The San Jose killings put a spotlight on the dysfunctional state of our union.

Editorial is the opinion of Morgan Hill Life

“What the hell is wrong with us?”

Like many South Valley residents, we felt shocked learning the morning of May 26 about yet another mass killing in America. This one took place a short drive north of our homes when a lone man with handguns murdered nine employees at the Valley Transportation Authority’s maintenance yard in central San Jose.

Let us remember the victims from this senseless tragedy:

  • Adrian Balleza, 29
  • Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35
  • Taptejdeep Singh, 36
  • Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40
  • Paul Delacruz Megia, 42
  • Alex Ward Fritch, 49
  • Timothy Michael Romo, 49
  • Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63
  • Lars Kepler Lane, 63

The news of Adrian Balleza’s death is especially hard to bear for many people in the South Valley region who knew the Gilroy resident and family man. His cousin Mariah Gomez started a GoFundMe webpage to help his grieving wife, Heather, and their 2-year-old son, Joseph. To donate, visit

Gomez wrote on the page: “Truly there are no words to express the magnitude of this on us. Adrian was a loving father, an amazing husband, son, tio, and much more. He still had so much to give. Our hearts are not ready to say goodbye but we know Adrian is truly in a better place and will be going to watch over his family. He was a family man, a loving and caring person and we can’t believe all of this is real.”

For some in the South Valley, the news of this recent mass murder might bring up painful emotions from revived memories of the 2019 Gilroy Garlic Festival mass shooting.

We encourage community members who need support to call the Santa Clara County’s Behavioral Health Services call center and get connected to services at 1-800-704-0900, select option 2, or the Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 1-855-278-4204 or text RENEW to 741741.

The San Jose killings put a spotlight on the dysfunctional state of our union. In the aftermath, politicians and pundits shared their thoughts in the media, expressing how Americans are increasingly numbed by the never-ending horror of innocent men, women and children losing their lives to rampant gun violence.

In a press conference, California Gov. Gavin Newsom asked the question we all are asking: “What the hell is going on in the United States of America? What the hell is wrong with us?”

Perhaps what the hell is wrong with us is that the American people are so deeply polarized that we are too paralyzed to fix the problems that plague us — including the constant stream of slaughter from gun violence such as the mass killing in San Jose.

We are growing increasingly divided along ideological lines — and this is destroying our ability to unite to end gun violence.

We Americans can heal our nation if we can stop fighting and start uniting. To do so requires true leaders on all levels of government — from local to national. We now need men and women who possess a dynamic vision and the courage to bring all American people together with a mission to leave a legacy of a brighter tomorrow for upcoming generations. We now stand at the crossroads of history. What the hell is wrong with us is that our nation is failing the test of true leadership.

As the approaching Fourth of July celebration serves to remind us of our nearly 250 years of the American experiment in democracy, let us use that holiday to begin the process of healing our nation. Let us start the process of bringing an end to the mass murders that have grown epidemic by ending the polarization that paralyzes us.

Once we let go of our trivial tribal ideologies and come together around our shared common humanity, we can fix the problems that plague our nation.

Morgan Hill Life Editorial
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