Seattle

Good News About Bad News That Brought Interesting News

When you need good news, there is no better place to look than bad news, because then pretty much any news that isn’t all that bad of bad news starts sounding like good news.

Julia MarquandNever mind. Update time. Specifically, Anna Minard brings the update:

The man accused of groping a Seattle woman near Westlake Mall last week has now been charged by the Seattle City Attorney with one count of Assault with Sexual Motivation, a gross misdemeanor, according to the City Attorney’s Office. The man will be arraigned tomorrow morning. He has a previous conviction for a felony Assault with Sexual Motivation from 2011.

Anything we might add, at this time, would only … never mind. Shutting up, now.

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Minard, Anna. “Man Charged With Assault in Connection With Alleged Westlake Groping”. Slog. 23 October 2014.

An Appeal

I think, therefore you are.

I need to step out of any pretense of character, but it is most important to stress that this is not supposed to be about me.

If you have five minutes to spare, I would ask that you take a bit over four and a half of them to watch Rachel Maddow’s report and commentary about the shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. There is a bit to take in, but the segment includes a point about readiness, and regardless of what you think about how Maddow makes the point—I’m aware many just flat don’t like what she has to say, or how she says it, and so on—the key word is readiness.

Geographic proximity is always a bit rattling when these atrocities occur. And this time it was really close; my daughter does not attend Marysville schools, but that is beside the point. The only reason the two-town hop to Marysville seems like a long drive is because traffic through Everett is often plain obnoxious.

But this is not about fear. This is just the horror and revulsion, and yes, it seems a fairly reliable human behavior that proximity increases the magnitude of those sickening sensations. Let that say what it will.

But this is where it gets weird.

There are a handful of people in this area for whom this was the second jolt in a week.

Nobody died, but this was Wednesday for anyone who reads The Stranger, a weekly newspaper in Seattle:

Who the fuck calls in a bomb threat at GeekGirlCon?

And then one might wonder, “I’m sorry, what? How is it only now that I’m hearing about this?”

For BoingBoing readers, the news came a day earlier:

I didn’t feel safe going into GeekGirlCon. Hours earlier, Game developer Brianna Wu had tweeted about the threats she’d received, about calling the police, about sleeping somewhere else.

Just thinking about it made it hard to sleep. The next day, I was almost late to game critic Anita Sarkeesian’s opening panel, and was one of the last to be let in. There had been a bomb threat, of course, though we wouldn’t know about it until afterwards. They searched our bags.

Either way, there are a few people who experienced a very strange silence in their chests: My daughter was there, damn it!

And it is possible to skip denial, fleeing desperately into rationalization. It is not mine to suggest the threat was treated lightly. True, #GamerGate and its merry miscreant tagalongsα have yet to actually muster the will to follow through on their threats, but that really is not a fate worth tempting. It is enough to know the issue was handled well by conference personnel and local law enforcement. Something about readiness probably goes here.

In the end, it is tempting to skip anger according to the principle of whether it is really worth it to waste the energy of being angry.

Which in turn would seem to leave but a few basic questions that one might dare hope would have some useful purpose:

• What, exactly, is going on here?

• Why is this happening?

• How is this happening?

• What needs to happen in order to change what is happening?

• Please?

The worst thing that could happen now is that we don’t learn anything.

This is going to keep happening. What are we going to do about that?

Please?

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α The dust that followed the dog that followed the horse they rode in on.

Broom, Jack. “Wounded girls identified in Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting”. The Seattle Times. 25 October 2014.

Maddow, Rachel. “Gun-wielding student shocks Washington school”. The Rachel maddow Show. 24 October 2014.

Anonymous. “You Can’t Keep a GeekGirl Down”. The Stranger. 22 October 2014.

Dieker, Nicole. “GeekGirlCon is an oasis of acceptance”. BoingBoing. 21 October 2014.

