The rush to judgment in Atlanta

March 19, 2021 • 1:30 pm

Everybody knows that Robert Aaron Long killed 8 people in Atlanta on Tuesday, 6 of them Asian women who worked at two spas. He apparently was on his way to Florida to engage in more murders, but was fortunately caught by the cops before he could kill again. As far as we know, he wasn’t motivated to kill by hatred of Asians (see below), but it’s early days.  We also know that there are reports that genuine hate crimes against Asians have increased dramatically, said to be a form of “retribution” for the coronavirus.

In this climate, people are already characterizing the Atlanta shooting as a hate crime, even though there’s evidence that if there was hate involved, it wasn’t against a “protected group” per se, but towards women at spas whom Long paid for sex. If this is the case, the murders were not attributable to the victims being Asian per se, but to their involvement in Long’s violating his strict religious upbringing and church membership, which forbad extramarital sex.  Long had reportedly been treated for sex addiction, and, at least to the cops, said he was trying to “eliminate the temptation.”  (If this is true, it would be a case of “religion poisoning everything”, since the killing would likely not have taken place without those prohibitions).  Under Georgia law, this probably wouldn’t be a hate crime, though of course sex addiction is NOT an excuse for mass murder! What’s at issue here is whether Long was motivated by anti-Asian bias or by a twisted cognitive dissonance caused by religion and sex—or both, or something else.

As I said earlier, it seems that many people are eager to cast this as a hate crime. I’m not going to engage in psychologizing about this because that leads one down some unsavory roads. But let me say that HuffPost, at least, has managed to cast Long’s visit to Asian spas as a form of racism (see article below)—even if he wasn’t biased against Asians. (He was “fetishizing Asian women”.) But it’s not clear whether Long even did fetishize Asian women or had sex with them because they were the only ones available at spas (perhaps he abjured prostitutes working the streets).

On the NBC Evening News the night before last, they interviewed an Asian woman, and asked her, as I recall, how she knew that the crime was based on bias when there was no hard evidence for that yet. She replied that it was based on “unconscious bias” that is part of systemic racism. In other words, she claimed that a hate crime was committed when the perpetrator didn’t even know he was motivated by hatred—but she apparently did!

These are not helpful claims, since all we know so far is what Long told police and what his friends say about his religious commitment.  It’s way too early to judge this as a hate crime, much less to send out alarms about a mass murder based on anti-Asian bigotry. If that’s not the case, it’s not helpful to scare people unnecessarily.

Here are the questions I asked about this, but haven’t yet answered and probably won’t. I’ll wait for the news to answer them for me (if they ever will!).

A. Is there really an increase in the proportion of hate crimes against Asians? We know that assaults and murders of Asians have increased, but have they increased disproportionately to similar crimes committed on non-Asians? As we all know, there’s been a huge increase in violent crime, including homicide, during the pandemic. I have seen no data on the proportionality in the news, though I’m prepared to believe whatever the data say.

B. What is the racial makeup of those who attack Asians? Long is white, but we’re not sure what his motivations were. I know that some of those who have killed or assaulted Asians are Black, but it’s actually surprisingly hard to find data on this. For several reasons, though, one wants to know who, exactly, is attacking Asians. The most important is that the attacks are said by some to be motivated by “White supremacy.” Yet if most of the crimes are committed by people of color, you can’t make that claim. Further, there’s a well-known animus against Asians among many poor Blacks, for the same reason that many blacks disliked Jews—they were merchants in underserved communities and thus were perceived as exploiting people of color.

C. If there is an increase in the proportion of assaults on Asians, is it because they are Asian per se, or because they are perceived to have money and property? But I am not sure if this question is relevant to the issue of a “hate crime”, and I don’t know how one could answer it except by taking the word of a criminal.

By the way, if you know the answers to questions A and B, by all means weigh in below.

Finally, and this isn’t related to the above but did strike me: are Asian women disproportionately concentrated in sex work in spas? This seems to be the conventional wisdom, but I don’t know the data. But if it’s true, I’d like to know why. Are they driven to this by poverty, is there really a fetishization of Asian women that would cause this, or is it some custom based on where immigrant Asians have found work, perhaps based on those women being exploited?

My point is not, of course, to excuse the accused killer, but to argue that we shouldn’t rush to judgment about why he killed—especially when the evidence we do have does not point towards bigotry. That knowledge is useful in judging the extent of bigotry-based crime, which is the first step in trying to stop it. It’s also important in making sure that we don’t unnecessarily escalate fears, making those of foreign descent feel extra scared or unwelcome.


