Something seems really off about this Asian hate crime narrative being pushed regarding the Georgia spa killings. The facts don’t support the narrative.
Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators said the accused shooter was addicted to sex and saw the spas as a temptation in need of elimination. Atlanta police said the man was a customer at two of the spas he attacked. Someone told CNN the guy had been kicked out of his parents’ home the day before the killing spree for looking at pornography for hours. A former roommate told The New York Times the suspect had a serious porn issue, sought treatment for sex addiction, and asked those he lived with to keep him accountable including asking one to take his computer along with installing porn-blocking software on his Internet browser.
Yet, this hate crime narrative refuses to die, like some sort of kaiju.
“[I]t is clear evidence that this is a hate crime, but what we are concerned about is whether local law enforcement will indeed prosecute this as a hate crime,” California Congresswoman Judy Chu told NBC’s Meet the Press this morning before Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus members visit Georgia with emphasis mine. “That’s why we are calling upon the Department of Justice to ensure that there are the resources necessary to provide the evidence to declare it a hate crime. And that includes interviewing witnesses in their own languages, looking at the media to see whether they are, for instance, reading the evidence in the Korean media, which apparently has some statements of that sort, and whether they are looking at the shooter’s social media and history.”
The “necessary evidence”? It almost seems like Chu wants this to be a hate crime in hopes of either getting more campaign cash, confirming an already held belief, or pushing some new law through. All of the above is also possible, given her status as a politician, although I hate crawling into her head.
Let’s not forget the FBI may have dismissed the hate crime theory, at the moment.
“[W]hile the motive remains still under investigation at the moment, it does not appear that the motive was racially motivated,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told NPR on March 18th. “But I really would defer to the state and local investigation on that for now.”
The theories regarding the Georgia shootings appear similar to those involving the 2016 Pulse nightclub attack.
People were convinced homophobia caused Omar Mateen to murder almost 50 patrons of the Orlando gay club. Numerous articles were written in support of this theory. However, Prosecutors told a jury during the 2018 trial of Mateen’s widow that Islamic terrorism was the real motive, and Mateen chose Pulse at random. The widow’s attorneys blamed the government for pushing a narrative in the media, and no one bothering to question it. Evidence presented at the widow’s trial, a trial in which she was acquitted, showed Mateen searched for the Orlando nightclub because of harder security at his preferred targets. Not exactly homophobia, like Georgia may not be Asian American hatred.
This doesn’t take away from the pain and horror of the spa killings. They shouldn’t have happened. Perhaps the suspect’s family could have done more and not kicked their son out for sex addiction. Perhaps sex work should be legalized so spas offering sex services can hire visible security and not be underground. Perhaps the suspect could have gotten more supportive help, not condemnation, so he didn’t become consumed by his self-hatred and loathing of sex. Asian or Asian American hate seems to be a non-factor in this pending the appearance of new evidence.
Is it too much to ask for patience before immediately running towards a political narrative? Apparently not, when agendas are on the line.