Exploring claims in Atlanta shooter story

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A photo of the skyline and streets in Atlanta, Georgia mike boening (flickr)

Call it a strainer story because it is so full of holes

by hammad ali, Contributor

On Wednesday morning, I woke up and began my morning routine of getting ready for another day of being at home all day. That was when I heard news snippets about a shooting in Atlanta and went online to find out more. I wish I could say what I found surprised me; sadly, it did not. Nothing about gun violence, racism, and sexism surprises me anymore. People have been talking about these problems for years, and the establishment has been ignoring them for years. I guess the only element of surprise was that this time, all three of these riders of the apocalypse teamed up into one horrible crime.

I will be honest. I have since tried to not follow the news of this too much. As a person of colour stuck home all by himself in the middle of a pandemic, I felt justified in not wanting more sensory inputs that add to my stress. However, it is hard to avoid at least some snippets in this hyper-connected world.

That was how I heard that, apparently, the shooter was not racially motivated. Congratulations, I guess? He killed eight people, all from the same ethnic group, but does not feel he is racist. Why would we not trust someone who just murdered eight helpless people?

Then I heard he felt that the spas where he went on his shooting spree had been tempting him to sin. I am not sure where he is getting his moral code from, but most texts of moral code I know of also list murder as a sin. I am not sure he thought that one through, being a trigger-happy sinner either way.

The most frustrating part of all of this is how even the law enforcement officers keep saying they are not sure if this is a hate crime. Excuse me? Less than a year ago, you had a man in the White House insisting on using the phrases “China Virus” and “Kung Flu”. This man, former (oh how I waited to write that word before his title) President of the United States, responded to questions from a journalist of Asian descent by petulantly saying “ask China”. Now some random white creep who wanted to sin no more (other than the one about “thou shalt not kill…”) drove past several spas, strip clubs, and adult entertainment stores to shoot up only the spas with Asian employees, and this is not a hate crime? Allow me to define something for you: a hate crime is a crime which occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of their membership (or perceived membership) to a certain social group or race. Read that again, and tell me exactly how these acts were not considered to be a hate crime?

I am not even sure what else to say, except maybe this: if you are going to insist on being a nation with poor mental health services, politicians who allow prejudice and mistrust to fester, and law enforcement that treats white murderers with more deference than people of colour standing outside their own home, please do not also be a nation with no gun control. Please. Lives depend on it. Maybe not the lives of those sitting in the capitol making these inane laws, but our lives.

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