By Wayne Chan
Northwest Asian Weekly
To be honest, I’d rather be writing about how the laundry detergent pods keep disappearing from our laundry room.
I’ve been staring, off and on, at a blank computer screen, trying to think of something funny to say. The objective, at least of my writing, is to try and lighten someone’s day, usually by retelling something embarrassing that happened, more often than not, about me.
But the latest wave of mass shootings has left me at a loss of words. All the normal topics I can come up with, just ring hollow. So instead of trying to fight the inclination, I’m going to just follow my heart.
I have an auntie. She’s my Aunt Lucy. Since I lost my mom a few years ago, I see my Aunt Lucy as my second mom. She does all the “Mom things” a mom would do. She calls me to see how I’m doing. She introduces me to people she thinks I should know. Every time we meet, she tells me I need to lose weight. And then, throughout the day, she reminds me that I need to lose weight.
She lives in the Laguna Hills area, around Orange County. She lives with my Uncle Tom, in a modest home and has lots of friends. She takes long, slow walks, sometimes with a cane, and sometimes does water aerobics at a local pool.
About 10 days ago, David Wenwei Chou (aged 68), who lived in Las Vegas and worked as a security guard, drove down from Vegas and allegedly started a shooting rampage at Laguna Wood’s Geneva Presbyterian Church, which houses a predominantly Taiwanese congregation.
In the process of the attack, Dr. John Cheng was killed while trying to subdue the attacker.
Dr. Cheng was 52 years old. The other 5 victims shot, ranged in age between 66 and 92.
From all accounts, Mr. Chou was motivated by a deep-seated, politically motivated hate of Taiwan and its people.
I’m hesitant to even mention a motive. You typically ask about someone’s motivation for doing something to better understand why something happened. There’s no reasonable explanation that can help anyone understand this.
My first reaction when I heard the news was, “Where is Aunt Lucy?” She lives in Laguna Woods. She goes to a Taiwanese Church in the area. Sometimes she goes to volunteer or to pick up some fresh groceries they provide for the seniors in the area.
My first thought was, “Please tell me she didn’t need any groceries this week.”
We talked to Aunt Lucy. She was fine. She typically goes to a different church in the area.
Because of Dr. Cheng’s sacrifice, the other members of the congregation were able to subdue the attacker until the police showed up.
In the last month, along with this attack, I’m sure we’re all aware of what happened in the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, and of course, the shooting in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
The reality is, we are now living in a time where you have to be aware of the potential dangers of going to a grocery store, to your classroom, or to your local church.
I don’t claim to have all the answers to this. It’s a politically fraught topic. But I tend to boil it down to a simple analogy.
When we became new parents, we made sure to take away anything that could be dangerous to them and to the family. We locked sharp knives away in the pantry. We put locks on cabinets to make sure the kids couldn’t access things that could be dangerous—dangerous things like lighters, lighter fluid, and matches.
To me, it seems like the more sound strategy to keep everyone safe is to keep a fire from happening, instead of ignoring that and making sure everything else in the house is fireproof.
I know that this column may not add anything new to the conversation, and doesn’t even really try to entertain. But when you write a humor column, the first order of business is that people need to feel safe before they can laugh.
Thank you for taking the time to listen.
Wayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.