Update on the shooting yesterday in Binghamton, NY

I just happened to catch a press conference today at noontime with the Mayor of Binghamton and the Police Chief.   Angela Leach, director of the American Civic Association also read a statement.   See our previous posts on the tragedy here and here.

The Police Chief said the shooter’s name was Jiverly A. Wong (he spelled the last name) and said he believed the man was Vietnamese.  The name isn’t Vietnamese, so I’ll be interested to see what more we learn.

Wong was wearing body armor which the Chief said indicated he was anticipating return fire from law enforcement.  He had permits for his hand guns and those had been acquired in 1996 or 1997.    Wong had been taking English classes at the Civic Association until early March, but had at that time quit.   The Chief also said that Wong was upset because he couldn’t learn English.  Now, besides the name, that doesn’t make sense because we had previously learned he had been in the US for possibly more than two decades.

Of course, if he was mentally handicapped that might explain his inability to learn English and a whole lot more.

By the way, the Chief also mentioned that he was aware of a claim of responsibility by a terrorist group and said the FBI was looking into it, but that it was highly unlikely.

Update later in the afternoon of April 4th:   Wong was ethnically Chinese but is from Vietnam, had recently lost his job, and a friend has quoted him as saying, “I don’t like America, America sucks!”   Photo here also.

Update April 5th:    I wonder why World Relief went out of business in Binghamton.  More from AP:

Wong’s father was well-known in the Binghamton area through his work years ago at the now-defunct World Relief Organization, helping recent immigrants find a doctor and obtain food stamps.

Bizarre update to shooting story

Fox News is reporting

A Pakistani Taliban militant leader has claimed responsibility for the attack on a U.S. immigration center in New York state in which 13 people were killed, Reuters reported.

“I accept responsibility. They were my men. I gave them orders in reaction to U.S. drone attacks,” Baituallah Mehsud told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location on Saturday.

U.S. officials were not immediately available for comment about Mehsud’s claim, Reuters reported, and one Pakistani security analyst dismissed the claim as a publicity stunt.

I’m inclined to agree that Mehsud is claiming responsibility for something he had nothing to do with. If Vietnamese immigrants are joining the jihad, we’re in even more trouble than I’d thought.

America remaking immigrants, or immigrants remaking America?

Somali immigrants remake Minneapolis is the headline of a good piece by David Paulin in The American Thinker today. He comments on the New York Times article that Ann posted on the other day, about Somalis and health care in Minneapolis.  The article is part of a series in the Times called Remade in America, the first part of which I posted on earlier.

Paulin points out that Mexicans make up most of the influx of immigrants into Minneapolis. But he focuses on the Somalis because their cultural differences, their enormous health-care needs and the terrorist connections that are being investigated by the FBI have a greater impact on the city and on America. He points out that the lengthy account of their health care problems makes no mention of female circumcision; presumably none of the doctors or other people quoted mentioned it.

And he goes on to make this comment: 

One of the unstated assumptions of the Times piece is that America is a nation of immigrants. That’s not quite correct. It is a nation of settlers and immigrants. The original settlers from England were White Anglo Saxon Protestants, as the late Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington observed. Later, there were immigrants from Europe, and they adapted to the culture created by the original settlers while making contributions of their own. But in an era of multiculturalism, those days are gone. Now, every culture is equal. What’s more, the WASP and his culture is vilified.

Then he quotes Huntington from his book, Who Are We?:

Contributions from immigrant cultures modified and enriched the Anglo-Protestant culture of the founding settlers. The essentials of that founding culture remained the bedrock of U.S. identity, however, at least until the last decades of the 20th century. Would the United States be the country that it has been and that it largely remains today if it had been settled in the 17th and 18th centuries not by British Protestants but by French, Spanish, or Portuguese Catholics? The answer is clearly no. It would not be the United States; it would be Quebec, Mexico, or Brazil.


Shooting at a refugee agency, it’s not the first time

Yesterday’s tragic shooting at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, NY is not the first such shooting at a refugee resettlement office in the US.  In 1997 a refugee entered a Catholic Charities office in Phoenix with a rifle, but the only fatality that day was the refugee himself.

Here is the story (Lost in America) from Salon.com about a shooting incident involving Sudanese refugee, Simon Deng:

…..Jany Deng, 26, landed in Phoenix in 1995; he and his blood brother Simon were two of the first four Lost Boys to arrive in Arizona. Their saga had begun 10 years before.

