|Huynh at wedding late last year|
His name is Thich Huynh, and he has lived in Easton since 1979. He is part of the diaspora of Vietnamese refugees who fled the Communists at the end of the Vietnam war, with nothing other than the clothing on their backs. This was during a time when we did not automatically close the door in the faces of persons fleeing tyranny and human rights abuses in other countries.
He was part of a large family of sisters, brothers and their families who left by boat and made their way to the USA after spending several months at a camp in Indonesia.
When the family first arrived, they were initially placed by Catholic Charities in the Bath and Tamaqua area, where they were put to work on local farms.
Huynh's family was ultimately placed in Easton. All of them found jobs and a few of them worked two or three jobs to support their families. One of them could take a car apart and put it back together, and received such high grades that he was offered a scholarship. He received a Ph.D. in Engineering and now works at NASA, designing rockets.
Thich is no NASA scientist or scholar, but was happy to work at Circle Systems, now known as Shutt Sports, reconditioning football helmets.
Huynh has no car and is accustomed to walking everywhere. Sometimes I see him and offer to give him a ride, but unless it is very cold, he likes to walk.
That's what he was doing on Wednesday night when people began shooting. He usually walks an hour or so after dinner. He was walking near his home and had stopped near a park for a moment to rest when he was struck in the chin by a bullet.
Police rushed him to the hospital. When the hospital was ready to release him later that evening, he had no clothing. Police had taken everything, even his shoes, for evidence. They also took the keys he needs to get in his home, so his sister and brother were unable to get him clothing. The hospital scrounged around and found some old clothing for him to wear.
On Thursday morning, at 6 am, Huynh reported to work. But because the doctor placed him on "light duty" for 10 days, Huynh was sent home. He will lose two weeks pay. He is naturally terrified after having been shot, so I doubt he'll be taking many walks. West Ward has become a war zone in which every illegal car is booted by the Panto Parking Police, but shooters are at large.
They've got their priorities.
Lance Wheeler, a long-time West Ward activist and local constable, wants to know why there were no cameras in the park.
"The Mayor wants to ban guns in parks. How about installing cameras? If there were cameras, police would already have the shooters."
Noting that the City recently received a grant from the County for things like landlord training, Wheeler thinks a better use of that money would have been for cameras.
"They have cameras everywhere downtown. Why not the West Ward?"
Vietnam, incidentally, ranks #120 of 170 countries for gun violence. The United States ranks first.