On Tuesday, 10/03/17, I was gathering signatures on various sidewalk areas of downtown Seattle for i940. I do not know enough to know if I940 is good or bad; I gather signatures as much for fun and joy as for a small bit of pay or helping the political process. I940 eliminates the requirement to prove malice for some prosecutions of misuse of firearm by an officer; the question is, what is best and I do not know. Persons who are former police, former military police, out of uniform or related to officers tend to not sign.
I was wearing, as I now sometimes do, my katana. At my first sidewalk area there were 2 women who signed the petition and then asked about the katana, and while we were discussing that, another woman joined us, also asking about the katana, and if I went to martial class anywhere and whom I knew.
I wear my katana with a white belt of a gi, because the white belt helps hold the katana in place . . . but because I am wearing a white belt, a significant part of the people who see me guess correctly that I have been to a martial arts studio, even though my study has been very minimal and sporadic.
This third woman then shared a bit of her life and one of her relatives taught kung fu in Boise Idaho and he had taught her for several months when she was younger.
And when she was 19 years old she was at Western Washington University and was subjected to an attempted rape by a football player.
The football player placed her in a headlock of some type and outweighed her by about 100 pounds. Per previous instruction from her teachers, she moved her chin down and in and moved back into the guy, resulting in her in fact escaping from the headlock and the guy falling downwards and forwards and she kicked him several times.
Shortly afterwards, the Bellingham police visited her to check her out. She was fine other than some nasty bruising on her neck area. The guy she helped to fall to the ground and stomp had, just previously, raped 3 other women and she was the first of the several women to not be raped and her defense resulted in the man’s capture. She also said that she was the only one of the four to have fought back, though not fighting back is somewhat understandable in the other cases, since the man had a knife he had used to menace his victims and he tended to outweigh his victims.
If you are a member of the media and wish to speak with this woman, she gave me her contact information with permission to contact.
At this bus stop, shortly after this conversation, a mom was with 3 kids and the kids were very intrigued with the sword and I let them see the sword and hold it briefly.
The mom and kids then caught a bus which arrived without us having much more than a minute or two to interact; if we had had more time, I would have taken the photo of one of the kids who in fact requested and suggested it! . . . and sometime, on one of these visits, I’ll ask the kid if he knows what to do if he encounters a gun and why, i.e. avoid touching it. On this occasion, the three kids included a girl and I think that this was the first time that a girl has held the sword. It is usually boys who ask and want to see and/or hold the sword.
Some parents have kids and at some point kids are home alone. I suppose one question is whether kids home alone should have a weapon available, and if so, what?
People normally think not or do not think of the topic, but it was in the news several weeks ago that a 17-year-old girl used the gun of her parents to stop an intruder . . . and several years ago, in California, a drug-crazed intruder entered a home with several kids home and killed several of them, although the kids knew enough to have shot the guy, if they had had access to the home firearm, or to have fought, if they had had another weapon. Kids had in fact shot the gun of the parents while being taught. They had no other suitable weapon and the firearms were locked up and several kids were killed with a pitchfork by the intruder. By Seattle law, a kid under 18 can’t possess a fixed-bladed knife or a sword or a knife with blade of length longer than 3.5 inches unless under the direct supervision of an adult.
Should there be swords at home for at home use? I don’t know, but there are stories of intruders in the news and not everyone will have a gun or have access to a gun.
On Monday, 10/02/17, I was at a different sidewalk; I was at 3rd and Virginia, while also wearing my katana. I was gathering signatures and a person was signing and in the reflection of my glasses I see behind me the blue and red lights of a patrol car flashing while the patrol car is pulling up or has pulled up. The person finishes his or her signature. I turn and look toward the lights and there are 3 SPD patrol cars stacked up, one each in front of the other, all with lights flashing, from the NE corner of the intersection and moving towards the bus stop area. There was no vehicle in front of them being stopped for a traffic law violation.
I was not sure if they were there to chat with me or for some other purpose; presumably 3 patrol cars might have officers normal to speak with a person of greater difficulty or hazard than usual, but less than for an active shooter.
The patrol cars were there for what seemed to be a minute, lights flashing, with no officers visibly leaving their vehicles. Then, their lights all turned off and each made u-turns and left our area, without officers having visibly spoken to any members of the public.
Later that day I checked the Seattle online crime map for that intersection and spot. There was no 911 response listed for that intersection or spot for that time of day; there was a 911 (or other response) for drug activity listed on the map about six hours earlier.
So, you wonder or I wonder if there is some guy or gal who was not distinguishing an unsheathed sword from a sword in its sheath . . . or if several officers came for simple good measure to view the sheathed sword and turned lights on to activate the dash cam and manifest heightened awareness, or if they had some other purpose unrelated to me.
On one hand, if there had been a 911 call, you would expect there to be a little mark on the online crime map. If there was no 911 call or health hazard requiring first aid, why would 3 SPD patrol vehicles stop and remain on a busy downtown street, not in a parking space, around 5 p.m., with lights flashing?
In any case, no guns drawn and no sword drawn and no persons menaced with weapons.