Yesterday a gunman walked into a community center in Binghamton, NY and opened fire, killing thirteen people and wounding four, before turning his gun on himself. Early news reports described a hostage situation and a gunman armed with a high-powered rifle, but there were no hostages, and the gunman carried one 9mm and one .45 caliber pistol. One of the center’s receptionists, who was shot in the abdomen, lay motionless until the gunman left the front office. Then she called 911:
Thirty-seven people in all made it out of the building, including 26 who hid in the boiler room in the basement, cowering there for three hours while police methodically searched the building and tried to determine whether the gunman was still alive and whether he was holding any hostages, Zikuski said.
Those in the basement stayed in contact with police by cell phone, switching from one phone to another when their batteries ran out, Zikuski said. Others hid in closets and under desks.
Police heard no gunfire after they arrived but waited for about an hour before entering the building to make sure it was safe for officers. They then spent two hours searching the building.
They led a number of men out of the building in plastic handcuffs while they tried to sort out the victims from the killer or killers.
Most of the people brought out couldn’t speak English, the chief said.
The American Civic Association, where the shooting occurred, is a community outreach organization that assists immigrants who wish to become American citizens. Most of the victims of yesterday’s shooting were attending a citizenship class.
News reports described Binghamton as a largely blue collar community hit hard in recent years by the closing of the Endicott-Johnson shoe factory and the downsizing of a flagship IBM manufacturing facility. Presumably the gunman was a recently laid-off New Yorker who blamed the current immigration controversy for the loss of his job. But a community center that assisted legal immigrants wishing to become naturalized American citizens would seem to be a strange target for a shooter with that motivation.
Ironically, it turned out that the gunman was a 42 year old Vietnamese immigrant named Jiverly Voong:
Investigators said the menacing man in the bright green jacket, black rimmed glasses and a satchel of weaponry was Voong. He was an immigrant from Vietnam targeting other immigrants he likely knew personally because he took classes at the center.
“My heart goes out to the families,” Rep. Maurice Hinchey said earlier Friday.
Hinchey said his office was told by four sources the gunman was recently laid off by IBM, but an IBM representative told wcbstv.com on Friday night there was no record of a Jiverly Voong ever working at the company. Investigators said Jiverly Voong also went by the name Lin Voong. They believe he borrowed the car used to block the back entrance, and it did not appear that Voong had a criminal record.
Whoops — There goes the narrative. Quiet, bespectacled Asians don’t walk into a room full of immigrants and start shooting; it’s beer-bellied, gun collecting Americans named “Jimmy Earl” who do that sort of thing. In America, “outsiders” embrace one another within a common bond of shared discrimination and suffering. They don’t hate or kill one another. Right?
As of this morning (Saturday) Fox News, ABC News, and CBS News have headline coverage of the shooting and stories that attempt to delve into the identity and motive of the shooter. CNN’s headline says the motive behind the shootings is “unclear.” MSNBC’s headline salutes the heroism of the wounded receptionist who called 911. She deserves to be honored, of course, yet one has to wonder if the focus would be shifted away from the shooter, or if the shooter’s motives would be “unclear,” had the shooter been white and an American.
But wait a minute. Michelle Malkin is reporting that there really isn’t a left-wing conspiracy to avoid assigning blame. In fact, the Left has already started assigning blame, and lots of it: IBM, corporate greed, the Second Amendment, the NRA, Fox News, Michelle Malkin herself, FreeRepublic.com, Lou Dobbs, etc. And the usual attempts by Left-wing pundits to associate such a crime with the shooter’s upbringing, home life, or religious beliefs seem to be strangely missing, even though Voong’s victims were mostly Caucasian immigrants from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
What happened in Binghamton was awful, and my prayers are with those left grieving in the wake of Voong’s killing spree. But at the same time, it’s infuriating to watch the Left attempt to blame everyone and everything except Voong himself — as if all non-white people are simply pawns in some vast economic and cultural Right-Wing conspiracy who have been rendered incapable of controlling their own actions. If America really wants to start having a meaningful conversation about race, then honestly assessing the motivation behind this tragedy would seem to be a good place to start.