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Monday, March 27, 2006 - Page updated at 11:55 AM

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Editorial

Soul-searching after Capitol Hill tragedy

These kinds of things don't happen in Seattle, except they just did. A shooting rampage leaves a city soul-searching, parents in serious talks with teens and young adults, and a community wondering how a seemingly peaceful party could end in so much violence and bloodshed.

A 28-year-old man, armed beyond comprehension, rattled our city with an early-morning act of murderous rage that left six young people dead, plus the shooter, Kyle Huff, who police say also shot himself.

In the search for deep meaning, there may not be much beyond the notion that an unstable person had access to a frightening quantity of guns and ammuntion. Deeply troubled people should not be able to acquire such a huge arsenal of guns and ammunition.

Huff, who met a group of young people at a dance, came to an after-party at a Capitol Hill home prepared to do violence. He arrived with a pistol grip shotgun and a semiautomatic handgun. An assault weapon and a large quantity of ammunition were in the truck he drove. Police were still counting ammunition 24 hours later.

Beyond the raw, ugly mass murder, this event forces every parent of a teen or young adult to sit down and ask: Where exactly do you go at night? Do you really know the people with whom you are attending a party?

Obviously, not every teenager who goes to a dance or party is looking for trouble. Police found marijuana, beer and wine at the home.

The dance, called by some attendees a rave, seemed to be a peaceful event where perhaps drug and alcohol laws were violated but no violence or arguing was reported. Still, teen dance rules in our city must be thoroughly reviewed to see if they go far enough to protect young people. One of the six victims was apparently a 15-year-old Bellevue girl. What precautions or rules could have helped her? Could anyone protect her at a private party at a private home?

It will be a while before a motive or the role, if any, of drugs and alcohol are known.

At this point, our community has to rethink late-night activities of young people. We must do what we can to prevent such a horrific incident from happening again.

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