On the day of the Virginia Tech shootings, I received an e-mail and two comments telling me “the shooter” is Chinese and I should run something on this “right away.” One of the comments even went so far as to say the shooter was angry because his Chinese girlfriend had left him for a Caucasian.
I deleted both of the comments and responded to all three people by explaining that I did not see the shooting as having anything to do with China. I do not write about murders in China and I am certainly not going to write about a Chinese person murdering people in the United States. And who am I to write about this sort of stuff anyway?
Even more fundamentally, the fact that this shooter was believed to have been Chinese has absolutely no significance to me. None whatsoever. There can be no extrapolation from what some evil and crazy college student does in Virginia to a country of 1.3 billion. Unfortunately, no country and no ethnicity is without its crazy killers.
Of course, it has since turned out the shooter was Korean and my views on extrapolation hold equally true for Korea. The American media have Korean-Americans talking about how they hope this rampage will not lead to hatred towards Koreans in the United States.
Do not worry, it won’t. I promise you.
Yes, there will be racists who will use this shooting somehow to seek to spread hate against Koreans and to argue for closing our borders to “those not like us,” but I know my fellow countrymen well enough to know that a shooting like this will not create new racists among us.
After 9-11, I received countless phone calls and e-mails from friends all over the world expressing sympathy for what had happened. They really meant a lot to me. I received at least three such e-mails from Korea. I have been going to Korea 4-6 times a year for more than a decade and I have many friends there, some of whom are Koreans and some of whom are Korean-Americans. I have Korean-American friends here in the United States as well. My law firm’s receptionist is Korean.
I want to tell them I know they feel as badly about the shootings as anyone and also let them know that neither I nor anybody I know attributes responsibility for this tragedy to anyone other than to the shooter himself.
I want to do this but I won’t. I won’t because the idea of giving “absolution” to someone for a heinous crime simply because it was committed by a fellow countryman is completely absurd and my doing so would be at least somewhat of a concession to anyone crazy enough to seek to draw some sort of link.
I know this post is way far afield from that on which I ordinarily write and, most importantly, from what you come here to read, but I just have not felt like writing about anything else. The shootings are depressing as hell and they hit home. I have a 16 year old who in the middle of exploring colleges and a 9 year old who asks absolutely endless questions regarding the whys and what fors.
China law will have to wait for another day. I am not in the mood. Sorry.