Tuesday, April 3, 2012

You Have A Nice Day

"I am Jiverly Wong shooting the people."

Yes, I know the Ultimate Blog Challenge has a G/PG "rating" requirement for its posts.  And, in my mind, violence can never be G or PG rated.  But, I must talk about this, the "quiet 3rd anniversary" of one of the largest mass shootings in United States history right here in "boring" Binghamton, New York.  So if this post doesn't count, oh well.

Some things will get better, but they will never go away.  Today, we in Binghamton think about all those in Oakland, CA whose lives were forever changed (or snuffed out) yesterday, because we have an idea what those families are going through.  For those directly affected (I am not one of them) the pain is still there.  The pain will always be there.  For us not directly affected, the memory is still there.  I pass near the ACA every day on the way to work.

On April 3, 2009, an unemployed immigrant by the name of Jiverly Wong entered the American Civic Association on the edge of downtown Binghamton and shot 13 people dead (wounding 4, including one lying on top of his wife to shield her - she was killed)  in a hail of some 98 bullets before he turned the gun on himself. My description of the day's events (as a bystander of sorts) formed my first blog post.

Today, the ACA has a low key sign in front of their building saying "April 3, 2009.  A day of remembrance."

There was no public ceremony today.  There will be one in May when work begins on a commemorative park.  Who do we commemorate?  13 people, including a husband and wife (their children were in school), a 60 year old who had helped immigrants in our area for years, a visiting scholar from China and a 72 year old woman.

The 72 year old woman, Roberta King, should not have been there.  She was not scheduled to work but had switched with a fellow employee so her co-worker ould go away with her husband for an anniversary celebration.

The ACA receptionist, seriously wounded, feigned death and managed to call the police.

We can still wonder exactly why Jiverly Wong did what he did.  He purchased his gun at the local Gander Mountain, which was seriously flooded in September and chose not to reopen.  But, before he went to the ACA, he sent a letter to "News 10 Now",  It really doesn't give that much insight - it is written in poor English and is hard to understand.

It begins "I am Jiverly Wong, shooting the people".

It ends "You have a nice day."

So many shootings since that day 3 years ago.

When will it end?

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