Guest post by Filiz Satir
On May 30, 2012, a disgruntled Seattle man opened fire inside Seattle’s Café Racer, eventually killing four of the five people he shot. Later that day, the gunman made his way to Seattle’s First Hill where he shot and killed a Seattle woman and stole her vehicle. Hours later, he fatally shot himself.
For days after the May 30 shooting in Seattle that took the lives of four Café Racer patrons, grieving friends, family, and strangers made pilgrimage to the lime green and gray brick building. Floral bouquets, a foot deep, blanketed the length of the building. Taped notes and letters, poems and drawings covered the windows and doors. Artists and musicians held day processions and evening vigils to remember their friends.
Daily memorializing and nightly rituals were a spontaneous, necessary, and natural way for a community to express its grief and pay respects to five individuals who were gunned down inside the Seattle café and performance venue. What happened in the University District that May morning was random, brutal, and utterly senseless. There are no words to adequately describe the shooting deaths or the depth of pain caused by this act of violence. For the community, the healing process will be ongoing. For those closest to the deceased, recovering will be a life-long endeavor.
How does a community and, in particular, the friends and family of Café Racer victims recover from the horror of multiple shooting deaths? Perhaps the wisdom of conservationist and author Rachel Carson gives us a place to start. In The Sense of Wonder, Carson writes:
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”