With 17 mass shooting incidents and 214 gun violence deaths this year, Indians are worried about raising families in Texas
This past weekend, Texans and people across America woke up to the ruthless reality of gun culture in the country. On Saturday, as unsuspecting Texans were enjoying their weekend in an outlet mall, in the suburb of Allen near Dallas, an active shooter stepped out of his car and killed nine people in a merciless, mindless attack.
An Indian engineer was killed and another was wounded during the incident. Just the next day, in Brownsville, some 600 miles from Allen, another incident claimed the lives of eight innocent bystanders waiting at a bus stop.
A car mowed down people who were near an immigrant center and injured 10 others. A few hours later on Sunday, a small argument among passengers onboard Dallas Dart train led to a person shooting another and injuring another person standing nearby.
While the news media described the events as a weekend of carnage, the truth that these may not be lone incidents stared sharply at Texans.
Just a week prior to these incidents on May 1, in Cleveland, Texas a gunman killed five of his neighbors when one of them complained about the convict using a gun in his yard.
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Given the frequency of the incidents and the gun laws in Texas which allow people to carry handguns in public even though the person may not have a license or have undergone a background check, the Indian community in the state is particularly concerned.
Many Indians who after obtaining a green card decided to shift to Texas given its tropical climate, no state tax and large desi community are now re-thinking their decision.
Nisha K. a 34-year-old professional with two kids, recently invested in a home in a popular desi suburb of Texas. Having lived in Seattle for a few years, the family decided to make Texas their permanent home but now they are concerned about their safety and are experiencing anxiety about shifting to the state.
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Nisha says, â€œWe did our research and chose a safe neighborhood and a suburb with good school ratings and safety standards but after the incident in Allen I am concerned and extremely nervous about leaving Seattle.â€
Mohit Kumar, another engineer who lives and works in New Jersey says, â€œNo state is safe from gun violence. With that being said, anyone can buy a gun and carry it in Texas â€“ no questions. I believe no state tax and summer season through the year are no parameters to consider when one is not safe stepping out.â€
Amit Patel, who lived in Houston when he first arrived in America says, â€œI do not foresee this will stop. There have been voices raised, protests but even the courts are not taking firm actions.â€
â€œTexas is a Republican state and if you look at statistics red states register more gun violence. It is up to us to see and decide how we safeguard or at least try to be safe.â€
However still others feel that no one can safeguard themselves when a random shooting can occur everywhere from a neighborhood to a mall.
Sheetal Singh says, â€œI fear for my family and kids and every day I say a little prayer before sending kids to school. This is alarming and can affect our mental health. Donâ€™t know what the solution is, raise voices here or head home to India.â€