Tacoma Has Forgotten

Written by Scott

Topics: Uncategorized

Sept. 23, 1989…a day that should have lived in infamy in Tacoma. On that day, a group of off-duty Army Rangers engaged drug-selling gangsters. Over 300 shots were fired, and fortunately nobody was killed.

The News Tribune published some great articles about it last fall, here and here.

The event took place because Tacoma would not respond to the problem. Many have called it the catalyst for reform in Tacoma policies, yet it should never have happened.

Ironically, one of those News Tribune articles wrote:

Along the way, police learned what was to become conventional law enforcement wisdom: that keeping close tabs on the small stuff is an effective way to control the big stuff.

Unfortunately, Tacoma seems to have forgotten this lesson. In a major way.

We’ve lived here in South Tacoma for 11+ years…and during that time we’ve had cars broken into, we’ve had cars hit by hit-and-run drunk drivers (twice, with one being totaled), and we’ve had windows smashed out. We even had a stroller stolen off our porch (that we recovered from a consignment store)…and during that time, only one time was there a response by the police. And that was probably only because our car was hit so hard that it was in the neighbor’s yard. We’re so used to this response that we’d stopped reporting things for many years.

Until the drug dealing. Enough is enough.

I understand the dispatching is running through LESA, and I understand that Tacoma has very little control. I understand that agencies are dealing with budget cuts. I understand that officers are often overrun by reports.I understand that the people I’ve talked to in the Police Department and City Council are probably doing what they can, but they have to operate within the system as it is. But here’s the thing: in the end–in the bigger picture–none of that matters. The reasons, the policies, the excuses…none of that is going to protect my property or my family, nor is it going to pay the $500 deductible of what will probably end up being a $1500-$2000 repair bill.

Ultimately, in the absence of action by the police, it is not only my right, but my moral duty to protect my property and my family. As written in one of the articles about 1989…

Law-abiding citizens don’t take matters into their own hands until they’ve lost faith that police and city officials will help. The shootout is the cautionary tale that should ensure that the city continues to take neighborhood concerns seriously.

Tacoma: you have forgotten this lesson…it is time to take issues like ours seriously, and not just in words.

PS Let me clarify: I am not writing, either explicitly or implicitly, that our situation would devolve into something similar to 1989. I’m too passive-aggressive for that kind of action. Read into that what you will.

  • MOVE!!! If people start fleeing the city then the tax revenues will plumet and they'll have to take notice. Money speaks. 🙁

  • Like the previous comment my first thought was to simply move. But, then again, that is not so simple is it? I can not imagine what going through all of this is like. My gut tells me that more and more are justice system will fail us. Cut the waste in government and do what government should do — PROTECT US!!