Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > Another act of gun violence takes 12 lives — immigrants taking their citizenship exam

Another act of gun violence takes 12 lives — immigrants taking their citizenship exam

LatinaLista — Binghamton, New York is reeling from a massacre that took place at the American Civic Association, a place that helps immigrants and refugees with counseling, resettlement, citizenship, family reunification and translators.
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Hostages from the Binghamton shooting leave the American Civic Association with help from police.

The shooter was an Asian man, 42-years-old. He initially shot and killed twelve immigrants who were among a class taking their citizenship exam. According to news reports, the rest of the people were in the building at the time took refuge in various parts of the building.
The local news site,, reports on their website that “at one point more than 40 hostages were being held in the building at 131 Front Street — 15 in a closet and 26 in the boiler room.”
In an email to Latina Lista, Jennifer Micale, assistant metro editor of Press & Sun-Bulletin, said that so far the ethnicity of the victims is not known, nor the motive of the shooter.
CNN is reporting that the shooter is from upstate New York and so unless there is a suicide note or he spoke to anyone, it is speculation as to what his motives may have been.
What is certain is that this particular building was his intended destination. Whether it was staff or clients he was gunning for will be determined, maybe, later.
Whatever the outcome of the investigation, one thing is clear — this was a man who had no business having a gun.
If this isn’t yet another argument for stricter gun laws, I don’t know what is.


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  • Michaela
    April 3, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Very tragic but inevitable. How long did all these Hispanic racist groups think Americans would tolerate their racism and destruction of our country?

  • Lew Waters
    April 3, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Marisa, does it escape you that criminals don’t follow the laws? Why would a stricter gun law stop a senseless act as this when his sister said he didn’t own any guns?
    Imagine, if you will, someone there, trained and licensed with a concealed carry permit and armed. What is the possibility that so many deaths could have been prevented?
    But, I do applaud you for not linking this one as another “radical Republican.” Of course, the day isn’t over yet, is it?

  • Bill
    April 3, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Actually, this is a good argument for concealed carry. If one or more of those involved had been armed, this whole situation could have ended much less tragically.

  • Horace
    April 4, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Short of giving a psychiatric exam to every gun owner on a yearly basis or banning guns entirely (a 2nd Amendment issue that’s already been adjudicated by the SCOTUS), mass murder is the risk of living in a free society. We all drive automobiles and use everyday tools that may be diverted to harming others. If the man didn’t use a gun, he may have resorted to something else.
    The miscreant happens to be a Vietnamese immigrant. So sorry to disappoint those who would find this to be an opportunity to blame sheriff Joe, Lou Dobs, Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity.

  • Evelyn
    April 4, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    N.Y. Shootings — Platform for Anti-Immigrant Bloggers
    Posted: Apr 04, 2009
    The massacre that left 14 people dead yesterday is the latest devastating reminder that the flow of assault weapons remains a national crisis. The killing spree also drew hateful responses, ironically towards the victims of this shooting.
    In downtown Binghamton, N.Y., at least one armed gunman walked into the American Civic Association, an organization that provides services for immigrants. Sadly, what should have been an opportunity and path towards fulfilling dreams of citizenship was turned into a nightmare.
    The gunman fired away, killing people in a citizenship class. He is then believed to have killed himself after what appeared to a brief hostage situation.
    Several people were hospitalized for wounds suffered during the shooting. But the attacks did not end there.
    For some people, this tragedy was not a moment for compassion, but rather a chance to spew hate. Among the online comments posted on the Press&Sun Bulletin of Binghamton, for example:
    “Stop crying over spilled immigrants. There’s plenty more where they come from.”
    “The US does NOT belong to a bunch of angry Asian, Mexican, or Nigerian immigrants.”
    “They ought to teach the black inner-city thugs how to shoot. A lot of our problems would be solved. Bring on the hate mail. Let’s go!”
    These individuals shamefully turn a blind eye to the humanity of immigrants in any and every situation. This race baiting and immigrant bashing did not go unanswered. One disgusted commentator wrote, “Once again–this race diatribe is pointless. This is a TRAGEDY that needs to be mourned, not a platform for hate.”
    Our hearts are with the families who now have to bury their loved ones. And our hope lies with the great majority of Americans who can see through the ugliness of backwards individuals.

  • Sandra
    April 5, 2009 at 7:51 am

    I wonder who it was that was making fun of his accent or his lack of command of the English language. It would seem odd that it would be those immigrants that he killed so I wonder why he targeted them? I also wonder why a man who came here as an immigrant and became a naturalized citizen and lived in this country for 28 years was so lacking in his English skills. Hopefully all of these questions will be answered as the investigation goes on.

  • RealDemocrat
    April 5, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    English immersion is the answer to unifying all Americans!!!

  • Hissy
    April 5, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Same old story Sandra…there are folks in my area that have been here for YEARS and YEARS and speak no English. They don’t need to learn…signs everywhere and welfare/catholic social service folks help them….or should I say aide and abet them? They don’t even need to know English to drive or buy insurance. They just do it and if they get caught…they simply buy a new ID. Great scam if you can pass.

  • Irma
    April 6, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Most Americans cannot speak or write English properly. Even the news agencies
    consistently make mistakes such as the proper use of less versus few.
    English is a difficult language to learn, in part because it has probably more exceptions to the rules than rules!
    This tragedy was due to the actions of a
    mentally ill person. The fact that
    he couldnt speak English well was
    not what motivated him to kill all those people. His motivation came from
    a deep, unrelenting dissatifaction with his life . He refused to accept responsibility for it, so he decided to punish the world.

  • Alessandra
    April 7, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I don’t know if I’m going to be able to adequately articulate what I am thinking, so bear with me here.
    It seems as though when tragedies like this happens, the natural response is to ask, “why?” and to try to make some sense out of the senseless. Many times those with political agendas try to use these tragedies to make some kind of political point. In reality, there are always going to be people who suffer from mental illness and who are walking time bombs. We can try to point to this or that factor which might have “set them off,” but really nobody knows.
    Just like the guy in FL who went off on those students from Chile: this was NOT the action of a balanced person. If he hadn’t gone off on them, eventually something else would have set him off. Probably the same with the guy in Binghamton. Seriously, what normal person walks into an office building and slaughters people in cold blood because of some perceived insult or because his life isn’t going the way he would like it to? Same with the guy in Pittsburgh who killed the police officers.
    We have 300 million people living in this country. The vast majority are relatively peaceful and law-abiding. Those folks don’t make the headlines.
    I’m not against sensible gun laws; however, I think we also need to be realistic and realize that criminals or those who are hell-bent on committing criminal acts will always find a way to obtain weapons.

  • Sandra
    April 7, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Irma, that is BS that MOST Americans cannot speak or write English properly. Those would be among the minority, not the majority. That is irrelevant to this case anyway.
    Since you cannot know what was in the head of this killer you cannot say what things motivated him. All we know is what has been reported so far. He lacked decent English skills after becoming a citizen and living in this country for 28 years. Therefore he felt alienated from our society and some were making fun of him. His job loss was also a factor as was reported. Of course it would take a mentally unstable person to do what he did just based on those two things.
    My question is why since he came to this country as an immigrant himself choose to kill immigrants? Perhaps it was the immigrants who were making fun of him? It seems unlikely but then…the media sure wouldn’t report that, would they?

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