U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- He is 24 years old, moved to Seattle five years ago from Florida, often rides the bus to work and because he has personally witnessed the Jet City deteriorate from a dynamic and growing metropolis to a city saddled with rising crime, a growing homeless population and an apparent clueless municipal government, he now carries a gun.
He made that clear during a brief interview that appeared on KOMO news, the local ABC affiliate, following a fire at a homeless camp near his workplace in the city’s Ballard district.
So far this year, the city has had more than 30 homicides (last year’s body count was 52), the police department has lost more than 250 officers to retirement or lateral transfer to other, friendlier agencies, and for Wyatt Lange, who works across from one of the city’s unsavory homeless encampments, the day he was accosted by a would-be robber was a turning point. After an interview (at 21 minutes into the broadcast) with popular morning drive-time talk host John Carlson at Seattle’s KVI-AM, Ammoland reached out.
Lange, a California native, has lived in several places around the country, including upstate New York and Florida, before coming to Seattle with his parents following his graduation from high school in the Sunshine State.
“When I first arrived here,” he told Ammoland, “I felt just as comfortable as I did in Florida and New York. But I’ve noticed more and more violence, with friends and with me, personally.”
He has had to defend himself or someone else more than once. On one of those occasions, he actually came to the aid of a woman who was in danger near a bus stop. In another incident, he was accosted by two men armed with knives, he said, causing him to draw his pistol and hold it at low ready before both men fled. Lange said he didn’t call police on those occasions.
“I never owned a gun until October of last year,” he recalled. “I bought a Glock 19 Gen 5 and a Ruger 5.56 (rifle).”
He had been trying to get a concealed pistol license since October, but because the Seattle Police Department and King County Sheriff’s Department had both used the COVID-19 as a reason to “suspend” the process of accepting CPL applications over a period of several months—a decision for which there is no provision in state statute—he could not even get on a waiting list until earlier this year. Then he had to wait until late spring to submit his application, and finally in July he got his license.
He took firearms and concealed carry training at a gun range in Everett, several miles north of where he lives, near the North Precinct of the Seattle Police Department.
According to updated information from the state Department of Licensing, there are now 98,171 active CPLs in King County. The breakdown includes 76,734 men and 21,300 women. At the end of August, there were 97,774 active licenses in the county, which encompasses Seattle. Now that both the police and sheriff’s departments are once again accepting CPL applications, which require fingerprinting, the number is creeping upward with no sign it will plateau anytime soon.
Washington has the highest number of resident CPLs of any western state, more than 639,000, up more than 3,000 since Aug. 31.
Lange told Ammoland his impression of Seattle has changed dramatically.
“The quirky, beautiful, fun city I used to love is dead,” he lamented. “I used to hang out on Capitol Hill, but a lot of the places I liked to go are gone. They’re just not there anymore.
“The city has become increasingly hostile,” he continued. “People are more careful and cold-shouldered. A lot of my smarter friends have left already for Arizona, Florida, Alaska; just out of state. Almost every single time, it’s regards to safety.”
Another disturbing trend is the unwillingness of people to not come to the aid of others.
“No one else steps in,” Lange explained. “It might be a combination of (worrying about) being portrayed some way on social media, losing their jobs, potential legal trouble. I do understand it, but it doesn’t feel right just to let evil happen in front of you. Compliance is not a strategy.”
Over the past 19 months, Seattle has lost more than 250 commissioned officers, thanks in large part to lack of support from the politically far-left city council, which seems to have sided with the “Defund Police” movement that erupted in 2020 in the aftermath of the George Floyd incident in Minneapolis. For nearly a month last summer, anarchist protesters occupied a six-square-block area called the CHOP (for “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest”) zone, including the police department’s East Precinct. With police essentially kept out of the area due to politics, there were two murders in what otherwise is a normally quiet part of the city.
Lange remembers it well.
“People were protesting, waving communist flags, dressed in all black,” he said.
Then came the attempted robbery.
“It was that moment I decided that I need to be armed,” he said.
Ammoland reached out to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office for comment but did not receive an immediate reply.
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