Here we are again. Two mass shootings in the span of a few days have once again taken the lives of innocents, injured others and forever altered the lives of the friends and families of those attacked. We mourn the tragic loss of life in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay.

On Saturday, 11 people were killed at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park.

One thing which makes Monterey Park special is its Asian American community. Two-thirds of the city’s residents are Asian Americans.

The shooting came at the conclusion of the city’s first day of celebrations for the Lunar New Year, which prompted an initial wave of fear the shootings were motivated by anti-Asian hatred.

“Lunar New Year is the highlight of the year for Asian American communities, and a time of celebration and of being with our families,” said Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena. “But now, Asian Americans in the Monterey Park community and nationwide are in mourning and are terrified instead of celebrating.”

It is a sad commentary on our society, which is built on people who can proudly claim descent from everywhere on the planet, that this was even a plausible point of speculation. No one in America should ever feel threatened because of where they are from or where they are descended from.

The quickly emerging facts about the Monterey Park shooting defused Asian hatred as a motivation, but left us with a complicated picture.

Unlike most mass shootings, this one was carried out by a 72-year-old man who was born in Vietnam. He reportedly used an illegal pistol and had previously been arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm in 1990.

While we were all still reeling from news of that shooting, yet another senseless round of shootings happened in the Bay Area city of Half Moon Bay.

The shootings, which took place on two mushroom farms, have left seven dead, all of Asian or Hispanic descent. As in Monterey Park, the shooter did not fit the usual profile of a mass shooter. A 66-year-old Asian man has been arrested for the shootings, which police have described as likely motivated by workplace grievances.

According to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department, the killer used a legally purchased handgun in the killings and had no criminal record.

“This is an enormous tragedy. When any of us think of Half Moon Bay, it’s always a happy, pleasant thought. It’s the home of the pumpkin festival. It’s the Mavericks surfing competition. But today it’s murder. Seven precious lives lost,” Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, told CBS News.

Taken together, we’re left with two senseless mass killings that raise complex questions about whether or how they could’ve been prevented and what could be done in the future to prevent similar incidents from happening again. We know, having unfortunately been through this far too many times before, that there are no easy answers. But we should all remain open-minded to reasonable proposals to reduce gun violence and save lives, because this is grotesque and unacceptable.



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