A man was shot and killed last night in downtown Seattle. It happened on 2nd and Pike, a block away from the Pike Place Market.
Was it a drug deal gone bad? We think of episodes of the Wire. Was alcohol involved? Was it a gang thing?
Why did this happen in our peaceful city?
Was it some kind of fight? Did they know each other? Was it an argument over a girl, a car, a football game?
How can this be not about me, but about the victim and the shooter? We don't want to believe we live in a city where random shootings just happen. Random violence is terrifying. The universe must have a plan. Things must happen for a reason.
Why did he get shot? Was he in the wrong place at the wrong time? 2nd and Pike isn't the most savory part of town. There are lots of shady characters hanging around there. Maybe he deserved it.
Maybe it was his fault.
Maybe this has nothing to do with me, with our city, with our society. Maybe this was all about him.
I know I'm not the only one who has these thoughts flooding into his head. It's ugly, but that's the way we think, in a civil society. We want to have a reason for violence that makes it about The Other, about something else. Because the alternative - that violence happens suddenly, inexplicably, unpredictably - is too terrifying to bear.