While herding cattle in 1985, Jany and other boys from his village witnessed the destruction of their homes by government-backed Islamic militias. They took off running, beginning a multiyear exodus that spanned East Africa and countries around the globe. Many of their parents were murdered and their sisters raped, enslaved and killed. (As a result, there are fewer Lost Girls.)

For years, tens of thousands of Lost Boys walked more than 1,000 miles across East Africa, thousands dying of starvation, disease, and militia and animal attacks. Jany and his group first went east to Ethiopia, where Jany was reunited with Simon, who had made it there with another group of Lost Boys. But when civil war flared up in 1990, they fled back to Sudan. They returned to nothing: Their family and village were gone. Eventually they trekked to Kenya, winding up in the Dadaab refugee camp. After a year in Dadaab, they were among the first few relocated to the United States.

America is like going to Heaven.

In the 2003 documentary film “Lost Boys of Sudan,” one Lost Boy expresses the shared perception, while in the Kakuma refugee camp, of what it will be like to leave for America: “This journey is like you are going to heaven.”

When Jany and Simon arrived in Arizona, Jany, then age 16, was sent to live with a foster family; Simon, 23, shared an apartment with two older boys. It was a pattern that continued from coast to coast as more of them came; the minors were resettled with families, while older Lost Boys were placed in dingy apartments, often cramped together, in rough city neighborhoods or on the outskirts of towns.

I can’t help mentioning here that we have many times advocated that, if we are going to be bringing refugees to the US,  the refugees must be sponsored by families or other groups (church groups, civic groups etc.) so that they have someone to look out for them, to help them assimilate, to be their personal friend.   I’m not saying this Phoenix incident could have been prevented, but the practice of placing refugees with impersonal agencies who in turn place refugees in lousy apartments in bad neighborhoods must take a toll on some mentally fragile immigrants.

In April 1997, Simon Deng snapped and went looking for his caseworkers at the Catholic resettlement agency he had been placed with originally.

In Phoenix, Jany attended school, made friends and joined the track team; Simon couldn’t keep a job. He told Jany that “people looked at him different and made comments.” By the spring of 1997, Simon had grown despondent. He wanted to bring his girlfriend from Dadaab to Arizona, but to no avail. He had no money or job prospects. According to Jany, Simon began to speak of suicide.

On Apr. 10, 1997, Simon bought a 9MM rifle and rode a city bus toward the Catholic Social Services office building in North Phoenix. He got off the bus, took the rifle out of its box and fired it in the parking lot of a Circle K convenience store before heading to the office. A police helicopter and officers responded as Simon entered Catholic Social Services at lunchtime. Once inside, Simon looked for his caseworkers and, according to the police report, began firing his gun in the air. No one was hurt. The police arrived at the building and Simon shot at Officer Terrence Kobza. Kobza returned fire and killed Simon with a bullet in the arm and another in the chest.

Sooner or later we will find out what caused Voong (or whatever his name is) to attack the very agency that was set up to help him.   Were Simon Deng  and Jiverly Voong just mentally unstable and then somehow, for no reason, blamed the resettlement agency for the unhappy turn of their lives?  We may never know, but it’s worth considering.

Comment worth noting on a Minnesota Somali family

Commenter CL posted this comment on our Refugee Resettlement Fact sheet page and I thought it worth re-posting where more people would see it:

I understand the plight of refugees and have no problem with those that come here, and make a better life for themselves and for america. My problem is those that disrespect america and still want a hand out. As someone new to Minnesota, I had never met a Somali person (although I do have some really great muslim friends..which is not the issue). I bought a nice house only to find out the house next to me was rented by Somalis. They take no pride in where they live at all. THe place is always a mess. THey are loud and very disrespectful. Their teen kids are even worse. We have had to call the cops on them 3 times. They have done everything from ruin items on my property to stealing. One is headed to jail for a gang-related stabbing. They always have new cars in front of their house….and after about 6 months they are all banged up and then they just go get new ones….Many times their bills end up in my mailbox and I have to take them over, several times they have had court summons for drinking and drugs. I have finally decided to put my house on the market and try to move. I hope potential buyers wont be scared away by them…although I would. These are NOT the ppl I want in america. They are users…I am glad I am paying for their new cars and for all of their children to get a nice public education. what is sad is that I had no hard feeling toward them until I actually met them. Ugh.

Maybe all Somalis are like that, maybe they’re not. Note that CL is simply reporting on the Somalis who live next door to him. But you can bet that he will be called a racist, an Islamophobe and a refugee-hater for reporting what he has personally observed.