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Another election, another round of conspiracy-embracing candidates: Today So Far

  • Another election, and another round of conspiracy theory-embracing candidates have cropped up around Washington state.
  • Local actors, writers teaching veterans to tell their stories
  • Inquest into police killing of Charleena Lyles begins.

This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for June 22, 2022.

In 2013, actor Tom Skerritt called a friend, writer Shawn Wong, and told him a startling statistic — 22 soldiers and veterans were dying from suicide each day.

"When we did a little more investigation, we found that family members as well as members of the military said that no one was listening to their story," Wong said. "So Tom gathered together some of his friends, some of us are screen writers or novelists, and said, 'Well, we know how to teach storytelling. So let's teach them how to tell a story.'"

A veteran storytelling effort emerged, based near JBLM in Washington state. It is the most recent feature of KUOW's "Subtext" podcast. Wong is particularly suited for the endeavor as a creative writing professor at the University of Washington.

"The point was, there is a lot of silence," Wong told KUOW's Bill Radke. "Particularly for young men and women in the military who may have become injured in combat or have mental health issues or emotional health issues upon returning. Our storytelling workshop actually became part of their medical therapy."

A few core principles of the workshop: You cannot change the past, but you can control the message of your story; tell the truth, not just the facts; everything you write must indicate what you are trying to understand, not what you know.

The full story is intriguing. Radke dives into it in his recent episode of "Subtext." Check it out here.

Charleena Lyles was killed by Seattle police officers in 2017. An inquest into the death began this week. On the first day of the inquest, a representative of the police department's Force Investigation Team said that the two officers knew that Lyle's had mental health issues prior to responding to her call about a burglary. Despite that, they did not bring any non-lethal weapons with them for the encounter. Lyles reportedly came after the officers with a knife, and they fired on her. Her year-old baby reportedly crawled on top of her as she lay on the ground.

This is one of those stories that I have to write "reportedly" a lot. A big problem with this case is that officers were not wearing body cams. Only audio of the incident exists. Mental illness, only lethal weapons, no body cams. Lyle's death has been pointed to as a prime example of why certain reforms are needed at SPD. Read the full story about the start of the inquest here.

Another election, and another round of conspiracy theory-embracing candidates have cropped up around Washington state. A joint report from The Seattle Times and Northwest News Network's Austin Jenkins details a handful of candidates who are listing "election integrity" as core issues in their campaigns this year. That term, "election integrity" is common among the Trump crowd who push the "Big Lie" narrative that the 2020 election was stolen. Side note: The congressional hearings this week on the January 6 riot reveal that President Trump and his team have never had any evidence for such a claim.

Perhaps such a lack of evidence, or logic, is why Tamborine Borrelli's America First group has been fined $28,000 by the state Supreme Court for frivolous legal filings. They claim there was massive vote flipping in the 2020 election. Borrelli is now running for Washington secretary of state.

There are also three candidates running for state Legislature who put "election integrity" as their party preference. Then you have auditor positions being challenged in Pend Oreille and Mason counties with "election integrity" being an elevated issue. Not to mention Loren Culp and Joe Kent, who each embrace such claims, running for Congress. What is going on? Read the full story here.

AS SEEN ON KUOW

caption: Sandino, eight months old, gets his first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine at Seattle Children's on June 21, 2022.
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Sandino, eight months old, gets his first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine at Seattle Children's on June 21, 2022.
Credit: KUOW photo/Kate Walters

Sandino, 8 months old, gets his first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine at Seattle Children's on June 21, 2022. Shortly after CDC approval, kids under 5 have begun receiving Covid vaccines. (Kate Walters / KUOW)

DID YOU KNOW?

It's not by chance that actor Tom Skerritt has helped out with local veterans — he's a local, and a veteran. Skerritt spent four years in the Air Force and has lived in the Puget Sound region since the late 1980s.

Skerritt is known for his many film roles, including "M*A*S*H," "Alien," and "Top Gun." He even had brief role in the Seattle-based film "Singles" as the city's mayor (who shoots down the idea of building light rail, which was very indicative of the '90s).

Personally, I will always remember him as the wise fly-fishing preacher and father in "A River Runs Through It." It's the reason I picked up a fly fishing rod ... still trying to catch a fish, however.

ALSO ON OUR MINDS

caption: In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo rioting supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Historians say Trump’s legacy and his electoral undoing will be largely shaped by rhetoric aimed at stirring his largely white base that tugged at the long-frayed strands of race relations in America.
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In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo rioting supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Historians say Trump’s legacy and his electoral undoing will be largely shaped by rhetoric aimed at stirring his largely white base that tugged at the long-frayed strands of race relations in America.
Credit: (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Trump team didn't have the evidence and 4 other takeaways from the Jan. 6 hearing

Former President Donald Trump's team not only pressured GOP state officials to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election he lost, but they knew there was no authority to do so. That was one of the eye-opening findings of the panel's fourth hearing that showed the depth and breadth of Trump and his allies' pressure on local and state officials. But there was more.


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