UPDATE: Here’s some data from 2018 on the proportion of different groups who were subject to violent crime, and the ethnicities of the criminal. These were tweeted by Wilfred Reilly. Now the data are three years old, and don’t reflect the uptick in crimes on Asians that’s said to have occurred. At least back then, Asians were not predominantly assaulted by Whites, but Whites, Blacks, and other Asians assaulted Asians with roughly equal frequency.  (h/t: Luana)

In 2019, the total population percentage of these groups from Census statistics were:

White: 76.3%
Black: 13.4%
Hispanic: 18.5%
Asian:  5.9%


74 thoughts on “The rush to judgment in Atlanta

  1. I don’t know the answers to anybody your queries but I surely agree that it’s too early to be categorizing this as a hate crime. I am pretty certain that Asian massage parlors are super prevalent and if you were going try to find one without Asians it would be adds against.

    1. I know there are many such spas in south Florida, and the conventional wisdom is that they tend to be staffed by Asian women, at least some of whom are reputed to have been brought into the country illegally and are kept in this work under threat of various repercussions, including violence. But I do not know this other than from the general scuttlebutt, and have never visited one myself.

      This case makes me wonder – if the killer’s motive is as he is said to claim – why some people go this way and others go the way of William C. Minor, the mentally ill contributor to the original OED, who self-castrated to try to fight his sexual urges. One would think his would be a more reliable approach, frankly, and surely morally superior for a supposedly religious person to goin out and killing people. It’s not great, obviously, but one could probably even have it done under medically safe conditions in the modern world. Surely there would be a urologist in the Atlanta area who would be willing to provide such services for the man, especially if the alternative as he saw it was murder.

      1. Rather notoriously, Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots football team, visited one such establishment in Palm Beach County the morning his team won the Super Bowl.

        1. And whatever happened to that? He probably just doled out a few million and all was good…such is American justice for billionaires.

          1. IIRC, he did a “pretrial diversion” program — standard fare for most first-time misdemeanants and many less-serious (third-degree) felony offenders in Florida. The program generally requires some type of coursework and community service. There’s a particular program for johns pinched for securing the services of a prostitute, which involves safe-sex courses, STD testing, etc. Participants who complete the program successfully get their charges dismissed and can seek to seal their records.

    2. There are Greek diners, just as there are Italian pizzerias, Indian convenience stores, Irish bars, and yes, Korean massage parlors. Every wave of immigrants makes opportunity where they can.

      I do not believe this was a hate crime, except for a sad type of self-hatred. IMHO this caused by the cognitive dissonance between the religious poison he had been fed since birth and the hormonal imperatives of a 21 year old. I suspect if his pastor had had the wisdom to tell him that masturbation is always preferable to murder, those people would be alive today. But he didn’t, and they’re not.

  2. why would it be worse to kill a person because he/she is Asian as opposed to killing a person because she is a woman? And is it worse to kill someone don’t know as opposed to kill someone you do know? I obviously have difficulties getting the graduations between homicides.

    1. It’s almost as if the whole concept of “hate crime” is bollocks.

      Having said that, I have seen an argument for hate crimes being considered more serious. If you find your Jewish neighbour dead in the street with his wallet missing, you think “oh, he was mugged”. If you find him dead in the street with a yellow star of David pinned to his jacket, you think “anti semitic person killing Jews”. This leads to a general rise of fear amongst the Jewish community, because any one of them could be the next target.

      That was the argument: hate crimes induce fear in the targeted community which is harm over and above the actual murder. I’m not sure I completely buy it, or even if I do, I’m not sure it requires separate laws so much as guidelines to factor it into sentencing.

  3. Those who have been thoroughly indoctrinated with critical race theory seem unable to see an issue in any terms other than race. The women were of a different race or races therefore…..

  4. My first comment must again be, what difference does the motive make? Are we going to then stop the murder, stop the shooting, no we are not. What does finding the motive for all the shootings in Chicago lead to? Just more shooting far as I can tell.

    Easy access to guns is the real cause of all shootings. This guy in Atlanta bought the gun, a 9 mil hand gun, the same day he shot all of these people. He just walks in, lays down the money and walks out with a gun. Drives down the road and starts shooting. Only in America folks. Only in America.

