Thoughts On Jiverly Wong And The Binghamton Shootings At The American Civic Association

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I think like a lot of people I'm filled with almost too many thoughts on the shooting, and over the last day I've been trying to verbalize all of them, just in my own head - and I still don't think I'm there - it's this blurred mix of anger and sadness that's not focused on any one thing necessarily, but on everything about it.

Victims In The Shooting

We know that a total of 13 people were killed yesterday on Friday at the American Civic Association, serving the immigrant and refugee community, and that during the time of the shootings that some there were taking a citizenship test and others for ESL classes.

While there's been some information on victims both deceased and alive, like members of Islamic Organization and a member of the Korean Baptist Church in Vestal news is still coming out, and it's expected that a full release of all the victims will be put out later on this evening.

All you can do is hope that the families and friends of everyone involved can find some strength in the others around them.

Confirmation Of Shooter

As of today, the shooter has been confirmed by major news outlets as being Vietnamese American Jiverly A. Wong (who changed his name from Voong), 41. Exactly why he was motivated to shoot 13 people and then turn the gun on himself we still don't really know. There's speculation that Wong was depressed and angry over losing his job, and still more speculation that he felt demeaned and angry because people in effect laughed at him because of the way he spoke English - all though are speculation - we don't really know - and we'll never really know.


Maybe it's my own way of dealing with tragic news - and like I said above it's a blurred mix - but there's just that part of me, fresh as this is, that asks myself how this is going to play out for the South East Asian American community, the larger Asian American community, refugees and immigrants, and Asian American males - what's the effect and where will this lead us, good and bad.

One of the thoughts points me to a previous post where an Asian American High School student had this to say:

“People have made racist remarks at school that I would physically hurt them, or shoot up their school,” Kim said. “Or they think I’m too smart to care what they have to say.”
I can only wonder about the types of comments that he's going to get now especially when you already see comments like this (from NY Daily News):

26 to 2 Apr 4, 2009 12:14:38 PM Report Offensive Post
how does a piece of garbage like that get into our country? How does he get a gun? If anyone out there doesn't believe we need stricter gun laws then they should be shot. there is a crazy epidemic going on in the coutry with people of vietnamese decent: Va Tech, Michigan, now Binghampton: how can we be so ignorant as to let them get guns?

NY3878 Apr 4, 2009 1:00:01 PM Report Offensive Post
Stop the immigrant invasion by any means necessary.
Or this from ABC News:

you chose to immigrate here. Why should the government put any money for you or any immigrant support? My forefathers immigrated here and so was most citizens here in the USA. Through all the generations, we all worked hard for what we have today. I just ate Vietnamese food for lunch, and I see the restaurant (Pho 99 in Alhambra, CA) is a "Tax Cheat." They ring up only some orders and put the rest of the cash in the till. I see many Vietnamese business breaks the law by paying cash to it's workers and charge them 15% for the tax. You may not know English, but many of you know how to cheat on taxes, and ask the government for more aids. Posted by: The Soothsayer

If all these immigrants were not allowed in the US we would not have these problems. Posted by: skoonikki
And this is a part of that mix - that blur.

While I feel this grief and this sadness, as an individual - as an Asian American male - I also can't help but already be on the defensive because I know how some parts of society look at us and I know how an event like this makes that relationship even more tenuous.

Just As Long As He Wasn't One Of Us

I get it in some ways - like the same way I've already told you that I can't help but already be on the defensive - about why people on boards are going "He's not Vietnamese" or "He's ethnic Chinese from Vietnam" - everyone wants to distance themselves as much as they can - but I hope no one from the Viet community comes out and apologizes for this - because there's no need too. No one should have to do that, or be expected to do that, because one individual doesn't make a whole community, or nationality, or racial/ethnic group - which we all know - but always seems to get forgotten in times like this.