Who had a bad day?

I noticed quite a few people yesterday trying to argue that the fact that a murderer walked into three Asian-American businesses and killed 6 Asian-American women wasn’t an act of racism, which kind of blows my mind. Of course it was! It was also an act of misogyny. And also of gun fanaticism. And puritanical religious self-loathing. And ignorance. And general hatred of unfamiliar cultures. It can be all of these things at the same time!

Have people never heard of the concept of intersectionality? Or have you just swallowed whole the conservative rejection of the idea?

Here’s another dirty concept to the conservative brain: Critical Race Theory. In part, that’s the idea that white supremacy exists, and is supported by our legal system (and, by the way, needs to be rooted out). The law turns a blind eye to racism. Hoo boy, does this Georgia police department do that. Why did that murderer kill those women? He had a “bad day” (I’ve been having a lot of bad days lately, never thought to vent by going on a killing spree). He was mentally ill (oh my, isn’t that a familiar refrain?). He was a sex addict (who focused his addiction on Asian women). The police asked him if his crime was racially motivated, and he said “no”…and they believed him. Why would a white boy from a good Christian family lie about that? The police department is rotten to the core. I’m going to guess that many of the officers are closet white supremacists themselves.

Watch this dissection of that appalling press conference.

Then there’s this Facebook post by Captain Jay Baker (the bald fuck in the video), in which he chortles over Trump’s claim that the virus was imported from “Chy-na”.

Jesus. Fire him. Cut out the rot. Defund the police.

Although he does provide a beautiful perspective into why Critical Race Theory is important and valid, I will at least say that for him.


  1. lotharloo says

    The “bad day” description of event is so offensive but sadly police trying to whitewash white criminals and discredit non-white victims is not.
    The murders are probably racially motivated but I think we need to see a bit more evidence on those before making any conclusions. E.g., even though I would bet the guy is also a Trump supporter, I am not going to call him a Trump supporter unless some positive evidence in that direction emerges.

  2. maireaine46 says

    Agree with #3, if he was not white he would be dead, despite his “bad day.” Everything about him is beyond disgusting.

  3. kathleenzielinski says

    Even if we take Long at his word that he’s a sex addict and he shot up the massage parlors because they were feeding his addiction, why did he happen to pick Asian massage parlors? Surely there are Caucasians in the sex business that he could have gone after?

    But it’s a stupid argument anyway. I have little success keeping my weight down, but I don’t go around shooting up ice cream shops. This is racism, and misogyny, and everything else is just excuses.

  4. rorschach says

    PZ: “I noticed quite a few people yesterday trying to argue that the fact that a murderer walked into three Asian-American businesses and killed 6 Asian-American women wasn’t an act of racism”

    Like you say, more than one emotion probably amalgamating in people like that just before they go out and buy a gun like normal people would buy groceries. What I’ve seen of broken brains like that, once you start to disentangle all their phobias, psychoses and personality disorders, you go down a very deep rabbit hole of lifelong brainwashing and disadvantage, religious, social or otherwise.
    Some of the police responses have been quite disturbing.

  5. wzrd1 says

    Whenever I think of the virus, which is far too often,I remember Geraldo smirking with a suggested “Give Trump what he wants” and renaming the vaccines to Trump, ‘have you gotten your Trump yet’?”.
    Then, I recall how many things are named after the thing’s greatest benefactor.
    Hence, it’s the Trump Virus.
    Yeah, sanity is retained at great cost.
    Wear a mask in public and wash your lunch hooks often!

  6. drew says

    I think part of conservative objections to intersectionality is that it usually reads like the aristocrats joke – it’s treated as “better” when you pile more outrageous claims into it. And those outrageous claims all happen to be liberal talking points. What do you call yourselves? Intersectionality!

    I don’t agree with them but I understand the concern.

  7. says

    @10 Who the fuck watches Geraldo these days. That man is a relic. Let him rust in peace. Unless he wants to go back to getting beaten up by white supremacists. I’d pay money to see that. Just skinheads smashing his face all day.

  8. microraptor says

    One thing that was pointed out multiple times on Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell last night was that we’re seeing the murderer being humanized by the police while his victims are being treated as faceless disposables. Evil McNeckbeard is getting statements released to the press while the names of his victims are barely mentioned, much less anything about them.

  9. says

    While I’m skeptical of the police’s story, I’m not sure it is helpful to express certainty about the motivations (or other causes) of the murder. What remains true, regardless of the cause, is that the incident highlights anti-Asian prejudice and violence in the US. Anti-Asian hate is much broader than a single horrific incident, but sometimes it takes a single horrific incident to get us to pay attention. Asian Americans are angry not because we know with certainty that this was an anti-Asian incident, but because it very well could have been.