Your Tweet of the Day

Meanwhile, in other news about the #GamerGate terror movement, we might look to The Stranger, an alternative tabloid newspaper in Seattle, where an anonymous contributor to the weekly column, “I, Anonymous”, asks the obvious question:

Who the fuck calls in a bomb threat at GeekGirlCon?

The rest of the rant is worth a read.

And in case you might be wondering what GeekGirlCon means, you can always check out their website. Or perhaps peruse Nicole Dieker’s review of this year’s event. Meanwhile, the countdown is on. 351 days until GGC’15.

The soul of #GamerGate.To the other, if you’re wondering what #GamerGate means, Clickhole recently attempted to explain the issue to readers, and, frankly, we’ve a couple of bits in our own archive. But setting aside our own egos, the Clickhole version is the least stomach-churning explanation for what’s going on.

The bottom line, though, is that Jack-o’Dantern, being a masculine-sounding name, is in pretty good shape when it comes to cracking wise about #GamerGate. So are we at This Is. That is to say, we’re men. And #GamerGate, as much as they like threatening to rape women to death, is afraid to fight with other men. Presently, the best guess is that their delusions include some manner of belief that other men support them. And why not? So far, the software industry has been pretty quiet; it would be bad for business to piss off gamers.

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Jack-o’Dantern. “I’m not associated with Gamer Gate”. Twitter. 23 October 2014.

Anonymous. “You Can’t Keep a GeekGirl Down”. The Stranger. 22 October 2014.

Dieker, Nicole. “GeekGirlCon is an oasis of acceptance”. BoingBoing. 21 October, 2014.

“A Summary Of The Gamergate Movement That We Will Immediately Change If Any Of Its Members Find Any Details Objectionable”. Clickhole. 22 October 2014.

Stuart, Keith. “Brianna Wu and the human cost of Gamergate: ‘every woman I know in the industry is scared'”. The Guardian 17 October 2014.

Why the Seattle Police Department is a Disgrace

There are a number of lectures that many might suggest go here, but virtually all of them are actually unnecessary, and thereby condescending.

You might recall that recently we noted that a woman had to shame the Seattle Police Department into doing their jobs, and how when they finally did they figured out they were looking for a serial sex offender.

The Seattle TimesA level 3 sex offender whose alleged groping of a Seattle woman on Oct. 12 resulted in a social media campaign to have police investigate the incident may be responsible for more than a dozen similar incidents, police said.

Seattle police on Tuesday said that more than a dozen women have contacted the Sexual Assault Unit to report that they had been groped by the same man, said department spokesman Drew Fowler. “Twelve to fourteen women have come forward to say that he also groped them,” said Fowler.

We owe great thanks to Julia Marquand, whose courageous efforts finally spurred the Seattle Police Department into doing their damn jobs.

And as to the lectures? There’s really only one left, and it’s pretty short:

Dear SPD:

Do your damn jobs, for once. You know, as opposed to bawling because you can’t be criminals.

The Seattle Police Department is an embarrassment not only to the Emerald City and Evergreen State, but to the police officers and departments, indeed the mere idea of the police, everywhere.

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de Leon, John. “Alleged Westlake groper accused of more than a dozen similar attacks”. The Seattle Times. 21 October 2014.

Johnson, Gene. “Judge tosses lawsuit by Seattle police officers”. KOMO News. 20 October 2014.

Seattle’s “Finest”

The idea that one must embarrass a police department into doing its job might seem … what, shocking? Distressing? Ridiculous? (gulp!) Normal?

Welcome to Seattle.

Christine Clarridge of The Seattle Times reports:

Marquand decided to file a police report since she had the man’s photo and thought the incident should be on the record.

The Seattle TimesBut when she went to the Seattle Police Department’s West Precinct and asked to make a report, the female officer at the front desk seemed uninterested and told Marquand it was unlikely the man could be charged.

The officer, however, took down the basic details.

“Then she asked me to describe his appearance and I’m like, ‘But I have the photo right here, do you want to see it at least?’ and she didn’t even want to see it,” Marquand said.

She finally persuaded the officer to look at the photo.