    But certainly these women are being exploited into this trade. Why else are we seeing ASIA Message all over the place in many cities. Some of those killed have not even been identified yet because they have to contact people back in South Korea to find out names and attempt to notify relatives. That alone should tell us something as well.

    Many on the news are reporting a big increase in violence against Asians around the country soon after the virus started and good old Trump started calling it China’s fault and always calling it China virus, even when people asked him to stop calling it that. Hell, the bigoted police spokesman in Atlanta had stuff on social media about Chy-na virus. What is that all about?

    What in this country is not tied to racism of one kind or another is the question I have. On the question of – What is the racial make up of those attacking Asian Americans? I suspect it is White and Black but I do not have the numbers. Mass murders with guns in general are young white guys with lots of guns and ammo.

      1. The reports on the day of the shooting or next by the CHEROKEE country police said he bought it the same day. So if the day before, they were wrong. Several hours north of Atlanta you say? Where are you from? Canton Georgia, right in the middle of Cherokee county is 40 miles from Atlanta. other towns south of there in Cherokee are much closer. (45 to 50 minutes) Maybe you are talking frog miles.

    1. We’ve had a horrific rash of severe attacks on elderly Asians in the Bay Area recently. Not with weapons, and in most cases not robberies either, just physical attacks on old people on the street. I believe many but not all of the perpetrators have been black, although the news reports often do not include this information. If any of the perps have made any statement about why they did it I have not heard it.

      Of course the Asians feel these are hate crimes, but the race of the perpetrators is being danced around. The people trying to pigeonhole this into the woke narrative are having a hard time and are mostly avoiding saying too much about it. When they do, they somehow manage to get whiteness into it.

      1. Maybe that’s why I’ve had so much trouble looking up the ethnicity of those who attacked Asians recently. I would not be surprised that if this is the case, the Woke media would hide it, as it would disrupt the narrative.

        1. You are correct to assume the truth is being hidden since it doesn’t fit the preferred narrative. From the SF Gate:

          “City officials, including the Police Department, say these assaults are part of a larger crime picture where gangs of kids take advantage of a vulnerable group of small stature. But Mo participated in a 2008 survey by the Police Department in which about 300 strong-arm robberies were analyzed. “In 85 percent of the physical assault crimes, the victims were Asian and the perpetrators were African American,” she said.”

        1. I’ m sure it would. Even with that I still bet most would be black and I’d be sure that blacks would still be highly over represented on a per capita basis I just don’t see why you would discount those shootings? They’re still “mass murders with guns.”

          I have seen some media outlets massage the data by doing things like excluding gang or crime related mass shootings. It seems like the proper article title in those cases would be “Good News!! We Found a Way to Blame Whites for Another Thing.”

      1. The majority of mass murder with guns are black.

        There are mass murders which are done with pocket knives and pea-shooters?
        Let’s not beat about the bush – America’s problem with mass murders is about availability of guns, not skin colour.

        1. That’s fine. But the point I was responding to was:

          “Mass murders with guns in general are young white guys with lots of guns and ammo.”

          This is false.

  5. I agree totally! What bothers me is how Huff Po and NBC are trying so hard to brand this incident as a “hate crime”, and to insist that Asians, as “People of Color” are victims of Systemic Racism, to fit in with the Critical Race Theory. It seems that they’re defending their precious CRT more than anything else.

    In answer to your questions, the best place to find this information is in the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Statistics Reports, which annually list all reported crimes in America. The problem is that the FBI has its own political agenda (it has historically served and protected Democrat administrations), and when the facts which it’s required to assemble don’t fit that agenda, it makes finding those facts difficult. You can reach the UCS Reports online, but the way they’re set up requires practically a Ph.D. in Bureaucratese and Computer Programming to did through the reports to find the facts you’re searching for. Good hunting.

    From what I’ve seen generally on the Internet, far from being “targeted”, Asians are doing better socially, legally and economically than even Whites. See some of Ben Shapiro’s comments about this. Thus they don’t fit the Critical Race Theory. Before this incident, CRT proponents went so far as to classify Asians with White people — as “Whiteified” — to make the facts fit their theory. This slaughter in Atlanta gives them a way out, an excuse to put Asians in the “victims” class.

    This explains the sudden rush by Huff Po and NBC to come up with (unverified) stories of “racism” against Asians, even referring back to World War Two and the 19th century to prop up their argument. What it shows me is that the mainstream media — and Huff Po and NBC in particular — can’t be trusted.