  10. says

    @14 From the police perspective it’s not anti-asian, it’s pro-white. If that man had been any other color he would have been gunned down in the street and it wouldn’t even make the evening news in Atlanta. Instead he’s being coddled and protected.

  11. Bruce says

    For the police to repeat the suspect’s claim and add their credibility to it is essentially to conspire after the fact to help the suspect to evade justice. Any police or sheriffs who endorsed this claim should be permanently barred from any law enforcement jobs immediately. Not just be hired by the next city over, as criminal cops usually are.

  12. JustaTech says

    microraptor @13: The only thing I’ll say about the non-release of the victims’ names in the very immediate aftermath is that their next of kin had probably not been contacted yet, and no one, ever, deserves to learn of the horrible death of their family member on the nightly news or Twitter.

    But now that enough time has passed that those family members have been contacted, I fully agree that it’s time to talk about the victims, their lives and stories and hopes and dreams, and no more of that murder.

  13. unclefrogy says

    it is not racism for the police the shooter or a the majority of the public, of course not .
    To the poilce and the shooter and a majority of the public it is just a fact that people are different “they” are just different and “they” are like that. So to those who are not out right haters and activist and cursers of “other races” do not think of themselves as racist because races exist and have different qualities and such which everyone knows.
    I have had many conversations with ordinary nice people who claimed they were not racist but then went on to describe how some ethnic group of people were like so and so because they are all like that (while being completely wrong in their generality)
    none so blind as those who will not see
    uncle frogy

  14. Tethys says

    I still do not think his primary excuse for murder is racism. He killed the women who he blames for his repeated sinful behavior of lust. Religion puritanism is the cause of that, though racism could certainly be a factor.

    It’s possibly more racist IMO that these ‘spas and massage parlors’ are operating quite openly, and the police have acknowledged they are fronts for sex work. Odd that none of the officials and police had any comments about the open illegal sex trade in their city.

    The potential for abuse and sex trafficking is obvious. The misogyny is very literally institutionalized in this instance. It is very likely the managers of those businesses are amoung the victims.

  15. billyum says

    Were the killings racist? Of course. But were they personally racist or systematically racist? That matters to the criminal law.

    Frank Figliuzzi, who ought to know, pointed out that by admitting that he killed the women because of his sex addiction, he was admitting to a hate crime against women.

    As for the “bad day” remark, I think that’s both personally and systemically racist and misogynistic.

  16. raven says

    @18 SadOldGuy

    It turns out that most of the victims were age 60 and older but the media accepted the “sex worker” label immediately.

    This doesn’t look correct at all.
    Most of the victim’s names haven’t even been released.
    Of the ones that have, they range from 33 to 54.
    The injured guy was shot three times and is in the ICU.

    Four of the victims have been identified by Cherokee County officials as Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Tan, 49; and Daoyou Feng, 44. Elcias R Hernandez-Ortiz was identified as having been injured.

  17. unclefrogy says

    with regards to this particular shooting yes it was racist. he chose to attack the places he did because it was OK and “safer” to attack asian women not white women or black women. and it was women in particular that he felt were responsible for his problem with sex. so it was misogynistic as well
    uncle frogy

  18. klatu says

    If it was mental illness/religion/addiction/racism/gun ownership, you’d expect this level of violence from all mentally ill/religious/addicted/racist/armed persons. And yet, that’s not what reality looks like. All of those things can certainly be compounding or radicalizing factors, but the reality is that this type of violence is almost exclusively perpetrated by men.

    But the world is not ready to have that conversation. It hasn’t been ready for thousands of years. So let’s just never talk about masculinity having a problem. It’s those damn loonies that are the issue, right?

    Let’s just go with that and act surprised and confused the next hundred times this shit happens, too.

    (The simplest practical thing the US could do is strip its people of the 2nd Amendmend. But not even elementary schoolers getting massacred made you even consider it, so…)

  19. raven says

    Just because this guy killed 8 women, doesn’t make him mentally ill.
    The vast majority of killers aren’t mentally ill.
    Xpost from Patheos.

    We dropped the murderers are mentally ill meme about two decades ago.
    As this source below states:
    About 5% of homicides are committed by people with psychotic conditions. Which leaves 95% of homicides committed by…people.

    Mental Illness Doesn’t Mean Mass Murder
    — The mental health system needs improvement, but violence isn’t the reason
    by Michael Friedman LMSW December 13, 2018

    Every time there is a highly publicized mass murder in the U.S., there are calls to fix America’s “broken” mental health system. This is an unfortunate mistake based on persistent myths that people with mental illness are violent and that anyone who commits such an atrocity must be “sick.”

