I can’t help thinking to myself, why did the Virginia Tech shooter have to be Asian? As if the country, and the world was not prejudiced enough. When these kinds of tragedies occur, it is most often thought that a white male is at the end of the trigger. However, this incident produces a whole new stereotype and fear.
As a country, we are already wary of black men. They are the robbers, the rapists and the gangsters. Since September 11, we are wary of men from the Middle East – Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and any other person that looks to be questionable. These are the terrorists, the haters of America. We fear Hispanic and Latino men for being drug dealers. And up until now, we even feared white men. Those were the ones that went “postal” and on random shooting sprees, turned into serial killers and conspired to bomb buildings. These were the groups that we were comfortable pointing fingers at, and that we knew were an “at risk” group.
But now, there is an Asian male thrown in the mix. I’ve already seen some CL Rants & Raves about “crazy Asians” and guns. I’m sure there are blogs about it. I’ve heard multiple media sources speculate that he was from Shanghai, then Korea. He was here on a student visa perhaps. People have even gone so far as to question if he was from North Korea – as if being from a communist country (with a crazy leader) means you are more prone to violence.
In the end, what does it all mean?
It’s a terrible loss that occurred, and it’s horrifying to think that this young man killed 32 innocent people on a rampage. What’s even worse is the fact that since he took his own life, we may never receive a true insight into his reasoning. Reports may speculate on a motive, but there may never be a clear answer.
I can only hope that people will be smart enough not to look at Asians as just another group to fear. That any minute a young Asian male, under enough pressure, may pop. The sad reality is that it can happen to anyone. And, this could have happened anywhere. The human mind is a funny thing, and everyone has a breaking point.
For now, I think it’s important to remember that we are all human. There were sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, neighbors, cousins, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, colleagues and classmates lost yesterday. It’s going to take a long time for the Blacksburg community to heal. But I know that the town and its people will pull together and get through this. Southwest VA is a tight area, and not equipped or prepared for something of this magnitude. Not that anyone should be.
Update: I think that this is a very powerful article.