Marquand came away from the encounter completely dissatisfied. That’s when she decided to turn to social media.

On Monday, she posted the man’s photo on her Twitter and Facebook accounts, saying, “This dude groped me in Seattle yesterday. Cops didn’t want the pic.”

In her tweet, she mentioned SPD’s Twitter handle and that of a few media outlets.

Within a few hours, Seattle police contacted Marquand and said her case, along with the alleged groper’s photo, had been assigned to a detective.

Police spokesman Drew Fowler said Tuesday it wasn’t the tweet itself that caused police to re-evaluate her case, but rather it alerted the department to a “deficiency” in the way her case was handled.

The litany of shame surrounding the Seattle Police Department is obscene.

(more…)

Armchair Political Theatre

The House has hired a new lawyer to prosecute its lawsuit against President Obama after previous counsel bowed out, citing political pressure, the House Administration Committee confirmed on Friday (David M. Drucker, 19 September 2014)

The question does arise at some point whether anybody but the wonks and politigeeks are paying attention. And a notion does mutter and creep about insinuating all manner of analogy ‘twixt political talk radio and sports radio. But setting aside the elderly woman who once railed against local sports radio hosts because laughing at the idea of stock car racing—Go fast! Turn left!—was somehow akin to “what happened to the ‘Coloreds'”, there is a different sort of comparison. That is to say, one might have far more associates who listen to sports radio without ever calling in, but discuss various issues with enthusiasm and detail verging on the excruciating. They might not be calling in to compare NASCAR to the Civil Rights movement, but they will talk their favorite teams and leagues as if the soul of the world depends on whether or not this or that trade makes sense, or the subtleties of whether this power-hitting manager knows how to handle his pitchers.

Try it this way: Once you move beyond that majority portion of the audience who just, say, learned Roger Goodell’s name this month, or found that American pro sports leagues have ‘commissioners’, you might find some who are willing to give you an in-depth analysis of, for instance, how David Stern screwed Seattle twice, or what the NBA commissioner has to do with the politics of getting an NHL franchise in the Emerald City.

Imagine if people paid that kind of attention to public affairs. No slam dunks, merely metaphorical five-holes, and considerably less domestic violence; public affairs just aren’t sexy … well, unless there’s a sex scandal going on.

But to the armchair wonks, David M. Drucker’s lede for the Washington Examiner last Friday is hilarious:

The House has hired a new lawyer to prosecute its lawsuit against President Obama after previous counsel bowed out, citing political pressure, the House Administration Committee confirmed on Friday.

It is, to a degree, jaw-dropping news. Then again, the drooling astonishment is really more of a cumulative effect.

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The State of Modern Journalism

According to one Mark Higgins, Metro Editor for The Seattle Times, you’re only allowed to link to his newspaper’s stories if you are going to praise the newspaper.

If you find one of our stories that doesn’t agree with your obvious and stated bias, plse., don’t link to it.

That, at least, is according to Dominic Holden, of Seattle’s weekly The Stranger.

To the other, it should be noted that the part of the blog post Higgins is complaining about isn’t the part about one of his coworkers getting arrested for posting child pornography via Flickr.

In this case, it’s a more complicated kind of stupidity. See, Higgins is upset because Holden’s editorial outlook happens to differ from that of The Seattle Times, which in turn tries to pass off as news such thinly-veiled propaganda pieces—intended to bolster its own editorial outlook—as Lynn Thompson kindly provided.

In other words, if your editorial outlook disagrees with The Seattle Times, you need to leave that poor, defenseless, emotionally fragile newspaper alone.

(A note for Mr. Higgins: Look, man, everyone has their own editorial outlook. But one way to make people suspicious is for an alleged journalist—i.e., a newspaper’s Metro Editor—to complain about “obvious and stated bias”. After all, The Times has its own obvious and stated editorial bias, and has embarrassed itself before in pursuit of that bias. So, you know, dude, just chill out. Really. What is anyone supposed to think when you tell people who disagree with you to leave you alone?)