    The truth is that:

    People with mental illness rarely commit homicide, and few homicides are committed by people with mental illness.
    About 5% of homicides are committed by people with psychotic conditions.
    People with serious mental illness are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators.

    Most mass murders are committed by people who are not seriously mentally ill, including:

    People who commit purposeful acts of murder or manslaughter or who commit crimes that result in unintended deaths
    Perpetrators of domestic violence
    People seeking revenge
    In its Global Study on Homicide, the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime recognizes multiple motivations for murder and divides homicides into three types: socio-political, interpersonal, and criminal. But murder by people with psychosis is so rare that it is included only as a footnote.

  20. forensical says

    The police didn’t say they believed him about his motive. They were relaying what he said. It’s not even up to the police here to make any final determination of motive.

  21. lotharloo says

    Actually, why isn’t this kind of extreme religiosity classified as mental illness? It is delusional and interferes with their ability to lead a healthy and fulfilling life and it can be cured by intervention and removing them from their cultish environment.

  22. raven says

    Read the DSM IV or V.
    “DSM–5 is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States.”

    We’ve had this conversation hundreds of times by now. It’s just boring.
    If you hold strange beliefs that are unique and idiosyncratic, then you are mentally ill.
    If you hold strange beliefs that are held in common by many people, then that is a religion.

    The problem with classifying religions as mental illnesses is obvious.
    In some societies that would be almost everyone.
    It would be much of the USA for sure.
    Like it or not, religion is within the limits of normal human behavior.

    And once again, just because you kill 8 women, doesn’t mean you are mentally ill.
    95% of the killers in our society aren’t mentally ill.
    It does make him a terrible person, a fundie xian, a likely Trump/GOP voter, but those aren’t the same as mental illness either.

  23. lotharloo says

    But that is not what I said. I said extreme forms of religious feelings that prevent the person from functioning normally in the society. Most religious people can live happy and fulfilling lives so I am not talking about those.

  24. raven says

    But that is not what I said. I said extreme forms of religious feelings that prevent the person from functioning normally in the society.

    Take it up with the DSM 5.
    What you are calling extreme forms of religious feelings is normal for huge numbers of humans.

    You don’t have to go too far to see what happened to this guy.
    He was raised in a hard core Calvinist SBC church in Georgia.
    His father was a Youth Pastor.
    In fundieland, his upbringing and attitudes aren’t at all that unusual.
    I’m right now reading a blog post written by a former SBC member.
    He fits right in the norm of that culture, except for the murders of 8 women.

    BTW, besides being really boring, you are wandering off into the usual La La land.
    1. Being mentally ill is an excuse. In some jurisdictions, you can plead insanity and get off.
    In my state, you end up guilty but insane. It matters because you don’t get sent to prison, you get sent to a psychiatric lockup facility.
    2. You are also insulting the millions of mentally ill people, some of whom will read this thread, who are not homicidal maniacs.
    This matters too. Whenever there is a mass shooting, creeps come out of the wood work and start on the mentally ill cliche again.

  25. lotharloo says

    Apparently some people research stuff like this: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13674670903277984?scroll=top&needAccess=true and the 2nd author is interested on how/why religious fundamentalism interacts with diagnosis of delusional thoughts and mental illness:

    Do authentic religious experiences differ from delusions? This question cuts deep, challenging the medically based assumptions of the DSM that psychological disorders are illness-like entities with specific behavioral symptoms. Most religious beliefs would fall within the DSM definition of delusion, yet most religious believers are not delusional. The DSM solves this problem by exempting beliefs associated with established religions. But in doing so, delusions, which are symptoms of debilitating mental disorders, are transformed, rendered normal, because they are situated within a culturally accepted framework of social practice. They are not, thus, context free symptoms, but symptoms only if they fall outside the circumference of accepted sociocultural contexts of meaning. Not only does this pose a philosophical quandary about the nature of mental illness, it also prompts practical questions for clinical practice: What constitutes an established religion? Are beliefs associated with less mainstream religions more likely to be assessed as pathological? Does professional training influence diagnostic judgments? Are the same beliefs more likely to be assessed as pathological if they are not explicitly associated with an established religion?

    Although I would guess that this guy is in minority.

    And about point 2, nice bait at trying a holier than thou attitude. I’m sure it makes you feel superior. Yes the majority of people who have mental illness are not homicidal and the stigma with mental illness does not help. But the point of classifying something as mental illness is not to condemn and stigmatize it but to see how those individuals can be helped. Religion is a very common form of mental torment for a lot of people and I am asking why it should be exempt from analysis.

