In the wake of the mass shooting in Atlanta last night in which a White man murdered eight people, six of which were Asian women, Cherokee County Sheriff's Captain Jay Baker offered a excuse for the man's murder spree.
It was "a really bad day" for the gunman.
Social media erupted over Baker's shocking comments.
"Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did" -- a law enforcement official explains Robert Aaro… https://t.co/w45sJL7eNx— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1615993838.0
The gunman confessed to the murders.
During his confession, he told law enforcement he suffers from sex addiction, and targeted the spas in order to "take out that temptation." In explaining this alleged motive in a press conference, Sheriff's Captain Baker's description struck many as sympathy for the gunman.
As he put it to the press gaggle:
"He was pretty much fed up, that he'd been kind of at the end of his rope, and yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did."
Baker's comments sparked immediate anger.
As Asian-American writer Marie Lu put it on Twitter:
"A really bad day are you f'king kidding me? Is this a picture book??"
Baker and other law enforcement officials in the area stressed the gunman's alleged sexual addiction was the motivation for his violence, not racism, refusing to label the anti-Asian hate crime a hate crime.
But according to a South Korean media report, the gunman was heard vowing to "kill all Asians" by a witness to one of the shootings.
Korean media quotes the witnesses, English media quotes the killer, but really who’s to say which might be more rel… https://t.co/P3r9Ji5KED— Hamid Bendaas (@Hamid Bendaas) 1616014844.0
That aside, Baker's analysis of the murders misses two key factors: the history of racialized sexual fetishization of Asian women and the skyrocketing rates of violence against Asian Americans during the pandemic.
STOP AAPI HATE, an organization that tracks such violence, recorded nearly 3,800 attacks since the beginning of the pandemic. Many believe the increase in violence to be a direct result of former President Donald Trump's and others Republicans' racist rhetoric around the pandemic.
And people on Twitter are rightfully incensed.
A really bad day...for him?!?!? Yea, what were not going to do is sympathize with a murderous psychopath.— Mari Copeny (@Mari Copeny) 1616008049.0
"It was a really bad day for him" is astonishing.— Akilah Green (@Akilah Green) 1616007511.0
this is what we are NOT going to do we are not going to describe a killer going on a MURDER SPREE OF ASIAN WOMEN a… https://t.co/By5U3nvAwv— Jenny Yang (@Jenny Yang) 1616004505.0
“he was having a bad day” MF it’s a pandemic we’re all having a bad day and yet we manage to not commit mass murder— Colonizers For Nuance™️ (@Colonizers For Nuance™️) 1616010747.0
According to Georgia officers: The gunman “...was fed up and at the end of his rope” It “...was a really bad day… https://t.co/wRCEFOjXs8— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1616006124.0
Disgusting. "He gave no indicators it was racially motivated," as if targeting multiple spas with Asian owners/empl… https://t.co/Vuu7HZAd13— blaire erskine (@blaire erskine) 1616008098.0
Imagine being less than 24 hours out from losing your loved one(s) and hearing law enforcement defend their murdere… https://t.co/VLOgAOb0Rl— Tiffany Flowers (she/her) (@Tiffany Flowers (she/her)) 1616011055.0
At the time of his apprehension some 150 miles south of Atlanta, the gunman told law enforcement he was en route to Florida to "do more acts" there.