Yesterday evening a man was shot at Woodland Park, with a suspect still at large. The SPD Blotter reports the following:
“North Precinct officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 6000 Block of Aurora Avenue North. Officers located in a parking lot an adult male who had been shot several times. The male was transported to Harborview Medical Center with life threatening injuries.”
To me, this serves as a reminder that the Woodland Park we usually see from the zoo side isn’t the Woodland Park that some others know. About three or four evenings a week and on weekend mornings, I walk my dog through the backwoods of Woodland Park (while it’s still light out). I like to do this because unlike Green Lake, I rarely run into other people and can get some peace and quiet. And I’ve come to accept that a lot of homeless people sleep in/occupy the picnic shelters in that area, and that a lot of cars pull into the back parking lots in what looks like drug deals. I do see SPD drive through occasionally, keeping an eye on things, but Woodland Park isn’t a warm and fuzzy as the rabbits that live there.
With the shooting happening so close to Green Lake, I’ve already seen Twitter and Facebook posts saying things like, “well, I’m certainly not running around there anymore” and “now I don’t feel safe to go to the park.” But that is NOT THE ANSWER. Because the less we’re out and about as a visual deterrent, the more the ‘bad guys’ win. We have to stick together. We have to watch out for ourselves and be alert and aware of our surroundings, but we can’t hide inside.
I’m not going to let the shooting scare me away from Woodland Park. I’m going to be proactive and carry pepper spray from here on out, and take my usual route around the trails and jogging paths. I’m going to refrain from using my iPod while I walk or run at night, and I’m going to continue to wear reflective clothing and put a blinking light on my dog. I’m going to let my friends know where I’m going at all times, and encourage others to come with me. And I’m going to win.