    –Leslie < Fish

    1. I have thought that this rush to judgement about the shooting was that it was a convenient way to call more attention to the claimed increase in attacks against Asians. Never mind that it presently does not look to be true, deliberately use it to call attention and sympathy toward this current issue.

      1. The sympathy I see was directed toward the shooter. Because spokesperson Capt. Jay Baker felt he had to say “Yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did.”

        Why did he have to add that little editorial? Why??

    2. …. the FBI has its own political agenda (it has historically served and protected Democrat administrations) …

      Where in the world are you getting that from?

      Every FBI director, going back decades, has been a registered Republican, and nearly all were originally appointed by Republican presidents, going all the way back to J. Edgar Hoover, who ruled the roost for the better part of half a century (and was originally appointed as the head of the Bureau of Investigation, the forerunner to the FBI, by Calvin freekin’ Coolidge).

      Since Hoover’s reign of terror came to an end in the early 1970s, the FBI has prided itself on being absolutely non-partisan (though it is, by its very nature, an inherently conservative organization). I’ve known a truckload of FBI agents, at both the field and supervisory levels, yet never knew a single one of their party affiliations (though the vast majority vibed Republican).

    3. “Unverified stories of “racism” against Asians” ?
      Just do a google for “report Asian hate incidents in San Francisco”, like I just did, and there are countless articles, reports, etc. covering the rise of these incidents since Covid. The search brings up national accounts as well, not just Bay Area- it’s spread across all of America. The majority aren’t violent, per se, so they won’t appear on the FBI list you’re referring to. Most incidents are verbal assaults, or doing the slanty eye thing, etc. Many Asians have been sprayed with aerosols like Febreeze and Lysol. I very much doubt this particular murder spree was Covid-inspired, but “unverified” is a huge misconception on your part.

      And why does referring to WWII or earlier not fit the narrative? There is a history of racism against all minorities in America, and this history is linear and connected. Why treat them as small isolated pockets in history that shouldn’t be referenced in the present?

      1. Just because there may be more reports of Asian hate incidents lately doesn’t mean that there have been more actual incidents. Look up the “Summer of the Shark” to see how media can manipulate the gullible masses.

        “The Summer of the Shark refers to the coverage of shark attacks by American news media in the summer of 2001. The sensationalist coverage of shark attacks began in early July following the Fourth of July weekend shark attack on 8-year-old Jessie Arbogast, and continued almost unabated—despite no evidence for an actual increase in attacks—until the September 11 terrorist attacks shifted the media’s attention away from beaches. The Summer of the Shark has since been remembered as an example of tabloid television perpetuating a story with no real merit beyond its ability to draw ratings.”

        And virtually every single assault on Asians in SF has been blacks doing the attacking. To try to connect this to some overarching narrative of historic racism against minorities is a huge stretch. In reality it’s just another ho-hum day of blacks violently attacking people.

        1. I was just reading about a recent incident in SF, where a young blond white man punched a 75 year-old Asian woman who was waiting at a crosswalk. She grabbed a piece of wood that was sitting on the ground and beat the man with it!

          1. Yes! And a security guard tackled the assailant, ended up going to hospital, while the woman remained standing, holding an ice pack to the side of her head. A small measure of justice.

  6. Andrew Sullivan’s weekly column is about Atlanta, and it’s among his best. A few key passages in a highly discerning essay in which Sullivan dissects how the conversation is being refracted, but the entire essay should be read to see how he arrives here:

    “But notice how CRT operates. The only evidence it needs it already has. Check out the identity of the victim or victims, check out the identity of the culprit, and it’s all you need to know. If the victims are white, they don’t really count. Everything in America is driven by white supremacist hate of some sort or other. You can jam any fact, any phenomenon, into this rubric in order to explain it.

    The only complexity the CRT crowd will admit is multiple, “intersectional” forms of oppression: so this case is about misogyny and white supremacy. The one thing they cannot see are unique individual human beings, driven by a vast range of human emotions, committing crimes with distinctive psychological profiles, from a variety of motives, including prejudices, but far, far more complicated than that.

    There’s a reason for this shift. Treating the individual as unique, granting him or her rights, defending the presumption of innocence, relying on provable, objective evidence: these core liberal principles are precisely what critical theory aims to deconstruct. And the elite media is in the vanguard of this war on liberalism.”

    1. Sullivan’s only mission in life seems to be attacks on the liberal left. Maybe he has nothing else to do? Is he maybe a Trumper in the closet? Very good he won’t find any racism over there.

