With the rise of Asian hate crimes, another hateful act was committed on March 16 that led to the death of eight people, one injured, and the arrest of a 21-year-old shooter. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic being found and informed to the public to be from China, many people are generalizing it and blaming the fault to the entire Asian community, erupting many violent and racist acts.
Occurring in Atlanta, Georgia, three massage parlors or spas in the metropolitan area were attacked by a gunman now revealed to be Robert Aaron Long, leaving eight dead and six of which were Asian-women, which gives rise to the question if the incident was related to the increase in Asian hate crimes. Former federal officials state that there is not enough evidence to support and charge it as a hate crime, noting that the investigation is still extensively continuing. Authorities however suspected that Long was motivated by guilt from sex addiction.
“He apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places and it’s a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate,” Jay Baker, a captain with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia.
Oddly enough, during the news conference held on Wednesday, March 17 in Atlanta, officer Banker sounded empathetic towards Long stating that, “yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” leaving many appalled and enraged. In any normal situation, when someone is having a bad day they would rant to their friends or enjoy a pint of ice-cream, not commit murders.
A Tweet from Jenny Yang, an American comic and writer in Los Angeles shares her response on Twitter to the conference declaring, “SEXUAL FIXATION AND RACIALLY MOTIVATED HATE CRIME IS NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.” Others express the same frustration as they see Officer Banker’s announcement to be undermining the true importance of the crime and the deaths that were involved, as well as not putting as much pressure on the suspect to hold accountability. Officer Banker’s report was insensitive and inappropriate according to the public. In
Students from Silver Creek High school shared their thoughts on the event.
“Truly horrific… those people came to work that day to make a living and support their families, instead, they fell victim to an unjustifiable hate crime.” – Amy Lai, Senior
“To think that it was just simply a passing day until the shooting happened. The victims definitely deserve justice from this hate crime.” -Fatima Dong, Senior
As of right now, Long is charged with 8 counts of murder.
In light of the shooting, government officials are working together to provide resources to fight against xenophobia against Asian people and taking initiative to better track and investigate hate crimes. The White House also announced a plan to work with state and local law enforcement to train their members on how to handle hate crimes.
The people that have sadly passed are not just part of statistics, their names and lives should be remembered and respected. Please visit https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56446771 to learn about the victims’ stories.