How safe and secure do we feel? I hate to talk about what happened in Nashville this week, but I also do not want to ignore it. I do not want to write about gun violence, children safety, or mental health, because this is getting all too repetitive, but I must talk about this… yet again… and honestly, I do not see an end to this type of mindless menace of violence. For gun rights activists they will put the brunt of blame on the issue of mental health and anti-gun activists will put the sole blame on firearms in the USA.
I am not going to pander on either side of the argument, because to be honest, I agree with both sides to a certain point. Here is where I stand. I do believe in the right that a person should have to protect themselves by any means necessary. I am an Asian American living as a minority in the United States. I have two children, and a wife who just got her USA citizenship. You better believe I am concerned about their safety, not just in their school or workplace, but in their everyday life.
As a minority, I have been attacked, verbally abused and threatened (in front of my children), death threats left on my door, carcasses of dead animals on my front door, letters and pictures of my family going to Walmart, work, or school, saying “better watch your back.” This isn’t stuff that has happened to me that is new, I have had this my entire life, but it is new to my wife and my children. And you better believe that I will protect them by any means necessary.
When COVID was going around and the talk of deactivating police became top priority in our society, the random acts of aggression and violence escalated towards my family and me. I wondered when the next attack will happen on my family or myself, and hope that I will be prepared, just like other times. That is prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally (I put the priority on mentally and emotionally). I understand gun activists when it comes to protecting yourself and your family by any means necessary.
But at the same time, I get the voices of antigun activists as well. This type of gun violence is getting out of control. In Nashville, 3 kids at the age of 9 years old was shot and killed. 3 adults shot and killed. The police acted quickly to the attack, but still 6 people dead and 1 gunner is dead. One of those kids was the child of a pastor, so that hits me hard as well.
I don’t care who we blame, is it guns, mental health, something else, lack of mental strength, lack of God in society, liberals, conservatives…. Blame whoever and whatever. The fact is we will see this violence happen again and again and again. It is no longer shocking but always disturbing. So what can we do?
We do out and do what we normally do the next day. Make a choice not to ever live in fear. Do not fear when the next attack will happen, do not fear other people, and do not give in to responding emotionally to the mindless menace of violence.
Living as a minority in the United States of America, being a father of 2 young children, and a husband to a newly immigrated Korean wife, acts of violence will always be the norm for us. I know it sounds depressing, and it is, but I am not going to hang my head low and feel down about it. I choose to live, every day. I choose to fight off the emotional and mental demons that want me to be angry with people. I choose to live, and be proud for who I am. There is nobody or no incident that will change that.
I learned that I should never live in fear. Never fear the other, and never fear when the next attack will happen. I understand that it will happen, and I understand that my children will run into people who only want to degrade, abuse, and hurt them because of what they look like. That is reality.
This insane attack at a Nashville school that took 3 children, 3 adults' innocent lives is horrifying. And I hate to say it, but there is no solution in sight. No changes will be made, no lobbyist will change their opinion, and this is a reality in the society of the United States in America.
Just remember to hold your loved ones closer, choose to live well and responsibly, do not get worked up if someone embarrasses you and harasses you, and remember that that only person that can control you is you. You matter to you. Everyone, good luck this week, try to stay positive, humble, and responsible. Always choose forgiveness or blame, grace over judgement, peace over violence, love over hate. I know… some days are easier than other days. But you have a choice to think.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).