California: Recent mass shootings will spark calls for tighter gun control

You can immediately see that Monterey Park is unlike any other place in California.

The small town of about 61,000 is eight miles east of downtown Los Angeles, but it could be a different country, with Chinese supermarkets, dumpling restaurants and shop signs written in Chinese alongside English.

More than 65% of the people living here are Asian Americans. It is, as one scholar has described it, “an ethnic enclave in the suburbs that thrives because it refuses to assimilate, instead ruthlessly meeting the needs of its own immigrant community.”

Even so, he is not immune to the most American tragedy. But even as Monterey Park comes to an agreement 10 people shot dead during ballroom dancing lessons, there is a quiet and peaceful resolution.

In front of the police cordon on the street where the massacre took place, a group of people kneel and pray, asking their God for strength.

Chinese New Year took place over the weekend, and in the hours before the shooting, the streets filled with thousands of people listening to live music or buying skewers at food stalls.

“It’s so awful, it’s happening to a lot of people on Christmas Eve or something, it’s just awful,” says Robert Chao Romero, a professor of Asian American Studies at UCLA.

On Sunday, families with children in traditional Chinese costumes came to Monterey Park from other parts of Los Angeles, expecting the second day of Lunar New Year celebrations to begin, but they came to see the stalls and signs being dismantled and police roadblocks.

When they found out the reason, they were horrified.

A local woman came to lay flowers but burst into tears as she thought of the contrast of what this weekend at Monterey Park should be like.

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“I was so looking forward to celebrating,” says Deanna Trujillo, who is part of Monterey Park’s large Hispanic population.

“It is very painful, it kills me that this is happening to these families. It is one of the most united, kind and friendly communities.

“Maybe I’m not celebrating, but I wanted to be a part of it so the Asian community would know that they are special to me.”

The evening’s press conference brought news that the 72-year-old suspect had been found dead in a white van 30 miles away in the town of Torrance with self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

The imminent danger has passed for Monterey Park, bringing relief to people who have been terrorized for hours, but gun violence is an endless scourge of American life.

This is the bloodiest mass shooting since 19 children and two teachers were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas last May, but it is not the only such shooting.

Since the turn of the year, there have been 33 mass shootings in the United States – defined by the Gun Violence Archive as situations where four or more people, excluding the shooter, are injured or killed.

Police believe a gunman in Monterey Park used a semi-automatic rifle for murder and mutilation, possibly obtained illegally.

California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, but that still wasn’t enough to deter the determined killer.

Another mass shooting has sparked another chorus of calls for tighter gun control, especially automatic and semi-automatic weapons that are designed to kill.

But America’s long list of mass shootings tells us that any significant change is unlikely in the near future.

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