Many of the Asian communities celebrated and welcomed the Lunar New Year on Sunday Jan. 22, 2023, but in the back of many people’s minds is the tragedy of what happened just the night before in Monterey Park in California. What was a joyous occasion turned to horror as an Asian gunman opened fire and shot and killed 11 people, and injured 9 more in a ballroom as people had gathered to celebrate the new year. Within 48 hours, another mass shooting near San Francisco where 7 Chinese farm workers were shot and killed at two locations. The shooter, from his name, looks to be Chinese.
All of this in such a short time in what is supposed to be a time to look forward to a new beginning has many people reeling. It also hearkens back to the shooting at a Taiwanese Presbyterian church in Laguna Woods in May of 2022 where one person died and five wounded, and the perpetrator was also of Asian heritage that shot up his own community.
Our Asian American community has been under constant attack of violence in recent years and to have such tragic killings happen around lunar new year is just one more trauma that is hard to bear. We are deeply saddened for the victims and their families and pray for comfort and wisdom as we all try to understand why these things continue to occur. There is much unknown but we DO know that we have much work ahead, including addressing gun violence and having accessible mental health resources.
In all three cases, the aggressors were Asian elderly males of over 65 years old, who had migrated to the US in their younger ages. Compared them to the average national profile of a mass shooter is a White male, aged 34. The three shooters all knew their environments and had previously frequented or worked at those places. At this time, we do not yet know completely the motives of the two recent shooters, but it may be conducive, and time to take a serious look at the mental wellness of our elders. What kind of situations push them to the edge in a place they worked, worshiped or entertained ? Do they have someone to relate to or something to do with being immigrants from countries where living styles are so different? In a country where many elderly people are living alone and fending for themselves, even if they have children and other relatives, they may be living far away and are not able to care for them.
As we grieve and ask how could these horrific incidents happen again and again, we must also ask ourselves how we can better care for the elders and their physical and mental health and wellness needs, and to support them with resources accordingly. We see clearly that violence cannot and will not crush our spirits. There is a deep reservoir of communal solidarity that we are all in together, and will continue to make a better world for all!
Click here to support the victims and their families in Monterey Park – https://www.gofundme.com/f/monterey-park-lunar-new-year-victims-fund
Click here to support the victims and their families in Half Moon Bay – https://www.gofundme.com/f/half-moon-bay-farmworker-shooting-flood-victims
Please use this link to access resources for Victims and Community Members: