What’s in a name? (maybe an uncomfortable story): Today so far

  • The Seattle Audubon Society drops “Audubon” from its name.
  • Kirkland police took 151 firearms in exchange for more than $18,000 in gift cards this summer.
  • Overall crime in Washington is down…but violent crime is up.

This post originally appeared in KUOW’s Today So Far newsletter on July 22, 2022.

The Seattle Audubon Society is changing its name. What it will eventually be called… remains to be determined. What we do know is that “Audubon” will be dropped. The Seattle Birdwatching Group voted to change its name this month after reviewing the history of the name it honors. John James Audubon is known for his work in ornithology and for fostering a love of nature in 1800s America. He also owned, sold, and bought enslaved African Americans at his general store in Kentucky. It was part of his business. And he was very anti-abolition.

This character does not correspond to the values ​​of the modern birding organization, so the Seattle chapter cancels the name. We do not yet know what it will eventually be called. While they’re thinking about a new title, I have a few recommendations:

  • “Seattle’s awesome society.” I’m a bird enthusiast, but let’s be honest, some people don’t see the appeal of bird watching and bird conservation. It kicks things up a notch, plus they can keep the same SAS acronym.
  • “Seattle Bird Nerds.” Nerds rule the world now. Think about it.
  • “Birds and beers.” The Northwest has lots of birds and lots of beer. Why not put them together?
  • “The Muri Society.” Margaret Murie may have marked Alaska and spent a lot of time in Wyoming, but she was born in Seattle. Murie was an important figure in the work for the Wilderness Act and the establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She received awards from the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club, and also received the Medal of Freedom. Murie reportedly spent her honeymoon birdwatching. And the members could be called “Mardys”, that’s the name she had.

So far this summer, the Kirkland Police Department has paid out more than $18,000 in gift cards, in exchange for firearms. KPD’s Gift Cards for Guns program held two events – one in June and one this week. Between the two events, Kirkland Police recovered 151 firearms which must now be destroyed. Depending on the type of weapon given out, residents received a Visa gift card worth $25 to $250. KPD plans to hold a third event in September.

These events come after crime rates have increased in Washington State. In fact, it’s fairer to stay than violent crime climbed in our state. Overall crime rates (all added up) have actually gone down, mainly due to the drop in fraud, property crimes and the like. There was, however, a 12.3% increase in violent crime compared to 2021 and a record number of murders (325). Hate crimes have also increased.

This problem can be easily seen during the recent shooting weekend we just had. The King County District Attorney’s Office has noticed an increase in such crimes in 2020 and 2021. Although more recently, it has also noticed a shift in the age demographic of suspects, which has shifted towards older populations. The prosecutor’s office also reports that firearms are increasingly common among domestic violence incidents.

“They’ve almost doubled every year,” KCPO analyst Rafael Serrano said. “Last year was a record for us in terms of the total number of gun violence incidents related to domestic violence and this year is on track to surpass that so far.”


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Some companies have paid to have pollution prevention devices illegally removed from their diesel trucks to improve their performance. The Washington attorney general’s office said it caught at least three Clark County businesses trying to bypass the emissions controls on their diesel trucks. Read more here. (Associated Press)


“Ornithology” is the word we use for the scientific study of birds, partly because my term “bird nerd” isn’t warmly accepted by everyone. Like most clever words in our society, “ornithology” is Latin and basically translates to “science of birds”. In ancient Greek, it was “ornithology”.

“Ornitho” was Greek for bird. Logos (logy) means the study of something, or science.


Caption: In this file photo from January 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump's riots climb the west wall of the US Capitol in Washington.  Historians say Trump's legacy and his election defeat will be shaped in large part by rhetoric aimed at stirring up his largely white base that tugged at the long-frayed ties of race relations in America.

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Jan. 6 panel highlights 187 minutes Trump went dark during Capitol siege

“This man of unbridled destructive energy could not be moved, neither by his aides, nor by his allies, nor by the violent chants of the rioters, nor by the desperate pleas of those who confronted the rioters,” President Bennie said. Thompson, D-Miss., during Thursday’s primetime hearing.


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