66.8 F
Los Angeles
Friday, April 19, 2024

Take action now to stop mass shootings

Must read

Good morning! It’s Monday, May 15. A total of nine people, including the gunman, were killed in a mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets in suburban Dallas, Texas, on May 6. The victims included three members of a Korean-American family. The shooter was revealed to be a mentally-ill white supremacist. It is shocking that such a dangerous individual was able to easily purchase highly lethal firearms. Calls for tighter gun control have risen following the mass shooting. Urgent legislation is needed, at least to prohibit mentally-ill individuals from purchasing assault weapons.

The photo of the Cho family, which is posted on Cindy Cho’s facebook on Dec. 16, 2022. From left, Cindy, James, Kyu Song and William, the only survivor in front of Cindy. [Cindy Cho’s facebook]
A total of nine people, including the gunman, were killed in a mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets in suburban Dallas, Texas, on May 6.
The Korean-American community was shocked to learn that the victims included three members of a Korean American family. Three out of the four members of the Cho family – husband Kyu Song Cho (37), wife Cindy(35), and son James (3) – were killed in the shooting.
The Cho couple’s six-year-old son William was injured and is now recovering.
The Cho family visited the outdoor mall to exchange clothes William had received for his 6th birthday, four days earlier. William is the only survivor in the family, causing a great deal of sorrow.
The husband worked as a lawyer specializing in immigration law, and his wife was a dentist. They attended a Korean-American church and volunteered in the community.
They were innocent citizens who did not have any reason to earn grudges from others. Their American Dream was tragically crushed in a hail of bullets.
The mass shooting highlights the seriousness of the gun problem, which can be called an “American disease.”
The gunman was identified as 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia, who is Hispanic, but espouses “white supremacy” and seems to have “neo-Nazi ideation.”
Hundreds of posts related to racism were found on the gunman’s social media accounts, and his clothing bore the phrase “RWDS” (Right Wing Death Squad).
The phrase harks back to Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s violent right-wing regime in Chile in the 1970s and 1980s. The Pinochet government was notorious for assembling death squads that murdered their leftist enemies.
As a result, the possibility that the shooting was a racial hate crime motivated by white supremacy was raised, and the Korean-American community was once again reminded of the nightmare of the Atlanta spa shooting.
On March 16, 2021, a white gunman opened fire at two spas in Atlanta, Georgia, killing eight people. Six of the eight victims were Asian women, and four of them were of Korean descent.
Police played down the possibility of a racial hate crime. Hank Sibley, a regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said, “To me, it looks like he targeted the location, rather than a specific group of people. He was very random in the people he killed.”
However, the police’s “random” explanation is less convincing when considering that four of the eight people killed in Allen were Asian – three Koreans and one Indian.
Furthermore, CCTV footage of the shooting shows that the gunman stopped his car and fired aimed shots at the Cho family as they walked toward a flower bed.
It’s a bit of a stretch to dismiss the possibility of a racial hate crime based on location alone, especially given the area’s large Asian and Indian populations.
The Korean-American community has experienced several mass shootings in the past that have been labeled as hate crimes, victimizing many Asians.
Now that racism is a possible motive for the attack, the police should thoroughly investigate it, although the shooter was killed by a police officer on the spot, and take fundamental measures to prevent its recurrence.

Ethnic Koreans grieve over the scene at the Allen Premium Outlets on May 9. [YEOL JANG, The Korea Daily]
The attack was the second-deadliest shooting so far in 2023, after the Monterey Park, California, massacre on Jan. 21, when a gunman killed 11 people in a ballroom.
Calls for tighter gun control have risen following the mass shooting in Texas. In response to these calls, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, shifted the focus to personal mental health.
The shooter was revealed to be a mentally-ill white supremacist. It is shocking that such a dangerous individual was able to easily purchase a highly lethal firearm, such as an AR-15 assault rifle.
In the wake of the shooting, the White House urged the Congress to quickly pass gun-control legislations.
President Joe Biden said in a statement, “Once again I ask Congress to send me a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Enacting universal background checks.”
However, Republicans have not yet responded. Many in the Republican Party, including Governor Abbott, claim that mass shootings are caused by the shooter’s personal problems.
Since Republican lawmakers have also acknowledged the mental health crisis as a root cause, legislation is needed at least to prohibit mentally-ill individuals from purchasing assault weapons.
There have been over 200 mass shootings in the United States this year alone. Of those, 22 have resulted in four or more casualties. The question is, how many more victims do we need before politicians start making systemic changes?
Shootings are occurring in schools, malls, parks, and other public places. Citizens are on edge because they do not know when or where bullets will fly.

BY MOOYOUNG LEE   [lee.mooyoung@koreadaily.com]