns are. SPD needs to uphold the laws on the books bottom line. No one has sold out anything to the NRA. 2nd Amendment is a constitutional right. Like it or not.

  6. Mary Lee Eden
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    The NRA gun enthusiasts have stuck their rifles in their eyes and ears far too long, while the criminals have freely ridden the NRA's coat-tails of absolution provided them by the NRA's Constitution of the United States. Today's society has greatly changed since the collaborated writing of the Constitution. If the NRA would admit to this out of control problem affecting all Americans, and forthrightly aid in working toward a solution, they might earn the respect they are currently lacking from their citizenry counterpart who abhor their tenacity and resiliance toward recognition of the problem.

    • Sidney
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      @Mary Lee Eden said, “Today’s society has greatly changed since the collaborated writing of the Constitution.”

      So by this same brilliance I assume we should take all news, information, and communication off line? After all, communication has greatly changed since the collaborated writing of the Constitution. And the founders could not have possibly envisioned how something like internet would affect and shape the public discourse… cheapen it, even, some would say.

      Please, take care when you attempt to make such analogies.

    • Posted June 20, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      The Constitution of the United States does not “belong” to the NRA. It belongs to, and represents the People of the United States. The NRA has admitted to the problem, but the Government (and obviously you) do not see it. A gun, or rock, or a baseball bat is an inanimate object. It takes a human to make it do something. Crime, criminals, thugs, gangbangers, THEY are a problem. They commit crimes, not the tools. Do not disarm me with new laws, enforce the laws you have.

  7. Susan
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    While I am one who is concerned about the overabundance of guns in our city, whether legal or not, I am more concerned about the budgetary priorities of our city and state. Our funding for mental health and education have suffered greatly. I do not condemn the mentally ill or youth as a group. I do have serious concerns about both the laws and the priorities that hamstring efforts to identify and serve both of those groups. As long as our focus is strictly on guns, we're missing the boat on opportunities to improve things. The N.R.A. has proven over and again their power. Let's look at the other serious problems.

  8. karen ruth
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    this meeting is not about gun control. it is about creating a congruent community of compassion, so those who are sick, oppressed and homeless are treated with compassion and understanding. it is about how to educate our community to embrace love and compassion and not fear. keep your guns. i shoot skeet. i just don't shoot people. i will be at the meeting. Dr. Bruner from Children's Hospital was right on target with a pro-active compassionate plan. The doctor from Fairfax is not relaying the truth regarding how easy it really is to institutionalize someone. institutionalization does not provide what these people need. i hope people at this venue truly open their hearts to loving solution.

  9. chas talbot
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I too am concerned that this will be another of the innumerable meetings in which officialdom blames the law-abiding elements in the community (most of us) for the criminal acts of a few. If only we offered more cookies & cocoa to home-invaders ! If only muggers, pimps, drug dealers, auto thieves & their ilk were hugged more often ! If only we offered education instead of incarceration ! (Here's a thought — let's create a system where everyone can get an education through high school, free. That would certainly stop the crime wave.)

    The murders with firearms & the non-fatal shootings are deplorable. The police department has an outstanding record in terms of locating & arresting culprits in most of homicide cases. But the great bulk of the crimes that are taking place in the neighborhoods do NOT involve firearms. Homicides tend to involve people who are already in some sort of relationship to each other. Home invasions, muggings, & the rest are very different. Remove all shootings from the crime statistics & we still have an unacceptably high level of crime, committed by a small number of people who commit crimes for personal gain. Can the focus shift to those people, please ?

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