HomeWayne's WorldOpEd: When Mass Shootings Become Ho Hum

OpEd: When Mass Shootings Become Ho Hum

By Wayne Chan

“It’s a good thing all my relatives moved out of Monterey Park years ago.”

I’m ashamed to say, that was my first reaction upon hearing about the mass shooting that took place at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio last month in Monterey Park.

I grew up traveling to Monterey Park as a kid, and we’d often visit with many relatives who lived in the area. It was the best area in Southern California to try the latest Chinese delicacies.

Upon hearing of the shooting, I was most concerned about my Aunt Lucy and Uncle Thomas. They’d lived there for a number of years but had moved out a while ago. After I mentally calculated that no friends or family were still there, I breathed a sigh of relief. Just another random mass shooting.

As a country, we have become numb to this. Unless someone you know is involved, it’s just something we’ve come to expect. It’s like my frustration when I’ve ordered an electronic item from Amazon and out of the box, it doesn’t work.

What a hassle. Now I have to deal with this inconvenience? Not a good day.

That sounds so callous! You’re right, it does.

Comparing it to receiving a malfunctioning item on Amazon – that’s so insensitive! Again, it IS insensitive. But how many times can we recoil in horror from one of these things?

I heard one statistic that there have been more mass shootings in the U.S. in 2023 than there have been days of the year of 2023. Are we supposed to live in perpetual panic? Should I have a daily morning ritual of mourning? What is the best way to cope?

Could I be more involved in affecting change? I’ve gone to gun control rallies. I’ve voted for only candidates that are committed to gun control policies and bans on assault weapons. I’ve given money to their candidacies.

And the shootings continue.

I’m fortunate enough to travel outside of the U.S. on a fairly regular basis. These type of routine mass shootings just don’t happen in Canada, Japan, or Taiwan. And on the rare occasions when there is a mass shooting that takes place in one of these areas, the natural and appropriate response is horror. Because it’s not normal.

Horror is the reaction to something awful happening that you’d never expect. Mass shootings in the U.S.? I expect them. Whenever we’re in a crowded setting, I routinely look at where the emergency exits are and how I would get there with my family.

So where do we go from here? Seems to me the genie is out of the bottle. The guns (and assault rifles) are already out there. I can’t see a viable solution to getting them back.

The more sensible solution may lie in changing the hearts of people. I remember the days when you’d go into a meeting and there were ashtrays all around and the air in the room was thick with smoke. Nowadays, hardly any ashtrays in sight and rarely is anyone smoking. For sure, people still smoke, but something has changed. The majority of Americans have turned away from smoking.

In an ironic twist, while Asia and Europe don’t embrace gun culture like we have in the U.S., smoking is still an active lifestyle choice of theirs.

If you look at it from that perspective, Americans by and large have made a collective choice to make smoking far less of an issue as it was 30-40 years ago. Perhaps they decided that lung cancer is a high price to pay, even for an activity that is chemically addicting.

How long will it take for us as a country to realize that there’s nothing really addictive about assault weapons (other than the image it creates), but it’s just as deadly to the populace as smoking ever was?

Let’s make mass shootings a horror once again.

This story is a project of “The Stop The Hate campaign and is made possible with funding from the California State Library (CSL) in partnership with the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs (CAPIAA). The views expressed on this website and other materials produced by Asian American Media, Inc. do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the CSL, CAPIAA or the California government. Learn more at capiaa.ca.gov/stop-the-hate.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


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