A Lunar New Year’s Tragedy


Photo Credit: LA Times

For many of America’s Asian communities, the Lunar New Year is a time of giving and receiving red packet money, dressing in traditional clothes, eating decadent foods, and  spending time with loved ones. However, amid this year’s joyous festivities, the Lunar New Year has also become a time of mourning.

On January 22, the first night of Lunar New Year festivities, 11 people were killed and 9 more were wounded at the Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park, California, when gunman, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, opened fire.

“[When I heard of the shooting] I was pretty horrified, but not surprised,” junior Aarya Sivaraman said. “Between the magnitude of shootings this year alone and the very present threat of having a school shooter, this type of violence is something that I’m always subconsciously aware of.”

Soon after the shooting at Monterey Park, Tran drove over to the nearby city of Alhambra and entered the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio where he pulled out his gun once more. Fortunately, Tran was disarmed by 26-year-old Brandon Tsay, who was able to wrestle the gun away from Tran and save the lives of countless people who were in the dance hall that night.

I’m not too surprised,” junior Jennifer Karake said. “Asian-violence has existed in California for a long time, and holidays like New Years seem like just the place to cover up a crime.”

Around two hours after Tran had left the ballroom studio, he was found dead inside a van, the cause of his death being suicide. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, a motive for the shooting has yet to be uncovered.

“I feel saddened because shootings are a serious problem,” junior Mia Bonilla said. “But I feel like our government isn’t taking them seriously [enough] and are brushing every shooting aside.”

All of the shooting victims were over the age of 55 and although Lunar New Year festivities continue on, they are all being deeply mourned by their families, community, and by the nation.

“I’m not well versed on politics, and I’m not going to argue about gun control laws, but I feel like it is the government’s job to ensure that people are safe wherever they go: whether that is school, the grocery store, or celebrating New Years,” junior Lola Afolabi said. “People shouldn’t be restricted from enjoying life because people don’t value the lives of others enough.”