Monday, July 31, 2006

Seattle is Not Immune

One of the reasons I started this blog was to gush about Seattle and its environs. Everybody knows I love living here and I cannot understand why anyone would move away once they had experienced the Puget Sound area--the smell, the feel, the coolness when the rest of the country is burning up. High today will be sunshine and 68 degrees.

But this summer we have had some horrible horrible things happen here. Nice, polite, prissy, intellectual Seattle has been slapped in the face with unspeakable violence. On July 11, a 56 year old Mom and her 27 year old daughter went for a day hike off the Mountain Loop Highway. Lucas and I have done this many times. Lucas and his buddies had only the day before been on the same hike as the mother and daughter. Some person or persons for some unknown reason shot and killed the mother and daughter right on the trail. These two people had not an enemy in the world and were well known for their kindness and love for others. They left behind a devastated husband of 30 years and two other daughters. It was completely senseless and so far it has been unsolved.

The murders turned Seattle inside out. For the unchurched Seattleites, this was like someone walking into a church and randomly killing two people while they were praying---unthinkable. Ron Judd, one of my favorite Seattle newspaper writers, said this:

It's the temple of old growth, the church of ocean beaches, the hallowed neutral ground of clean air, blessed silence and sweeping views. It's the realm into which a lot of us slip on evenings, weekends and those treasured vacation days, just to get back in touch with what matters.

It's a psychological protective bubble, and last week's slayings revealed it to be exactly that: as solid as a single layer of soap film.

The shooting deaths of Cooper, 56, and Stodden, 27, rocked a lot of individual worlds last week....

My son, a few days after this happened, drove back from Calgary where he picked up two of his friends from Europe, Natalie and Nadira. The two English girls wanted to see America and Lucas wanted to take them hiking, of course. It infuriates me that we had to be concerned about where he took them hiking for fear of some crazed lunatic. I apologized to the girls and explained that this sort of thing doesn't happen in Seattle and really there is very little crime here. Lucas settled on a trail and the day was one of those glorious days you could see forever. The girls loved it.

And as a side issue---my children have the most wonderful friends---both of them. I believe it is a reflection of the kind of people my children have turned out to be. Lucas had a barbeque on our deck in honor of his English friends. He had high school friends and college friends here to meet them. Lucas loved it when he had all three groups of his buds in one place---Montana kids, Mukilteo kids and London kids. All of them are so similar and everyone of them is bright and funny with fabulous goals in life. Natalie and Nadira liked all of Lucas's friends and especially the two boys who took them all the way to Yellowstone Park while Lucas took a summer class in Missoula!

While Lucas was still in Missoula, Natalie and Nadira spent one more day with us in Mukilteo before catching a flight back to London on Friday, July 28th. Tragically, on Friday, a mentally ill Muslim man claiming he was angry at Israel forced his way into a Jewish charity organization in downtown Seattle and opened fire. A 58 year old woman was killed and five other women including a pregnant woman were injured. In a couple of weeks time, I am listening to another young woman crying on television about the senselessness of her Mom's murder. Again, I explain to Natalie and Nadira that this sort of hate crime is rare in Seattle.

Kaley and I took Nadira and Natalie on a ferry ride to Whidbey Island. We had a peaceful lunch in Langley and had a good time talking about Lucas. They call him the "chatterbox" and wanted to know all about his past girlfriends. (Natlaie and Nadira seem to be spoken for as we had English boyfriends calling our house at 7 AM some mornings to check up on them.) Kaley and I were happy to oblige. I explained that I think Lucas had a crush on yet another English girl named Susie. They agreed with the possibility and we all giggled about our Lucas. I paid for our lunches with my replaced credit card and emphasized yet again that even though my purse was stolen, we have very little crime in Mukilteo.

I hope they believed me and I hope and pray that this deadly Seattle summer never ever repeats itself. Fifty something Moms like me with terrific children should not have to worry about being murdered in Seattle.

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Natalie and Nadira in Langley, Whidbey Island