Three Lakes

A blog for members and friends of Three Lakes Neighbors for Responsible Growth, dedicated to monitoring and maintaining the rural environment of central Snohomish County, Washington

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Shooting vs No Shooting

For several days we have been intermittently hearing gunshots fired; probably as target practice but possibly for shooting "varmints". Since we live well inside the Panther Lake No-shooting zone, we began to wonder what was going on. A call to 911 eventually, (after several returned calls, denials that there is a no shooting zone, and seeming dereliction of duty by the sheriff's department), evoked the news that if we want to file a complaint, we have to be able to identify the culprits. Not a simple task given the limitations on the size of the no-shooting zone, the distance sound carries, the thick forest in some regions, and not least the fact that people who are shooting have guns, and by the rules of the city where I've lived most of my adult life, are "potentially dangerous" and are presumed to be dealt with by the proper authorities.

Personally I don't have a problem with people shooting, as long as they aren't shooting at me or other human beings or human associated livestock. I grew up in Montana shooting gophers, hunting birds and big game; fishing, and learned to shoot at squirrels with a handgun (not sure I ever hit one, though). My rifle team won the Regional Boy Scout Target Shooting Championship one year. When I moved to the big city over 40 years ago I gave my rifles and shotgun to my sister and never got back into hunting--there were too many other things to do.

The principle here is we live in a relatively high population density area where shooting could be dangerous to the inhabitants. But we aren't an incorporated city, where shooting is apparently not allowed by local ordinance. So Snohomish County has enacted an Ordinance declaring certain areas as No Shooting Areas. These can be adjusted by Petition of the residents.

The Panther Lake No Shooting zone extends to within 500 yards of the lake shore, a strip along the road towards the lake that extends south from Dubuque Road, and the area between 163rd Ave. and 171st Ave. extending to the south of the Lake to about 1/2 mile south of Three Lakes Road.

I've spent some time with my GPS device figuring out where the boundary is on the ground, I have now decided that the gunshots may have come from outside the no shooting zone. Based on the angle the shots sound from, they would have to be up the hill to the southwest. There are several houses in that area, outside the Zone, and 51st Street allows ready access outside the zone.

However, the point I am making is that the Sheriff's department should have responded a little more sympathetically to our complaint. We pay our taxes so they can get their salary to do their job, and part of that job is to enforce the ordinance. If the ordinance wasn't broken, then no one would be charged. Should we have to search after the potential lawbreakers? Form a posse?