Seth at Seattlest has had enough of the Seattle Times. Why? Because Times columnists (such as the ever-irritating Joni Balter) seem to think that a tougher Teen Dance Ordinance would have prevented Kyle Huff from killing seven people at a house party last weekend. Apparently if there are no all-ages dances, or if there is a curfew, no kids would ever be in a position to be victims of a senseless crime committed by a maniac. Of course, these particular kids (and they weren’t all kids, but at least a couple were underage) were in someone’s house. If there had been a curfew, they could have partied indoors all night, not violating any curfew rules — and Kyle Huff might still have snapped, for whatever reason, and the result would have been the same.
See, the thing is — a senseless crime is just that, senseless. Dancing in zombie makeup didn’t make Kyle Huff shoot people. All night parties didn’t make Kyle Huff shoot people. The fact that kids were present didn’t do it, either. And you know what? Even if those folks at the party were rude to him and made him feel excluded (and there’s no evidence that this was the case), that didn’t make him shoot people either. The responsibility for what happened rests with Kyle Huff. (Assisted by the gun culture that let a disturbed young man collect an arsenal, and keep his guns even after drunkenly shooting up street art in his home town.)
Thinking that a curfew or a teen dance ordinance will prevent anything bad from ever happening to your precious children is short-sighted. I can promise you that when the old TDO was in effect, my underage friends managed to get in plenty of trouble, some of it serious. And when I had a curfew, I didn’t always manage to get home on time, either.
But the one time when something seriously bad could have happened to me (I was the object of an attempted abduction — luckily foiled by a neighbor who came along at just the right time to frighten the abductor into letting me go), I was walking home from the corner store, in a perfectly safe and normal Seattle neighborhood. In broad daylight (I think it was a Saturday). It was spring. It was 28 years ago this spring.
If things had gone differently, would it have been the fault of my parents for letting me walk to the store in daylight? Or of the city for not having a 2pm curfew? No. It would have been senseless, and it would have been no one’s fault… except the guy who grabbed me and tried to carry me away, only half a block away from my own home.
I guess I’m ranting a bit here. Anyway, Seattle Times, Joni Balter, you should be ashamed. Assign misguided blame all you want, but I don’t know how you sleep at night, all smug in bed.
(And I wouldn’t subscribe to the Times if you paid me. I get the Sunday paper, which would be the P-I if it wasn’t for that goddamned JOA, but the Times lost me when they mistreated their employees during and after the strike a few years ago; stunts like these ridiculous editorials go a long way toward ensuring you’ll never be forgiven.)