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“The Cut” is a weekly reporters notebook-type essay by an Ideastream Public Media content creator, reflecting on the news and on life in Northeast Ohio. What exactly does “The Cut” mean? It's a throwback to the old days of using a razor blade to cut analog tape. In radio lingo, we refer to sound bites as “cuts.” So think of these behind-the-scene essays as “cuts” from Ideastream's producers.

Feeling the pain of mass shootings

A pallet painted like an American flag leans against a shack. Yellow police tape attached to another stack of pallets is torn and strewn across the ground at an agricultural business in Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Aaron Kehoe
Police tape marks off the scene of a shooting off Cabrillo Highway, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, after a gunman killed several people at two agricultural businesses in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Officers arrested a suspect in Monday’s shootings, 67-year-old Chunli Zhao, after they found him in his car in the parking lot of a sheriff’s substation, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said.

The headlines hurt.

Monterey Park victims' names are released as the gunman's motives are investigated

A gunman killed 7 people in shootings in Half Moon Bay, California

Mass shootings happen so often that when tweets and headlines roll in, I wonder if I’m becoming numb to them. But, sure enough, after clicking links and diving into stories, the sadness and feelings for these defenseless people begins.

I have the privilege of putting my phone down and turning off the TV. Avoiding the pain is nowhere near as easy for the people in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay.

My condolences to the families of the victims. I hope you find healing and community and are met with empathy and understanding.

When it comes to the mass shootings in California, my reporting work was tame. I spoke with some locals the day after the shooting to get their reactions.

But reporters and producers covering these stories on the front lines are taking on a level of grief that can be hard to address. They are tasked with covering trauma while hiding their own.

To the journalists covering the stories on the front lines: I hope you find rest, healing and community.

These shootings happened after Lunar New Year weekend, a time when predominately Asian communities like Monterey Park are celebrating. These tragedies changed the feeling of celebrations around the country.

Before details and motives are discovered about these shootings, many people wondered if this was a hate crime toward Asian Americans. As a Filipino American myself, I certainly did. It's understandable, especially after the increase of harassment and hate crimes directed at Asian Americans over the last few years.

But as more details emerged, there was something rather disgusting about the Twitter users and internet trolls who found joy and excitement in the fact that the shooters were of Asian decent.

That fact doesn’t eliminate the uneasy feeling Asian Americans have about harassment and racism and it certainly doesn’t diminish the pain and grief BIPOC communities are going through this week as they see communities of color go through a mass shooting.

I spoke with Karis Tzeng earlier this week. She’s the Vice President of Planning for MidTown, Inc. – the community development corporation that oversees Cleveland's AsiaTown neighborhood.

Tzeng oversees a talented MidTown team that planned several Lunar New Year events for the neighborhood. They spent Lunar New Year morning working with Emperor’s Palace, an AsiaTown restaurant, to distribute free meals to the neighborhood.

Tzeng and I talked about how locals might be taking in and processing the news. She said people often need to rely on people for healing.

“Our strength is really in being able to reach out to each other to strengthen each other and develop that community strength,” Tzeng said. "I think that's such a hope that I have, that we can be fostering that connection for healing and for feeling that resilience.”

Tzeng said MidTown is creating programs, such as discussions and healing circles, to provide people a space for people to process and grieve together.

I end every interview by asking people if there’s anything else they want to add. Tzeng turned things around and asked me a question. She asked me how I was doing and offered herself as someone to talk to as we learned more about the tragic events in California.

Thank you, Karis.

This week especially, we could use that type of kindness, empathy and willingness to be a pal.

"The Cut" is featured in Ideastream Public Media's weekly newsletter, The Frequency Week in Review. To get The Frequency Week in Review, The Daily Frequency or any of our newsletters, sign up on Ideastream's newsletter subscription page.

Gabriel Kramer is a reporter/producer and the host of “NewsDepth,” Ideastream Public Media's news show for kids.