Tuesday night a man whose name I will not use murdered 8 people; 6 of them were Asian Americans. Seven of the dead were women. Earlier that evening Donald Trump, while on live television, used a slur to refer to COVID-19. What did the media fixate on? That he had told everyone to get vaccinated. Somehow the year long rise in violence against Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, that began because the same racist former president consistently used racist language to describe a virus, wasn’t worthy of conversation.
Wednesday morning the Cherokee County, GA’s Captain Jay Baker told us that these murders did not constitute a racially-motivated hate crime. You see, the murderer was upset about sin and his “sex addiction”. And also? He’d had a bad day. And then we we found out that this same sheriff trafficked in anti-Asian memes. At that point I just couldn’t anymore with the hot takes that it wasn’t a hate crime, but someone mad at sex workers, with the undercurrent that while this was—you know—bad, it was pretty understandable. UGH UGH UGH.
And then Wednesday evening we learned more about 4 of the victims. It took us so long to find out about them because it required people who spoke Korean. These 4 women were in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. The narrative completely changed. The murderer wasn’t a young Christian struggling with sin and lashing out at the women he felt had led him astray. He was just a racist loser who lashed out at people he hated. He had a social media presence that was anti-Asian. He literally said on Tuesday night, as he was killing people, that he wanted to kill Asian Americans.
I thought I knew what I wanted to write about this tragedy: a loser murders 7 young women because he has sexual hang-ups and had been indoctrinated into a pseudo-religious ideology that holds that sexually active women need to be strictly controlled. But the first 4 women we learn about are…like me. They are middle-aged to elderly. They most likely weren’t sex workers. This wasn’t about sin or sex addiction. This was about straight up racism and misogyny.
It’s the same behavior that happens on Native American reservations, where angry white men go to rape Native American women because they know they won’t be held accountable for their terrible deeds. This murderer was taken into custody alive and unharmed. The sheriff, himself a despicable racist, as we found out today, offered up excuses for the person he identified with. As it turns out, so did a lot of America.
Also on Wednesday the House of Representatives reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, and even after these terrible murders 172 House Republicans voted against it. Now we wait to see if it can pass the Senate. It is beyond infuriating that the passage of this bill in doubt, but abusers protect their fellow abusers, and they see no reason to break that cycle.