Trigger Warning: Gun violence
The Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac is said to embody gentleness, empathy, and calm. This is according to the Economic Times, as well as a number of scholarly, entertainment, and news sites. We are at the beginning of the Lunar New Year, and I am looking forward to a year that encompasses the qualities of the rabbit: patience and peace. Something that I have much needed in this recent season of my life, and that we can all use after such turbulent years coming out of a pandemic and global economic uncertainty.
This post was going to be one where I opined about mental peace and calm, announced our latest rabbit adoption, and showed off some cool rabbit-themed merch in honor of the 2023 Lunar New Year. Living in a diverse, largely Asian community, and being Asian myself, I love the small celebrations of the New Year, which of course include food.
I was horrified to wake up to text from my daughter asking me about the mass shooting in the city of Monterey Park, considered an Asian-American enclave in the culturally diverse San Gabriel Valley, just one city over to the south of where I reside. She received this news in Prague. Prague, literally 6000 miles across the world, about a horrific crime that occurred just hours before just 3.5 miles from where I had been getting ready for bed. I heard the helicopters. I checked NextDoor to see whether there was perhaps a high speed chase on nearby Interstate 10 or a burglary. Seeing no news, I went to bed. Seven hours later, there are still helicopters to my south, and 10 families at least who have had their lives utterly upended by an act of violence I cannot even begin to comprehend.
It was supposed to be a fun time. Cities all around me, including San Gabriel and Monterey Park held New Year festivals in honor of the holiday, with Monterey Park’s being a two-day event covering this weekend. The shooting happened nearby the festival on Garvey Avenue at the Star Dance Studio, a studio and dance hall that hosts special events, like presumably one in celebration of Lunar New Year. A dance hall just kitty-corner from our favorite dumpling house. Folks were just out to have fun- to celebrate, to ring in a new year- one that was hoped to be filled with peace, gentleness, calm.
And now it has been shattered, reverberating waves of sadness, anger, and fear throughout the San Gabriel Valley, especially as at time of this update, local news outlets are reporting that the suspect has not yet been apprehended. We are no strangers here in the United States to reports of gun violence. There are mass shootings, devastating and incomprehensible. Yet in many ways, here in Southern California, we have been insulated from these mass casualty events. I am not saying that it has never happened, but well, it has not happened, not like this. Because statistically, the probability of this type of violence is really low- until it is not, and it becomes 100% our reality. I can still hear the helicopters from my desk as I write this.
This is not meant to be a political rant; this is not the forum for that. Please join with me in prayer and mourning for the ones who have been killed, whose names I do not yet know, as well as for their families and loved ones. Emily was texting me to ask whether our friends are all safe. I hope to learn that they are. It does not seem like enough, but it is what we can do at this time- pray, hope, wait. As we usher in a new year, I hope that there will be peace and calm, as impossible as it seems at this present hour. And I do hope for you a prosperous new year.
Some things to consider:
There will be traffic delays in the area around Garfield and Garvey Avenues, as well as on the blocks east if you are traveling on Sunday morning. Please avoid the area if at all possible.
If there are any updates with regard to this abominable event, I will update this post. It is unclear whether this act was hate-motivated, and I am trying not to speculate.
UPDATE, 11 pm: The suspect was found in Torrance, about 27 miles south of the crime scene earlier this afternoon. He died of a self-inflicted wound. For further updates, local news, as well as LA County Sheriffs office, are good sources. motive remains unclear.
I’ve decided to keep the rabbit photos as planned. This site is meant to bring joy, and I feel it is apt to keep the bunnies up in honor of the new year. However, showing off the merchandise seemed trite in comparison to the gravity of what is happening in Monterey Park and the loss we feel in the San Gabriel Valley. My apologies for that.