  26. stroppy says

    I suspect that religions that tend to favor denialist, authoritarian, oversimplifications tend to provide a more enabling locus for hidden fringe behavior as well as the kind of intransigent and contradictory thinking you might normally expect.

  27. raven says

    Raven: Whenever there is a mass shooting, creeps come out of the wood work and start on the mentally ill cliche again.

    Trolls are so predictable. Dumb people are predictable.
    It is inevitable and never takes long for the creeps to come out of the dark and start in on the mentally ill after a mass shooting.
    We’ve got one now.


    And about point 2, nice bait at trying a holier than thou attitude. I’m sure it makes you feel superior.

    Have fun being a troll and insulting the mentally ill. I’m sure some minor sadism will make your day.
    And, I’m done with you. Trolls are a waste of time.

  28. Tethys says

    It is predictable that much will be said in analysis of this particular murderous white boy.

    Little will be said about the culture of supreme patriarchy that normalizes male violence and murder.
    From ‘classics of literature such as Jack the Ripper and Lolita, to every single police show on TV, and multiple popular video games. You can’t miss the underlying theme that extreme, horrific violence and murder of women (and especially sex workers) is just a normal everyday thing men do. Having a supreme male god given dominion over all creation is right there in the bible, along with murdering children and women as property and/or the source of sin.
    Guns, gawd, and pizza =
    Toxic Patriarchy

  29. unclefrogy says

    Yes the majority of people who have mental illness are not homicidal and the stigma with mental illness does not help. But the point of classifying something as mental illness is not to condemn and stigmatize it but to see how those individuals can be helped. Religion is a very common form of mental torment for a lot of people and I am asking why it should be exempt from analysis.

    all the definitions here causing disagreement are coming from

    “DSM–5 is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States.”

    yes and I take it valid in a court of law, which has at its base political agreement of the population of citizen voters and adjudicated by courts of law a (little self referential) objective to a degree as defined and accepted by the population who are in the majority religious believers.
    the question at the root of mental illness that is what is the nature of reality and how we perceive it. that is were religion and religious belief enters into the discussion. The other problematic aspect of of mental illness is the long held fear and stigma of mental illness has in the general population.
    In the discussion here why should none believers not try and take a scientific approach and objective approach to mental illness and how it effects humans us included and how it effects behavior. What is wrong with thorough analysis not excluding religious beliefs?
    uncle frogy

  30. Tethys says

    I can’t grok the wild contradiction of the guns and gawd part of the fundie Xtians. The Anabaptist sect I failed to join was very anti-gun and Vietnam war, but I gather that in modern Georgia, Jesus loves guns.

    Pizza. The gateway food to mass murder.

    It’s a strange addition to the trope. I always got the impression that true gawd-fearing patriots loved flag, country, and Mom’s apple pie?

  31. says

    @35 ‘Jack the Ripper’ was not a classic from literature but was a real person who butchered at least 6 sex workers in London in the 1880s. Look at the postmortem photos of Catherine Eddowes, Liz Stride, Mary Jane Kelly, Annie Chapman, Mary Ann Nichols, to see just how much men hate women, and just how real that fucker was. Also go to my youtube channel and watch Artis Obscura Nastagio degli Onesti or the enduring cult of the dead girl, to see just how normalized sex and the murder of women has been as portrayed in art through the ages. This shit is as old as human kind. Disgusting, disgusting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FSibbvEItk

  32. Kagehi says

    @8 I would go one step further than that and say that its not exactly a “common occurrence” for drug addicts to go out and shoot up drug dealers, or “porn” addicts to gun down people in adult video stores, or gaming addicts to open fire on a gaming studio, etc. All these are entirely “possible” outcomes if it was some sort of normal, natural, thing that “addicts” do, when they suddenly up and decide they have some sort of problem.

    But, nope, this only happens when you get some idiot would probably didn’t even have an addiction, just thought it was one because his church didn’t approve of out of marriage sex (or sex in generally possibly. Though, I could be wrong mind you), and said “faith based upbringing” also failed to teach them the concept of “personal responsibility”. I would be willing to bet that their favorite dish is, instead, “All the sins in the world are someone elses’ fault!” It seems an all too common attribute of evangelical preaching.

  33. Tethys says

    Kathy Rick @39

    ‘Jack the Ripper’ was not a classic from literature, but a real….

    Indeed, you are correct that he was a real murderer, just as Bluebeard is likely based upon yet another misogynistic butcher. The second accent mark I had placed around the word ‘classic’ in my comment seems to have fallen off.

    Both of the historical killers have a sizable modern body of modern films, and novels. Their names are well known.