It’s immediately evident that Monterey Park stands out from all others in California.
This small community of 61,000 people lies eight miles east from downtown Los Angeles. It could be considered a foreign country with its Chinese-themed supermarkets, dumpling restaurants, and shop signs that are written in Chinese along with English.
Over 65% of residents are Asian Americans. According to one scholar, it is “an ethnic enclave of suburbs that thrives due to its refusal to assimilate, instead, unapologetically catering for its own immigrant community”.
It is still vulnerable to the most American of tragedies. Even though Monterey Park is still trying to come to terms with the deaths of 10 people in a ballroom dancing class, there’s a peaceful resolution.
A group of people kneel in prayer before a police checkpoint on the street where the massacre occurred.
The Chinese New Year was celebrated at the weekend. Just hours prior to the shooting, the street was crowded with people who were listening to live music and buying meat skewers at food stalls.
Robert Chao Romero is a UCLA professor of Asian American Studies.
Families with children in traditional Chinese dress came from all over LA to Monterey Park on Sunday to witness the dismantling of signs and the encroachment of police officers.
They were shocked to learn the reason.
A local woman visited Monterey Park to place flowers, but she was overcome with emotion when she saw the contrast between what it should look like.
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Deanna Trujillo is part of Monterey Park’s large Hispanic community. She says, “I was so looking forwardto celebrating.”
“It is extremely difficult, it hurts me that this is happening for these families. This is one the most friendly, united and kind communities.
“I may not be celebrating, but I wanted to be a part of this to let Asian communities know that I am so proud to be a part of them.”
A news conference was held in the evening to announce that a 72 year-old suspect was found dead in a van white 30 miles from Torrance, with self-inflicted bullet wounds.
Monterey Park was able to end the immediate threat. This relief came for people who had been terrorised for hours. But gun violence remains a constant threat to American lives.
This is the most deadly mass shooting since 19 children, two teachers, were killed at a Uvalde primary school, Texas, in May. But it’s far from the worst.
There have been 33 mass shootings since the beginning of the year – which are defined by the Gun Violence Archive to be when at least four people, including the shooter, are hurt or killed in the US.
Police believe that the gunman at Monterey Park used a semiautomatic rifle to kill and maim. This may have been illegally obtained.
California has some the most stringent gun control laws in America, but it wasn’t enough to stop a determined killer.
Another mass shooting has led to another chorus calling for tighter gun control. This includes semi-automatic and automatic weapons that are intended to kill.
However, America’s long history of mass shootings shows that any significant change in the near future is unlikely.