The first portion of this was written as an email to staff following the shooting in Monterey Park. Sadly, more and more of these incidents continue to wreak havoc on our society.
It’s a beautiful Sunday morning, but it was greeted with the horror of yet another mass shooting. Saturday night, as people gathered to celebrate the Lunar New Year, an armed gunman entered a dance hall in Monterey Park. 10 people were killed with another 10 wounded. Without knowing the motive of this horrific act, we do know that it was perpetrated onto our AAPI community. All over the world AAPI communities are gathering to celebrate, which is exactly what they did in Monterey Park. As they danced and celebrated the coming of Spring, they were confronted with horror. I have no words. These stories are unbelievable and heartbreaking. Why must we continue to suffer the trauma of these events?
The Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year, marks the beginning of the coming 12 months of the lunisolar calendar. This is a very significant holiday in China and is celebrated throughout the world by many different cultures. Traditionally, this is a time to clear out one’s home to remove any lingering bad luck. It is also a time to honor ancestors. The New Year is represented by the Zodiac signs, 2023 being the year of the Rabbit. The Rabbit represents peace, longevity, and wealth. The trauma suffered, because of this senseless act, will no doubt distract us from the significance of this holiday, but we cannot allow it to forever taint the spirit of the New Year. I am angered by one person’s actions to cause harm to so many, but the traditions and celebrations of thousands of years will help us to remember that, with a new year, comes new beginnings. We will draw closer to one another, honor those that we have lost, pray for the families, and look to the Rabbit to bring us peace during such a difficult time.
On January 23rd, two days after the Lunar New Year shooting another took place, rocking the state of California yet again. 7 people were killed and an eighth wounded. This one being described as workplace violence. The suspect in this case drove from one farm to another, where he had supposedly worked, killing four at the Mountain Mushroom Farm. Two miles away at Concord Farms three more were killed.
On January 28th, 5 days after the shootings in Half Moon Bay, three people were killed in a shooting in Benedict Canyon and four others wounded from gun shots. It appears that the victims were visiting Los Angeles. A motive has not yet been determined, but the police feel that it was not a random incident.
The news of these events never ceases to evoke anger and confusion. There is also heartbreak and sorrow. The question is always WHY? Why do these shootings continue to happen? Some are hate motivated and others are perpetrated by disgruntled employees, students, family members, but the one thing that they all have in common is that lives are unnecessarily lost to gun violence. Again, I ask Why? When will this end? Will it take for someone of “great importance” to die before reform is made? Sadly, I do not have the answers to these questions, nor will I ever understand the motivation of the perpetrators. What I do know is that none of this is okay.
Penny Lane stands with all who have lost their loved ones. There are no words to truly express our sympathies as well as our frustration. The United States must find a way to end gun violence or more and more of us, our neighbors, colleagues, and friends will needlessly perish. We mourn with all of California. Let us find a way to lift one another up instead of tearing down.