Even before the shock subsided, The Blame Game began.
It was the rave scene that killed those poor kids Saturday on Capitol Hill. It was the city's weak All Ages Dance Ordinance. It was the weed they smoked, the beer they drank, the music that drained their heads of reason. It was the parents who didn't keep track. Stop.
What killed those people was a 28-year-old man named Kyle Huff, who took advantage of American gun laws and packed his pickup with an arsenal of weapons that no person should ever want or need: An assault rifle. A handgun. A shotgun. A machete. Hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
"There's plenty for everyone," Huff said as he started shooting, according to witness statements to police.
We all want to know why Huff opened fire on a houseful of innocents. But what confounds me is why anyone should have such weapons, and so many.
Huff used a pistol-grip shotgun and a .40-caliber semiautomatic Ruger.
He used them six years ago to blast a moose sculpture in his hometown of Whitefish, Mont. Police seized the guns, then returned them to Huff — their rightful owner. And why not? He had committed no felonies. And no one could have known then what would happen years later in a house in Seattle.
On Saturday, Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske walked through that house before the bodies were removed. Afterward, he called Huff's shotgun "not for hunting purposes, but for hunting people."
It was a wretched moment: Less than 24 hours earlier, Kerlikowske and Mayor Greg Nickels were honored by Washington CeaseFire for "their work to end gun violence in Washington state."
"It doesn't feel for naught," Kerlikowske said Monday. "Reasonable, common-sense gun laws are going to be an issue for a while.
"Looking at those bodies put it in perspective as to why I speak on this issue. That progress has slipped away in the last few years, and we're all trying to bring it back to a level of sanity."
John Rosenthal has a plan. Last year, the Boston real-estate manager founded the American Hunters & Shooters Association (www.huntersandshooters.org), a nonprofit seeking "common sense gun-safety measures."
Rosenthal wants to represent the millions of American gun owners who act responsibly and expect the government to do the same, like restricting access to military-style weapons, and requiring training and permits, and tightening rules for gun-show sales.
I told him about the guns Huff used.
"People are asking where these guns are coming from, and I think the question is, 'Where aren't they coming from?' " Rosenthal said. "National gun policy has been to allow unrestricted access to all firearms, including assault weapons, which had been banned until last September."
Why would someone want to buy an assault rifle?
"Because they can."
Kyle Huff owned an arsenal. And then he killed six people.
Because in America, he could.
Nicole Brodeur's column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or email@example.com. They were just kids.