July 28, 2006

War at Some Remove

I SIT BEHIND a shaded window in a small bungalow on top of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. It's a smooth summer day. It began chill but warmed. In front of my porch, the lawn sprinkler makes slow sweeps. Across the street, the school playground plays host to a pick-up game of half-court basketball and a passel of kids on bikes and skateboards, all protected by the helmets and pads modern American parents feel compelled to encumber their children with; that no fall should result in a bruise or a scrape or a moment's discomfort to otherwise mar their standard "perfect" childhood in our standard broken home. It is as if we knew that, not being able to protect our children from our own selfish self-absorption, we have compensated by protecting them from falls.

Pulling back closer to the room in which I work long days, my porch has three large hanging ferns framing a flag and a porch swing....

That was as far as I got in writing about how strange it is to be Editor-in-Chief working with my colleagues to cover the MidEast War for Pajamas Media at this distant idyllic remove when this came through:

seattleshoot2.jpg A Seattle Police officer aims a gun at the scene of a shooting in downtown Seattle.

17:55 PDT "I'm a Muslim-American. I'm angry at Isreal."
At least one killed during shooting at Seattle Jewish federation. One person in custody

Medics rush an injured woman from the scene of a shooting in downtown Seattle, Friday, July 28, 2006.

At least five people were shot - one fatally - this afternoon at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle by a man a witness said was upset about "what was going on in Israel."

Shooter arrested. Said to be a Pakistani male with a criminal history. Short press conference. Police declare building clear. FBI on scene. Blocks of downtown Seattle sealed. Police holding workers inside buildings until sure of safety.(Seattle PI)


UPDATE: Radio reports six shot. One killed. Five wounded.

UPDATE: Seattle Times reports: "At least three victims were women, according Seattle Fire Department medics. Their names haven't been released, but one woman, described as 43, had been shot in the abdomen. The age of a second shooting victim was not available, but police said she was 17 weeks pregnant. She had been shot in the arm."

That's what made me drop made me drop the essay. At that point I had to shift over to Pajamas Media and, with the rest of my team, pull that item together, and continue reporting on the MidEast war.

A war that has, as war will, come home at last. Or perhaps, remembering the morning in September when I stood on the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights when the Towers fell, a war that is just coming around again.

Posted by Vanderleun at July 28, 2006 6:22 PM
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