On April 3, 2009, Jiverly Wong opened fire on the American Civic Association in Binghamton, NY, killing many people and then himself.
When I first heard about it on CNN.com at 2pm, all anyone knew was that an immigrant and refugee serving agency was shot up and many people hurt or killed. The killer was unknown and I assumed it was a xenophobic American. Immediately I sent an e-mail to an immigrant rights legislative list serve I'm on to say that we have to issue some kind of statement; we have to respond.
For years, the anti-immigrant sentiment has been on the rise. There have been cases in Georgia where Americans teens have specifically targetted immigrants, especially Latinos, for assault and robbery. And for the past few years, I've been part of an immigrant rights group to prevent the passage of anti-immigrant legislation in Georgia.
So I was keyed up and angry about this. Immigrants come here only wanting to start a better life for themselves and their families! Refugees are refugees because they have been targetted for persecution and here there are targetted again! WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF?
Then I found out that the shooter was an immigrant himself. That did not make me any less angry. Again, WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF?
Mr. Wong apparently just lost his job, like a zillion other people, and felt that he was being demeaned and passed over for jobs because his English wasn't so good. And so the answer is to shoot up other immigrants who are going to English classes? How the hell is that supposed to make things better?!?!? And this is not helping to alleviate the xenophobia in this country. And don't even get me started on the availability of guns in this country.
My agency's put a message on our website sending condolences to the victims and condeming the violence, but I am outraged and continue to be outraged and don't know what else to do about it.