The L.A. Times reports that on Thursday night Sook Y. Key, 42, shot her husband, Ho Yeol Ki, 44, then turned the gun on herself. It happened at their apartment on the 400 block of South Detroit Street in the Miracle Mile, the short news brief says. L.A. homicide detectives are sadly too familiar with Korean American murder-suicides. Last year the LA Weekly's Christine Pelisek reported on a string of five such cases that left Korean L.A. reeling:
The cases, which seem to revolve around a mix of financial woes, relationships and domestic-violence issues, have forced the usually private affairs of the Korean-American community into the open. "Unfortunately we have a tendency to ignore whatever weakness we have or the dark side of the community,” said Charles Kim, president of the national Korean American Coalition. "Instead of openly dealing with it, we have a tendency to hide. It is part of the culture. We know it is there but we don’t want to face the facts. We try to collectively, as a community, to ignore it and hope the families find a way to deal with it. It is considered an embarrassment."
Something else was at play this week, I believe. I'm not talking about Seung-hui Cho. The difficult issue of violence in the Korean community is now, thankfully, being widely discussed. I'm referring to the wind. All week long these howling dry winds were lashing against trees and windows in L.A., kicking up duststorms, snatching away dead palm fronds, bringing the coyotes and raccoons down from the hills. People all over the city seemed restless and nervous. Joan Didion knew the feeling:
"'On nights like that,' Raymond Chandler once wrote about the Santa Ana, 'every booze party ends in a fight. Meek litle wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen.'"
* UPDATE: A friend points out that also on Thursday a man set himself on fire at Long Beach City Hall. Authorities identified him as Ha Ouy Nguyen. There is relief from the maddening wind today, in the form of rain.