      1. That’s not really true. He went after Trump hammer and tongs in the last year. Have you actually READ Sullivan. Yes, he attacks the woke very often, and so do I. And there’s a reason to do that, too.

        1. I have not read him much, no. If he went after Republican’s or Trump I have not see it. He does spend a lot of time on the liberal left. He can certainly write about whatever he wants.

          1. Sullivan is one of the most prolific never-Trumpers from the right-wing camp. The last four years he basically dedicated himself going after Trump. Feel free to check out his Sam Harris or Bill Maher guest appearances. Calling him a closet Trumper might be about the most erroneous thing you could say about the man.

      2. It’s hard to find a more vehement and eloquent and ruthless critic of Trump. He loathes the man.

        Please read him and you will see the same. Sample:

        “Like all tyrants, Trump lives in an alternate universe where his will, tempered only by his whim, determines everything. And like all tyrants, Trump will eventually be defeated by the distance between his universe and the real one. The question has always been how long that would take, and how much damage would be done in the process. But the toll has been piling up of late. 205,000 dead, a stalled economy, a broken constitution, a bankrupt treasury, a ravaged environment, and the most toxic political culture in memory have not, exactly, made America great “again”. And, with his tax returns now public, the reality that Trump is a failed businessman and tax dodger is as inescapable as the truth that he is a serial sexual abuser.”

        1. Having a hell of a time getting this web site to work today. I think this is a reply to you. Thanks, however I see this goes back to one month before the election, about Oct. 2, 2020. Trump has managed to do more than a few things since then, including a coup in Washington DC.

  7. “What is the racial makeup of those who attack Asians?”

    The most recent data I could find quickly is from 2018.

    3,581,360 violent incidents against white victims
    62.1% of offenders were white, 15.3% black, 10.2% hispanic, 2.2% asian

    563,940 violent incidents against black victims
    10.6% of offenders were white, 70.3% black, 7.9% hispanic, <0.1% asian

    734,410 violent incidents against hispanic victims
    28.2% of offenders were white, 15.3% black, 45.4% hispanic, 0.6% asian

    182,230 violent incidents against asian victims
    24.1% of offenders were white, 27.5% black, 7.0% hispanic, 24.1% asian

    1. Patrick, Could you give the source…..I don’t doubt the integrity of what you post…..maybe the same as Andre Sullivan’s in his column today?

      “And, given the headlines, the other thing missing is a little perspective. Here’s a word cloud of the victims of hate crimes in NYC in 2020. You can see that anti-Asian hate crimes are dwarfed by those against Jews, and many other minorities. And when you hear about a 150 percent rise in one year, it’s worth noting that this means a total of 122 such incidents in a country of 330 million, of which 19 million are Asian. Even if we bring this number up to more than 3,000 incidents from unreported and far less grave cases, including “shunning”, it’s small in an aggregate sense. A 50 percent increase in San Francisco from 2019 – 2020, for example, means the number of actual crimes went from 6 to 9. “

      1. This data seems to support your hypothesis, keeping the demographic makeup of the US in mind. 27,5% black offenders with blacks making up roughly 14% of the population. Or am I misinterpreting the data?

      2. The most interesting data in the BJS takes a little teasing out. It turns out that there are about 600,000 interracial violent crimes between whites and blacks. It turns out that blacks are the attackers in 90% of the cases. And since the white population is roughly five times larger than the black population, that means that the per capita rate that blacks attack whites is 45 times that which whites attack blacks. It also means that a black person rapes, robs, assaults, or kills a white person on average every 60 seconds in the US.

        For some reason we don’t hear these stats in the news.

  8. I find the terminology here rather weird. Of course it was a hate crime, motivated by hatred! (The motive was certainly not financial.) Whether it was motivated by racial hatred is a different matter.

    1. And if it was not hate against Asians it was hate against women. Or is all of the sex excuse saying – he just hated himself so he had to kill Asian women?

        1. And I certainly don’t buy the self-serving ‘he hated himself’ theory. He was angry, and someone was going to pay for grievances against him. Shooting people— especially ones you’re pretty sure won’t be able to fight back— is not a cry for help.

      1. In many places, the easiest way to find sex workers is to look for Asian massage parlors. I assume street walkers are still a thing, but finding them would require more local knowledge. I don’t know if all of the sex workers in those places are Asian. I have lived in places where most of the sex workers were Ukrainian, with a largely Asian customer base.

