The ATONEMENT for Seattle's Fat Tuesday Non-event.

Beginning with the WTO fiasco in '99, Seattle has become the destination of choice for new age rioters, and Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) 2/27/01 was no exception. The revelers warmed up over the preceeding weekend, with the police gearing up with over 200 officers poised in riot gear, and not wanting to be caught all dressed up with no place to go, Mayor Paul Schell's police minions played their parts well. Sunday evening ended in a melee of rocks, bottles, pepper spray, stingers and pepper balls.

As the revelers congregated on Fat Tuesday night, they were confronted with 325 riot control officers in the traditional gathering area, the Pioneer Square neighborhood. With the exception of some skirmishes and injuries sufffered on both sides of the barricades, the night ended with no major rioting. No massive release of tension, no lock step street sweeps and running riots, such as we've become accustomed to here in the Emerald City.

No running battles spilling over into the urban family neighborhoods. No baton exercising by the police, no extensive looting and property damage by the native revelers, or the "out of state hooligans" (Paul Schell).

My considered opinion is that SOMETHING HAD TO GIVE. We all know it's the age of the new age. All those vibes, all that tension and no real RELEASE. Where would all of that astral energy manifest itself?

Wednesday morning at 10:55, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake, centered approx. 40 miles south of Seattle rolled through the entire region. A deep quake (over 30 miles deep), the damage, although initially expected to run into the billions, is a fraction of what can typically be expected from a quake of this magnitude. At this time, 6 hours after the quake, the reports are that only about 100 people have sustained injuries and no reported deaths. If the same magnitude quake were shallow, the damage and casualties would be expected to be catastrophic.

Here's my theory: Obviously, the convictions on both sides of the ongoing Seattle fiasco are half hearted and factionalized. It's not the sixties and Kent State. It's not Watts. It's not the 1968 democratic convention. It's public demonstration for the sake of public demonstration for shits and giggles. It's public show of municipal force with no clear political or moral vision.

The connection is clear. If the conviction and dedication to the "cause" were deep rooted on both sides, it would have been a shallow quake, and pioneer square would now look like Dresden after the firestorm.

It was a hell of a quake, yet it passed through the area like a benevolent wake-up call. The message is obvious: Get with it people, if you want a real police presence in the streets, if you want to see massive property damage, then we have to learn to commit. No more of these candy assed, namby pamby '90's cum '00's public displays! Remember the SLA!

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