Slight disclaimer: This post was a bit hard to write. My thoughts were all over the place, and though I tried to stay on course, my emotions and lightning-fast thought processes sometimes got the better of me. Please try to take what you can out of it...

I've mentioned before that there are some things that are too much for me to write about. They strike a nerve in me that I can't really control, and I fear becoming incoherent and making my words irrelevant.

For this reason, the post on Marcello Lucero was one of the hardest things I've had to write on the blog. I have often made reference to the fact that I'm an immigrant, but it's not something I've really elaborated on very much in this space. It's not so much my immigrant experience that I'm sensitive to, it's more the current political climate surrounding immigration and the hatred and vitriol being spewed on all those who support immigrants and immigrant rights.

So, when I first learned that April is Immigration Awareness Month, I knew I'd have to bring myself to write a post about it. I thought it would be easy enough since it's the negative immigration stories that I have a problem writing, not the neutral, positive or informative ones. If I held off on writing about my own experiences or any negative news stories, then surely I'd be okay.

And then...

When news broke about the shooting in Binghamton (at the time it was labeled a hostage situation), a rush of thoughts ran through my head: I know people in Binghamton -- are they okay? Who is being held and why? What's really going on here? There must be a reason this person is taking hostages...

As the story developed, we learned the incident was taking place at the American Civic Association, an organization that helps refugees and immigrants. We learned that the hostages/victims (it was still unclear what to call them at that point, since most reports didn't confirm anyone hurt or dead) were there taking their citizenship exam prep class. We learned that some of the people were out of the building. Then we learned that there were, in fact, at least 12 dead, and a few others might have been shot as well. The local high school was put on lockdown as the police set themselves up in there. Then a flurry of reports stating that there were multiple shooters, or just one shooter who had been captured, or just one shooter who was still loose. They caught the shooter and he was an Asian man - was he an immigrant? Who knew! Nobody seemed to have any idea what was going on, and all I kept thinking was, these people were targeted because they're immigrants. WE'RE NOT OVER THIS! HOW CAN WE NOT BE OVER THIS?!

Then I heard or read that a lot of the victims could not be ID'd because they're new to the country and the families they were getting in touch with did not speak English. That's when my heart broke.

Imagine you've just arrived in this new, wonderful country full of hope and dreams, rejoicing about how they've got a black man as President... you don't know any English yet... you've just learned that at least a dozen immigrants have been shot dead but have no idea what's going on, who to get in touch with or how to get in touch with them. It was just too much for me to bear, and that's when I stopped following the story for a while.

Since then, I've learned that at least 13 are dead. The shooter killed himself at the end of his shooting spree, making 14 dead. Nobody seems to have any idea whatsoever what the motive was for the crime.

I'm all for innocent until proven guilty and not trying to speculate too much but, really?! Nobody can come up with ANY possible motive for this?! None at all?!?!

I'm sure we'll learn more in the days to come, but I want to just end with this...

Let's not forget, please, that this country was founded by immigrants. The Mayflower and Plymouth Rock, the 13 colonies, the War of Independence -- remember all of that? Those people were immigrants. 

This country was then built by slaves and immigrants. 

This country is still glorified around the world as the beacon of freedom, hope, and liberty, so it's still attracting immigrants. 

You cannot tell by looking at someone whether or not they are an immigrant.

This country is now being RIPPED APART by people who have forgotten all of this.

I hear it's immigration awareness month. Be more aware.


At Sat Apr 04, 12:20:00 AM Cara said...

For real, it is absolutely 100% obvious to assume this to be a hate crime unless outrageously credible evidence arises to the contrary.

It's exactly what I'm doing.

Really, I don't know what else to say. It's fucking horrible.

At Sat Apr 04, 11:36:00 AM frau sally benz said...

Thanks Cara, it's good to know I'm not overreacting or going completely bonkers. I really want to see what way this will turn as they investigate, especially since all of these anti-immigrant murders, assaults and harassment are still being treated as completely unrelated.

At Sat Apr 04, 03:30:00 PM cooper said...

It really looks like it is a case where an immigrant was angry, just like his non-immigrant counterparts who have shot up people, about losing his job, and frustrated at not being able to speak English well enough, so he took it out on a place that he took lessons, somewhere that also helps resettle immigrants.

It also looks like, to me anyway, it's more about the access we have to guns and the fact that in many cases people aren't surprised he did many times are there warning signs that someone is about to pop, and friends and family tend to ignore the signs hoping they will go away, instead of getting help.

At Sat Apr 04, 03:39:00 PM T. R Xands said...

Until I get more info I can't think of what happened as anything BUT a hate crime and I'm also wondering if the investigation will treat it as such.

I've been thinking of immigration more since I read an essay my friend did on it, and I realized it's something I've not gotten too deeply into, which is a shame.

At Sun Apr 05, 10:17:00 AM lacegrl130 said...

Perhaps this man was mentally unbalanced. It is all very gut wrenching. But we should not use this horrid tragedy as an excuse to limit immigration. Most of the crime is commited by LEGAL citizens. This is a tragedy, pure and simple. So sad...

I was watching a commercial the other day - it was about insurance, I think. Anyway, it showed slices of life and I was encouraged how far we have come in many ways - the diversity was wonderful, Asian cheerleaders vs. the ubiquitous blonde, African American families, Hispanic housewies and yes, European descent as well.... There is hope.

Your blog is really honest and informative.

At Mon Apr 06, 11:26:00 PM frau sally benz said...

Thanks for the comment, lacegrl, I'm glad you like the blog!

There's always hope, right? That's what we must remember in order to keep going and stay positive.


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