        The suspect apparently spent time in Maverick Recovery Center in Roswell, Georgia. It appears that they are a “12 step”, which sounds like they are a religion-based program.

        It is just as reasonable that a White, sexually repressed psycho might attack Asian sex workers for the same reason that a Black robber in SF might choose an elderly Asian victim. Availability and perceived vulnerability. Racial hate cannot be excluded nor presumed, without more data.

        1. Why is it assumed that the women the shooter attacked were sex workers? Some massage parlors actually do legitimate massages. In fact, one of the murdered women was a customer who was getting a massage. Her husband was also getting a massage in a different room, and he was able to escape. Also, some of the murdered women were older (70’s), so could be they were just massage therapists?

          1. All excellent points, and issues I was wondering about. I have always found the economies of such places sort of interesting (from a non-participatory perspective), especially when I lived where hostess bars and other such places were very common. The people I work with are more open to such things, and I find the subject of their inner workings kind of fascinating.
            I do know that one can go into a massage parlor and get a normal massage. Sometimes, the masseuse is competent and experienced at Thai massage or other techniques. Other times, the person is less skilled, and mostly does a desultory job, with the aim of encouraging the customer to pay for additional, sexual, services. Part of the business model is that anything beyond normal massage is extra, even in places where sex work is openly tolerated. The terms I have heard most are happy ending, short time, and long time.
            There are always one or two middle aged or older women who manage the girls and see to business.

            I hope my comment did not sound overly judgemental. I have no personal animosity towards any of the people involved in such things, except where the girls have been forced or deceived into such work.
            The deception thing seems fairly common. When business socialization brings me into such places (usually hostess bars or clubs), I drink very moderately and try to talk to the girls about their lives. Several have told me that they were hired for what they thought was office work, but turned out very differently.
            Admittedly , I have no experience with such places in the US, so some of the practices might not carry over. However, it seems outwardly like such places share a basic business model.

      2. He apparently didn’t sufficiently hate himself that he would simply kill himself and solve the problem that way, leaving others alone.

        1. Not even “suicide-by-cop.” What, and miss the inevitable interviews where he’ll get to explain how aggrieved he was at what others had done to him?

    2. Yes, but I was using the technical definition of a hate crime, which is a crime against an “identified group” like Jews, blacks, gays, and so on. If you don’t use that definition, the whole legal meaning of “hate crime” disappears (there are different punishments), and a ton of violent crime, including that on individuals, becomes “hate crime.”

      1. Wouldn’t a hate crime have to be against a member of an “identified group” because they were a member of that group? Otherwise any crime against any member of such a group would have to be classified as a hate crime

  9. Motives do matter. This is why there are different degrees of murder charges. A premeditated racially motivated murder is worse than a heat-of-the moment unplanned murder that isn’t based on an intrinsic quality of the victim.

    1. The problem with your argument is that you change two of the variables at once. I don’t think anybody would dispute that a premeditated murder is worse than a heat of the moment murder, but that isn’t what is at issue here.

      The question is why is a racially motivated murder worse than a murder for any other reason. Is it worse to murder somebody because they are black than to murder them because they wouldn’t give you their wallet?

      1. I’ve already replied once, but it’s not showing up. Trying again.

        My argument was mostly just to show Randall that motives do matter, which is not undone by my changing two variables.

        But to address your criticism, the legal minds who created the law do recognize that crimes perpetrated based on an intrinsic quality of the victim (like sexual orientation, gender, or race), have a more sinister motive, or an added sinister dimension to the motive, than crimes that are not targeted in this way. Mugging, as you suggest, is essentially random and untargeted compared to the above. This is way the legal category “hate crime” exists. If you think this category should not exist, you’ll have to take it up with the lawmakers.

  10. In 2016 Omar Mateen gunned down 53 people at the Pulse nightclub, a gay disco/bar. I remember clearly the efforts by media to homosexualize him.

    In so doing, it attempted to de-intersectionalize what otherwise would be an intersectional creim: straight slaughtering gays. (And in our world today, for a crime to carry true gravitas, it must be intersectional.)

    Put differently, in doing so, it relieved the tension that Mateen’s being Muslim brought to the picture. It was as if a hierarchy was being formed in what identity was deemed sacred and which permeable.

