On Sunday, Seattle’s Café Racer hosted a concert to raise awareness about gun violence. Emotions were strong, especially after Friday’s mass shooting in Burlington.
Seattle’s Café Racer on Roosevelt is home to a bohemian crowd of artists and musicians. It’s also home to memories of the shooting in 2012 that left five people dead plus the shooter. On Sunday patrons were also mourning the state’s latest mass shooting, at the mall in Burlington.
The café’s owner Kurt Geissel says when he hears these headlines, he feels what he calls “extreme empathy” for all the people affected.
Geissel: “I can … I can feel what people go through … my shrink says if you obsess about it, it becomes a problem. I don’t want that to happen.”
Geissel says he hopes there’s room for reasonable actions to stop gun violence. He hoped this weekend’s concerts would be one step. Then he received a threatening letter for hosting the event. There were police nearby as the concert got started. Organizers say some artists canceled because they were scared to play.
One of the people onstage was Courtney Weaver. She was shot in 2010 by her fiancée. She told the crowd that every new shooting makes her feel hopeless and terrible.
Weaver: “But one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t let fear run your life.”
She says she’s found that music is one of the best ways to shift culture and bring people hope. Another man at the concert says he misses his friends and continues to struggle with their deaths. But he finds solace in the community that remains.