I can even begin to tell you how Ironic this is. First, I used to live in Cherokee County, Ga. I purchased my first house in Acworth. Cherokee County is beautiful, but they are definitely stuck in the past out there. Luckily, I moved out of Cherokee County at the right time. Earlier this year people of color and other minorities woke up to find hate letters in their mailboxes (https://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/residents-receive-threatening-letter-in-mailbox). That should tell you all you need to know about Cherokee County. While walking in my subdivision (Centennial Lakes), I felt quite uncomfortable at times.
The recent attacks on the Asian community were despicable. It's something that we've seen all too often in this country. Entire demographics being hunted down and slaughtered. We've seen it happen in the African American community for decades, and now it is happening in the Asian American community. Calling Covid-19 the "China Virus", and "Kung Flu” were words that started a war against the Asian community. As with every war in the past, and every war that will happen in the future...there are casualties. Innocent people hurt/killed, and an entire demographic of people will live in fear for an extended period of time.
How do I know this? Because I've experienced it first hand. When I deployed to Iraq in 2006 I went out on many missions that involved American forces being hurt/killed. 2006 - 2007 was the height of the war in Iraq and when we heard about units being injured it caused fear throughout the entire unit. Everyone was scared...we all had PTSD from things that happened hours before. Even while out in sector, soldiers were saying how they couldn't wait to get back to the United States, and how scared they were while out on missions.
But that was Iraq...This is the United States. I've talked to a few of my friends in the Asian community. People are scared, they are scared to go outside, they are scared to be seen in public, afraid of going to work. The events that happened in Cherokee County sent shock waves throughout the Asian community. An event so insidious that an entire demographic of people are now victims and possibly future victims of more violent attacks.
Should people in America live in fear of attacks from other Americans? Absolutely not. Domestic terrorism is spreading within this country at a rapid pace. It started at the top, and the word spread throughout the ranks and now soldiers are executing commands. Spreading hate, propaganda, and racism to instill fear within a group of people. Living in fear is not the American way. To think to yourself "Am I next?”. That's no way to live. That's not the American way.
I lost friends in Iraq, and I myself was shot by a sniper. Unlike Iraq, the victims of this event don't get military funerals. There are no Purple Hearts given to the people who survive these attacks. All that's left is fear. Fear that if you send your kids to school they will be beaten up or bullied. Fear that the red car has been following you for 20 minutes. Fear that every trip you take outside of your house may be your last. "The land of the free and the home of the brave” right? Isn't this still America?
Mental health is what I talk about as a professional speaker. PTSD is also what I live with as a result of an ambush that left me permanently disabled. For me PTSD is living in fear of being shot by another sniper. That maybe one day he/she will come back to finish the job. It's feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable in open spaces because it's the same environment that I was shot in back in 2007. It's being depressed every memorial day, veterans day, and on 9/11 because there are constant reminders of the day I was injured.
Talking with individuals in the Asian community, they are very afraid. The thing about PTSD is the event doesn't have to happen to you for you to be impacted by it. The Asian friends that I have that still live in Acworth are telling me they are looking to move. They don't want to live in the community that is a constant reminder of the recent events. They haven't even been able to piece together the recent events. And now that the Sheriff that has been working the case has a questionable past, they don't feel supported by the people sworn to protect and serve them.
This is not the way we are supposed to live, this is not who we are, this is not the American Way.
Stop Asian Hate