Reflections on the shootings in CA: Death, Bloodshed, and still no Gun Control

A savvy protester implores us to do better

As you probably seen in the news, this past Saturday night, January 21, 2023, a gunman, open fire at a ballroom and sell at a celebration for a lunar new year, killing 11 people (  The suspect in the shooting was male and he subsequently took his own life.  He was using a semi automatic weapon.  The suspected shooter was Vietnamese-American, named Huu Can Tran (  As many people have pointed out, on occasion, that was supposed to be a beautiful ritual and celebration, the celebration of a new year and a new start, we now have more tragedy and deaths by gun violence. 
Lunar New Year is a beautiful cultural celebration that ought to peaceful, safe, and joyous

Just two days after that, a shooter in Half Moon Bay opened fired, killing 7 people.  His name is Chunli Zhao and he is of Asian descent.  While motives are not completely known at this time, it seems as if this was a case of workplace violence.  It is another senseless tragedy  (

I am so saddened and angry again to hear this news. WTF is going on in this country? This is just absolutely ridiculous. I am so heartbroken and so sad to hear about the deaths of the victims, the injuries of many others, the emotional scars that many will carry for a lifetime as a result of this trauma.  Why is there so much gun violence in the US? Why can’t we at least pass some good gun control? Why are we failing people, letting them get to the point they are so angry and filled with hatred that acting out in a violent way is their only way to communicate their pain to the world? Why are people so isolated?   I also feel so sad and devastated for the Asian-American community as they grieve and grapple with this tragedy.

I don’t have answers as to how to reduce gun violence.  One thing I am going to be thinking about is how I can contribute to helping to reduce gun violence in the United States. That’s going to be on my list for 2023, be at writing letters, or donating to causes. I feel so sad, angry, and powerless to stop this from happening again. Sigh.  But at least I know I can still pray and meditate, and that helps some. I hope you will join me. And finally, let us turn to jazz, to soothe our soul. 

Celebrations of Lunar New Year: this year, we honor and remember the victims of the shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay

Jazz Therapy Weekly Meditation: Meditation to Honor the victims of shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay

In this week’s meditation, we will:

-Send positive energy to the community of Monterey Park

-Send healing energy to the families of victims of the shooting in Monterey Park

-Send positive energy to the deceased gunmen, Huu Can Tran, that his soul be at peace and that  he let go of his hatred

-Send positive energy to the victims and their families of the Half Moon Bay shooting

-Send positive energy to the suspected gunmen, Chunli Zhao

Jazz Therapy Playlist and Musical Commentary: Honoring Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay

Emotional Dwelling (To Mirror Your Mood)

“Nature Boy,” Django Reindhardt, Quintette Hot Club du France, 1949

I chose this song for it’s melancholy feel, and the slow nature of the tune.  Django could really communicate through his music, and we feel his lament in this tune.  I feel sad about these shootings, that they occurred within mere days of each other, and so angry that still, we don’t have better gun control in this country.  Listen to Django strum and may your soul be soothed.

Emotional Elevation (To Feel Better)

“Robin’s Nest,” Jimmy Forrest, Most Much!, 1962

This song is a great showcase for Jimmy Forrest and how he can swing hard with the best of them, as he is in great form here on the tenor sax.  Hugh Lawson is on piano, Tommy Potter is on bass, and Clarence Johnson on drums; this is also sound-engineered by Rudy Van Gelder album, meaning it’s sound quality is of the absolute best.  This tune will get you moving and snapping your fingers-it will help bring your mood up in the aftermath of these tragic shootings.

Emotional Innovation (To Experience Something New)

“Hey Mrs. Jones,” Jimmy Forrest, Night Train, 1990

I chose this song because the lyrics are a real hoot, and funny vocals set to great jazz is a real win.  This track is labeled a “bonus” song on this album, and I’m so glad it was included.  This song was also a Billboard hit for Jimmy Forrest; always a win when jazz crosses over to the mainstream.

Jazz Birthdays Each week, we will highlight birthdays of jazz performers around the world.  We are grateful they exist!

Happy Birthday to all January babies! Especially jazz lovers!

Django Reinhardt (23 January 1910 – 16 May 1953)

“Django” was his Romani nickname, and this Belgian-born gypsy is regarded as one of the best jazz guitar players, ever.  Just listen to his music, and you will see why.  He could make any tune swing, all in his timeless, signature style. 

Jimmy Forrest (January 24, 1920 – August 26, 1980)

An American jazz tenor saxophonist, Forrest is associated with “hard bop” and had an incredible career. 

Call for Poetry

Are you a poet? We are accepting submissions for our weekly “Poetry Play” portion of the “Jazz Therapy” newsletter! Your poem could be about jazz, civil rights, or any current event/theme that might go along with each newsletter.  You will get free publicity and appreciative eyes from the readers of “Jazz Therapy!”

Thank you for reading! Leave us a comment, subscribe, and share.  May Jazz Therapy soothe your soul.


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