It's hard to ignore the violent events in Seattle the last few weeks, and harder to understand them.
The senseless shooting death of a man driving his family down a street. An innocent woman killed in a drive-by. A person shot and injured at a popular festival. And another six dead after a man went on a shooting spree, killing five others and them himself.
None of the killings make sense. Coming one on top of another they are overwhelming. Even here, in Sunnyside, I can feel the fear. Mostly I fear for my family and friends who live in and around the Seattle area.
The images of community members gathering around memorials for the dead send chills of sadness and regret up my spine. Could the community have stopped the violence if they had been united before it happened?
There will be a kneejerk reaction to blame guns. It's true that gun violence seems to be increasing in Seattle, but have there been any changes in the law that would account for it? If not, guns aren't the main issue.
To fix the problem, we have to find the cause. I'm sympathetic to those who simply hate guns, but I hope this doesn't turn into another round of bashing gun owners and failing to figure out what may really be behind the problems.
No matter how it works out in Seattle, I'm finding myself glad to be living in Sunnyside. We may disagree on methods, but there is a strong core of people here who want to stop violence and are working on concrete solutions.
We need to keep up our efforts. We need to stand together and work together as a community. We need to change the aspects of our culture that let gangs and violence flourish here.
Let's not wait until we, too, build an impromptu memorial to our dead before we gather and talk.