Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My father left two messages warning me that I should be careful and I'm sure he's not the only Korean father to do so.  I hear Koreans in Flushing are afraid to leave their apartments and exchange students are buying tickets back to Seoul. Of course, I understand the fear of retribution. When I found out that the gunman was Korean, I too felt a stab of dread.  But the shame factor is going too far:

"State Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds, apologized to fellow lawmakers and legislative staff members, first at a private prayer meeting, then in Senate chambers. "It hurts me deeply, knowing what happened to Korea and how much the U.S. helped," said Shin, an orphan who was adopted by an American soldier after the Korean War. "This is not the way to pay back the blessings we received."

Pay back? The blessings we received? The Korean War? Clearly, especially in light of the videos that have been coming out, he's a sicko who has more in common with the Columbine trenchcoat kids than any alienated foreigner. I know media will use this opportunity to do specials on Asian Americans, the Korean immigrant community, etc, etc, but come on, he was psychotic. End of story. The Korean community, both here and in Korea, has treated this as, perhaps, the most horrifying moment of "losing face" and has gone out of their way expressing their guilt. What if Cho Suen-Hui was Chinese, would the Chinese immigrant community have reacted with the same kind of gut paranoia, shame, and guilt? Perhaps, considering US's prevailing atmosphere of post 9/11 xenophobia, but I also think that Koreans are particularly sensitive since the nation is so small, the immigrant community so homogenous and tight-knit, and well, they have a bit of a persecution complex.


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