As Lunar New Year celebrations were coming to an end, a 72-year-old man opened fire in a ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park, killing 11 and injuring 10, seven of whom are still in the hospital on Jan. 21. When will this madness end?
Monterey Park, a city known for its highly dense Asian population, was engulfed in bliss while enjoying Chinese New Year festivities when they were unexpectedly interrupted by an active shooter with an unknown motive. Many are speculating that the gunman was acting out of personal disputes with people at the studio—though it was discovered he knew no one there that day—or because of an undiagnosed mental illness that caused him to act irrationally. The real reason is still unknown as the shooter shot himself in his vehicle on Jan. 23 after a 12-hour manhunt.
Police went through the gunman’s house and found multiple firearms that are against the law to own in California (CA). If CA has one of the strictest gun laws in the country, then why are things like this still occurring? In an interview with Daniel Webster who works the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, he stated that you can never be too sure if a gun law is effective as 2 or 4 shootings are not enough to determine if a law prevented the potential outcome of another.
For decades, gun violence has been a serious issue in America and there is an urgent need for change.
On average, there is a mass shooting every eight days here in California. In 2022, there was at least one massacre every week. Thousands of lives have been lost to such a small yet powerful weapon at the hands of only a few people. One human being can make a decision so quickly that can instantly change the lives of many.
As we ease into the new year, there have already been three mass shootings in just 44 hours, resulting in 18 casualties. The Monterey Park shooting now has the highest number of California casualties to gun violence since the San Bernardino shooting in 2015. There is already an alarming amount of violence in such little time into the year which makes it surprising to know that California’s mass shooting homicide rate is lower than the national average as Californians are about 25% less likely to die in a mass shooting..
These weak gun laws do not help at all and only serve to increase crime. Furthermore, because many mass shootings typically occur in communities of people of color, it is often them who end up in the crosshairs, recently being Asian Americans with the intensity of hate crimes. There is a lot of hate in this world and taking that anger out on others—especially on high-poverty communities which do not have the same resources as others—is cruel. The government is not investing enough money into enforcing ending gun violence and it is only creating a higher number of deaths in our society. It really makes citizens think that they do not care at all about this constant and dangerous issue that has been plaguing America because there has been little to no change whatsoever to amend it.
Our part in society is to do what our government will not do: help lower the rate of gun violence as much as possible. Some of the solutions to this are to reduce access to purchase firearms, especially for youth who are not fully developed to know what they are truly doing. Not only that, but also reinforcing the fact that firearms are bad and that the gun industry capitalizes off of each shooting that happens no matter how bad it is. I hope to see a change in the near future and have people realize how dangerous and harmful guns are to the world we live in.