Laguna Woods: Globalization at its most deranged
I lost my appetite for my normal newsletter fare this afternoon when I read in the L.A. Times that Sunday’s mass shooting at an Irvine County church attended by Taiwanese Presbyterians is being described as a “hate crime” connected to Chinese-Taiwanese geopolitics.
“Among the evidence recovered, [Orange County Sheriff Don] Barnes said, were notes written in Chinese that [the shooter] left in his car showing he did not believe Taiwan should be an independent state from China.”
The degree of premeditation is horrific to contemplate:
“Officials alleged that the suspect secured church doors with chains and tried to disable locks with superglue. He also attempted to nail at least one door shut, Barnes said. Bags containing magazines of ammunition, as well as four Molotov-cocktail-like incendiary devices, were found at the scene.”
The threat of violence to resolve the relationship between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan can of course never be taken off the table, given the Chinese Communist Party’s explicit -- and ever more vociferous, in the Xi Jinping era -- threats of military invasion. And one need only take a cursory glance at the foul anti-Taiwanese rhetoric that is a staple of mainland Chinese social media to guess that eventually government-encouraged hate speech would transmute into murder. This is normal stuff in our crazy times -- the Irvine shooting wasn’t even the most horrific example this weekend of mass murder spawned by irresponsible political rhetoric.
But there is a disastrous convergence of factors in the Irvine tragedy that speaks to the peculiarly toxic ferment metastasizing in our over-connected world.
I have to assume that only some degree of mental illness can explain how a geopolitical dispute would inspire
a Chinese immigrant a naturalized American citizen who lives in Las Vegas to plan and execute an assault against innocent church-goers in Irvine, California. But mental illness doesn’t become attempted mass murder, in this case, without the catastrophic combination of easy access to guns and the panopticonic drumbeat of CCP propaganda demonizing Taiwan. Neither Xi Jinping nor the NRA will be able to wash this blood from their hands. They are making the world a more dangerous place, and at this point, it is amazing that any of us are sane.
This is globalization at its most deranged.
A tweet from Taiwanese journalist Jessica Drun speaks for me:
“I am so tired, and my heart hurts so much.”
POSTSCRIPT: Apparently, the shooter was a second generation “waishengren” — a term that describes citizens of Taiwan whose families came to Taiwan with Chiang Kai-shek after the end of the Chinese Civil War.