Seattle is a city with a permissive drug culture |

Seattle is a city with a permissive drug culture

Guy W. Farmer

During my recent trip to Seattle the local papers were full of news about a loner from Montana who gunned down six young people he had met at a drug-saturated “rave” party. In ultra-liberal Seattle they’re looking for reasons why 28-year-old Kyle Huff, of Whitefish, Mont., pulled out a shotgun and killed six people, including a 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy, before turning the gun on himself as police closed in to capture him. I have a two-word explanation for Huff’s aberrant behavior: Illegal drugs.

This conclusion will undoubtedly disappoint the drug legalizers who objected to my recent column arguing against marijuana legalization, but facts are facts and the Kyle Huff story is illustrative of what happens to young people who turn to marijuana and other dangerous drugs to “find themselves.” Instead, what Huff found through drugs was misery, unhappiness and eventually, an early death. It’s the story of how a “gentle soul” (according to his friends) transformed himself into a mass murderer.

“Kyle Huff’s days were mostly spent in front of the television, often smoking pot” at the apartment he shared with his twin brother, Kane, the Seattle Times reported. Eventually, Kyle “gravitated to the one place that prides itself on accepting every outsider: the Seattle rave scene. … People who attended the rave that preceded the shootings recall that Kyle Huff was aloof, a wallflower standing to the side of the room while the music played and people danced.”

Apparently, Huff was invited to an after-rave party at a nearby home in the early morning hours. The newspaper related what happened next: “(Huff) left the after-party shortly after 7 a.m. and returned minutes later with a shotgun and handgun and opened fire, killing six people.” That’s clear enough, but what else do we need to know about rave parties in order to understand this tragic case?

Somewhat surprisingly, the answer to this key question was supplied by seven underage journalism students from Seattle’s Garfield High School who attended a rave party last fall. They described the rave scene as “a strange fantasyland (that) consumes itself in a world of hallucinogenic pills, heavy beats and nightlong friendships. … ‘If everyone here wasn’t rolling (high on the designer drug Ecstasy), we would have just pushed through the doors by now,’ says a girl standing near us in line. She wears nothing but a transparent corset and pair of lace panties. We try not to stare.”

Well Mr. and Mrs. Seattle – and maybe Mr. and Mrs. Northern Nevada – that’s where your teenage kids are hanging out. For me, it raises another important question: Where are the parents while all of this illegal activity is taking place?

The journalism students continued with their description of the rave party they attended: “While we are waiting in line, an anxious raver approaches a girl in front of us … and inquires about buying some Ecstasy for the night. The girl, who looks about our age (under 18), appears to be a regular dealer.” Later, the students meet a high school senior known as The Professor, “a lanky, long-haired fellow wearing a tie-dyed shirt and hundreds of brightly beaded bracelets. … ‘Hey, let me get you some candy,'” the Professor says before going on to describe in detail dozens of varieties of Ecstasy, and offer his opinions on which varieties are the “best” (whatever that means).

“Everyone at raves is really nice because they’re on Ecstasy,” the Professor adds, helpfully. Another illicit drug featured at Seattle raves is a strong form of methamphetamine called MDMA, which can cause heat stroke, sexual dysfunction and/or blurred vision. Nice indeed! On the way home, the high school journalists learned that two of the girls wearing transparent underwear were 13 and 14 years old, respectively. I repeat: Where were the parents?

Which brings us back to mass murderer Kyle Huff, who spent his spare time at those drug-saturated rave parties in Seattle. Back in their hometown of Whitefish, Mont., Kyle and his twin brother lived in an apartment above an art shop owned by their mother. “It was a favorite hangout and there were lots of parties with beer and marijuana,” recalled one of their Montana friends. That was just before the Huff twins moved to Seattle.

So keep this sad and ultimately violent story in mind as out-of-state drug proponents try to convince us to legalize “personal” doses of marijuana so that they can violate federal drug laws without suffering any legal consequences, which just happens to be the main reason why tens of thousands of self-described “free spirits” Ð many of them from the Seattle area Ð pay up to $300 apiece to attend the annual Burning Man drug festival in the Black Rock Desert north of Reno. The “Burners” get naked in the presence of young children and do drugs on federal land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management while complacent bureaucrats turn a blind eye to the proceedings in order to collect 10 percent of the gate receipts, which amounted to nearly $800,000 last year.

That’s why I deplore the fact that ultra-liberal Seattle tolerates a permissive drug culture featuring high school rave parties where illegal drugs are readily available. Police rarely intervene because no one knows who might be present at those parties Ð the children of prominent politicians, for example. So as we try to understand why Montana loner Kyle Huff killed six young people following an all-night rave, their kids party on, and drug pushers continue to ply their deadly trade.

• Guy W. Farmer, a semi-retired journalist and former U.S. diplomat, grew up in Seattle before moving to Carson City in 1962.