Sunday, May 27, 2012

Justin Ferrari’s death IS a Madison Park story

Commentary by Bryan Tagas

This senseless shooting did not take place within our neighborhood, and the innocent victim of the crime did not live in Madison Park.  Yet the scene of the tragedy was close by and familiar to most of us, and the murdered man himself lived just a stone’s throw away. Both he and his family were known to many here in the Park.

Though elements of this story may have been familiar, the otherworld outcome—a random killing of an innocent in broad daylight—certainly is not. The death of Justin Ferrari on Thursday afternoon has us reeling.  Like Danny Westneat, as documented in his excellent front-page column in The Seattle Times today, many are thinking, “It could have been me.”

I was gently prodded by several neighbors yesterday to write about the shooting, even though there has been plenty of major-media coverage. “This killing is the only thing anyone here is talking about,” a friend told me. “You need to say something about it.” This story is both proximate (close in time and space) and particularly chilling for those of us who had come to look upon the Central Area as just another neighboring community.  Now we’re thinking differently.

What has changed?  Someone from around here, a Madrona neighbor, was gunned down while doing something any of us might have been doing ourselves. “This is not a case of someone driving through the Central Area at 1:30 in the morning,“ a Washington Park resident told me yesterday, “this is a daytime trip I myself make all the time.”

I can remember growing up in Seattle at a time when, unless you lived there or had to go there for some compelling reason, you were advised to avoid the Central Area.  I suspect this was an exaggerated precaution, not borne out by the reality of “danger” in that community.  But it was the perception of many, including my parents.

When I arrived in Madison Park ten years ago, it hardly occurred to me not to drive to or through what is now the Central District.  But given last week’s incident, I’m certain the thought will now cross my mind, however fleetingly.  The route and destination choices of Madison Parkers have undoubtedly been impacted by the shock of Thursday’s crime.

I did not personally know Justin Ferrari, but I’m told he was a wonderful person, a family man, and a good neighbor. I went online today to check out his profile on Linkedin, the business social-media website, and was surprised to discover that he and I actually had had a third-degree relationship: some of his “connections” were connected to some of my “connections”.

I may not have been directly connected to Justin in life, but by the manner of his death and my reaction to it, I certainly feel directly connected to him now.

[Thanks to the Central District News for the reference to Justin Ferrari's Linkedin page. Profile photo from Linkedin.]

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting something about this. I read all of the blogs in the central & south seattle areas since madison park people have to go outside of their leafy area to work, school, shop etc,


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