What's in a name? (maybe some uncomfortable history): Today So Far
- The Seattle Audubon Society is dropping "Audubon" from its name.
- Kirkland police have taken in 151 guns in exchange for more than $18,000 in gift cards this summer.
- Overall crime in Washington is down ... but violent crime is up.
This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for July 22, 2022.
The Seattle Audubon Society is changing its name. What it will eventually be called ... that's still to be determined. What is known is that "Audubon" will be dropped. The Seattle birding group voted to change its name this month after considering the history of the name it honors. John James Audubon is known for his work in ornithology and for spurring a love of nature in 1800s America. He also owned, sold, and bought enslaved African Americans through his general store in Kentucky. It was part of his business. And he was very anti-abolition.
This character doesn't align with the values of the modern birding organization, so the Seattle chapter is nixing the name. No word yet on what it will eventually be called. While they are brainstorming a new title, I have a few recommendations:
- "The Seattle Awesome Society." I'm a bird nerd, but let's be honest, some folks don't see the appeal of bird watching and conservation. This kicks things up a notch, plus they can keep the same SAS acronym.
- "Seattle Bird Nerds." Nerds rule the world now. Lean into it.
- "Birds and brews." The Northwest has lots of birds and lots of beers. Why not put them together?
- "The Murie Society." Margaret Murie may have made a mark in Alaska and spent a lot of time in Wyoming, but she was born in Seattle. Murie was an important figure in the work for the Wilderness Act and establishing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She was given awards from the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club, and also received the Medal of Freedom. Murie reportedly spent her honeymoon bird watching. And members could be called "Mardys," which is the name she went by.
So far this summer, the Kirkland Police Department has paid out more than $18,000 in gift cards, in exchange for guns. KPD's Gift Cards for Guns program has held two events — one in June and one this week. Between the two events, Kirkland police have taken in 151 firearms that are now slated for destruction. Depending on the type of gun that was turned in, residents received a Visa gift card worth between $25 and $250. KPD plans to hold a third event in September.
These events come after crime rates have risen in Washington state. Actually, it's more accurate to stay that violent crime has spiked in our state. Overall crime rates (everything added up) have actually declined, mostly due to drops in fraud, property crimes, and others. There was a 12.3% increase in violent crime over 2021, however, and a record number of murders (325). Hate crimes also went up.
This issue can be easily witnessed via the recent weekend of shootings we just had. The King County Prosecutor's Office noticed a rise in such crimes over 2020 and 2021. Though more recently, it has also noticed a change in the age demographic of suspects, which has shifted to older populations. The prosecutor's office also reports that guns are becoming more common among domestic violence incidents.
“They’ve nearly doubled every year," KCPO Analyst Rafael Serrano said. "Last year was a record for us in terms of our total domestic violence related gun violence incidents and this year is on pace to pass that so far.”
AS SEEN ON KUOW
Some businesses have been paying to have the pollution-prevention devices illegally removed from their diesel trucks to boost their performance. The Washington Attorney General's office says it's caught at least three companies in Clark County trying to do an end-run around the pollution-control devices on their diesel trucks. Read more here. (Associated Press)
DID YOU KNOW?
"Ornithology" is the word we use for the scientific study of birds, partially because my term of "bird nerd" is not warmly accepted by everyone. Like most brainy words in our society, "ornithology" is Latin and basically translates to "bird science." In ancient Greek, it was "ornithologia."
"Ornitho" was Greek for bird. Logos (logy) means the study of something, or science.
ALSO ON OUR MINDS
"This man of unbridled destructive energy could not be moved, not by his aides, not by his allies, not by the violent chants of rioters, or the desperate pleas of those facing down the rioters," said Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., during Thursday's prime-time hearing.