The killings in Atlanta on Wednesday testify to a relatively new aspect of racism in the United States of America, specifically targeting people of Asian descent. In a sense, the nation wasn’t daubed in black and white, coincidentally as the trial into the killing of George Floyd gets underway. It thus comes about that six of the eight victims of a white assassin were women of Asian descent, prompting President Biden to remark, “I know Asian-Americans are very concerned.” Yes, indeed, they must be. The segment is in mourning across the nation and as with the killing of blacks, there is an overwhelming sense of shock and awe over the horrific tragedy.
It is an index to the enormity of that tragedy that Robert Aaron Long (21), the man who went on the rampage at three spas in the Atlanta area, has been charged with eight counts of murder in connection with the attacks. Experts have warned of a rise in hate crimes motivated by what they call “male supremacy”. This is at best a sociological prognosis of the killing spree that convulsed the three spas. The “white supremacist propaganda”, so-called, is said to have surged in 2020, according to a report crafted by the Anti-Defamation League. America must fervently hope that the incumbent at the White House, barely two months in office, will get to the root of the malaise that appears to have exacerbated from one President to another. Well and truly has the canker permeated the system in the fountain-head of democracy.
The brazen shootings have stirred considerable outrage and fear in the Asian-American community. Investigators said they had not ruled out bias as a motivating factor even as the suspect denied such racial animus once in custody. The suspect reportedly told the police that he had a “sexual addiction” and had carried out the shootings at the massage parlours to eliminate his “temptation,” the authorities said. He had frequented massage parlours in the past and launched the attacks as a form of vengeance. All but one of the victims were women. Whatever the assassin’s motivation, the majority of his victims were Asians. This is a menace that is erupting across the country. It is unacceptable. It is hateful and it has to stop. The authorities have charged the suspect with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault in connection with the shootings. Four of the murder counts and the assault charge stem from the first shooting, in Cherokee County, and the other four murder counts relate to the shootings at two spas in the city of Atlanta less than an hour later. Calculated malevolence largely explains the multiple killings. Long has come through as a victim of an extreme form of mental aberration. So afflicted too must be the white policeman who killed Floyd.