    Some of the same is happening in Atlanta. The “whiteness” of the perpetrator and his religious fundamentalism is being foregrounded, not merely as a way to demonize whites, but as a way of relieving the tension of having to see that the majority of perpetrators of anti-Asian violence, including murder, are not so.

    1. I remember being disturbed that some of the progressive blogs I read at the time not only dismissed any connection to Mateen being a religious Muslim, but tried to frame the attack as a hate crime against latinos (because it was latin night), women (because some victims were women) or trans (because there were some drag queens there) anything except gay men despite the evidence that he really hated gay men.

    2. > In 2016 Omar Mateen gunned down 53 people at the Pulse nightclub, a gay disco/bar. I remember clearly the efforts by media to homosexualize him.

      I was still contributing to RationalWiki at that time. The people there were absolutely adamant that the reason this attack had happened was the homophobic culture of the US and that it had nothing to do with the cultural upbringing of the attacker. This was the final straw for me and I left.

      What puzzles me though is that the often-repeated assertion that every homophobe must be secretly gay is obviously unfavorable to gay people since it implies that a very significant portion of them is comprised of such assholes. Then again, the intersectional mind works in mysterious ways…

  11. To me, it looks likely that is racism involved here but it’s not hatred against Asians, really, but that Asians, being “other” can be thought of sexually in ways one’s white sisters can’t.

    It seems likely that this is basically a sex crime. The guy was an evangelical Christian, taught that sex is evil. But he’s very interested in sex (which he’s been taught to think means he’s a “sex addict,” as if all humans weren’t very interested in sex). He’s struggling to control or eliminate his sexual feelings. He’s being good — but he has these feelings. Somebody is evil. Surely he’s not evil. Somebody is to blame. He finds women tempting; women are (actively) tempting him. He’s trying hard not to be tempted by his white female co-religionists, who are pure or struggling to be so. He turns his attention to Asian women. Asian women aren’t white or (he can think) Christian. It’s their fault!

    Killing these tempting “others” is more than most people would do, but this pattern is not rare. It’s a kind of thought behind the sexualized form racism against blacks can take: sexy, tempting black women and predatory black males. Projections. The “others” have the feelings the white guy doesn’t want to be responsible for having.

    Education aimed at ending racism is unlikely to stop this kind of thing, but education aimed a helping people accept, take responsibility for, and control their own sexual feelings, which are not evil but can cause problems, might work.

  12. Legally, whether Mr. Long’s alleged offenses are classified as “hate crimes” would appear to have a de minimis impact on the potential penalties he faces. The Georgia hate-crime statute — which just took effect last July, and covers crimes motivated by the victim’s race, ethnicity, or sex (among other factors) — merely enhances certain misdemeanors to felonies and adds six or twelve months’ additional imprisonment for certain felonies.

    The potential penalties for murder in Georgia already include life-imprisonment and the death penalty. The Georgia death penalty statute does NOT include hate-crime motivation as a statutory aggravating factor, although the statute does allow a jury to consider other “mitigating circumstances or aggravating circumstances otherwise authorized by law[.]” I’m not familiar enough with Georgia law to know whether prosecutors would be permitted to argue the hate-crime aspect of a murder as a non-statutory aggravating factor warranting imposition of the death penalty.

  13. Thanks Ken. I heard some of this on the TV last night but did not get all of it. The Georgia hate crime in itself does not amount to much. For 6 to 12 months again I say, Who cares. So you get life plus one more year.

  14. The funny thing is that Asians, compared to other races, are more likely to be targeted by other races than their own. Is this because Asian crime rates in general are lower or because Asians are seen as “acceptable targets” for racism (cf. white supremacy and critical race th**r*)?

  15. If we don’t (or can’t) know what the killer’s real, deep-down motive was, why are so many commenters here claiming it couldn’t have been racism? Why do you all think that is so improbable?

  16. Although research reveals infants demonstrate a preference for caregivers of their own race, any future racial biases and bigotries generally are environmentally acquired. (Adult racist sentiments are often cemented by a misguided yet strong sense of entitlement, perhaps also acquired from one’s environment.)

    One way of rectifying this social/societal problem may be by allowing young children to become accustomed to other races in a harmoniously positive manner.

    Sadly, some very unfortunate people—who may now be in an armed authority capacity—were raised with an irrational distrust or blind dislike of other racial groups.

    The first step towards changing our irrationally biased thinking can be our awareness of it and its origin. But until then, ugly sentiments must be either suppressed or professionally dealt with, especially when considering the mentality is easily inflamed by anger.

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