Georgia Shooting Reflects Some of the Main Problems in the US


Courtesy of the Nation

Tavishi Chattopadhyay, Staff Writer

This is an opinion article piece. Tavishi Chattopadhyay is a sophomore at Mendham who writes for Global & Domestic News. All opinions expressed in the following editorial are her own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Patriot. 

For those who don’t know, the Georgia shooting occurred in multiple Asian run spas yesterday. The shootings were carried out by one man, Robert Aaron Long, who left eight dead. Six of them were Asian American women and two were white. This has caused much outrage, specifically the classification of it as a sex crime when it is very obviously a hate crime fueled by prejudice and the sexualization of Asian women. To elaborate on Long’s charge of a sex crime, Long has a history of sex addiction. One of his roommates, Tyler Bayless, of a transition house says, “deeply religious person — he would often go on tangents about his interpretation of the Bible, and was distraught about his addiction to sex.” When asked by the police about why he did it, Long stated that he had relapsed and went into massage parlors for sex acts. He also stated that he committed the shooting because he wanted to eliminate the temptation. Obviously, Long had a history of sexualizing women; however, it’s the fact that he targeted Asian businesses and women that makes this a hate crime. Overall, this hate crime emphasizes two major problems in the US: sexism and racism. 

The sexism within this case is demonstrated by Long’s long-term history of sex addiction and the target of his attack. He specifically attacks spas with female sex workers stating that he wanted to rid himself of the temptation. He very clearly thought that he had the right over his victims’ lives and he felt that he could do whatever he wanted to fit his own needs. That itself amplifies the sexism embedded in this case: a man doing what he thinks he has the right to do to a woman. This sexism is not only the case with this shooting but has become prevalent in many other shootings around the world and in the US. Cases like the kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard, who was walking home at night when she was kidnapped and murdered, demonstrate the sexism that is ingrained in the US and is even excused as the killer having a “bad day.” Sexism is a real problem that the US has and needs to work towards fixing. 

The racism in this case also demonstrates a long-standing problem in the US for multiple people of different races. The racism is clearly against Asian Americans, as Long specifically targeted spas run by Asian people and killed mostly Asian women. As Mari Uyehara pointed out, “Asians make up only 4 percent of the population in Georgia, which assuredly includes an assortment of sex work locales—yet, miraculously, all three of the suspect’s targets were Asian-owned.” Racism isn’t something new, it’s been around for a long time. The Page Act of 1875 is an example of this; this act branded Chinese women as sex workers and therefore perpetuated the stereotype. Some many think that Asian Americans do not face discrimination, yet “the police and law-and-order conservatives are always happy to use [them] and even protect [them] when it suits their needs. And although [Asians] might benefit from their attention, they don’t actually care about [them]. The system they serve wasn’t built for [the]”… one of the key points in Steph Cha’s article about how police are the friend of no minority. Racism has been a reoccurring problem in the US that has time and time again been demonstrated after catastrophic events. 

While many argue that these problems don’t exist in the US anymore, it is very clear, just though the Atlanta shooting alone, that these issues plague America just as much as they ever did. And it is even clearer that we should work towards fixing them. How many more people have to die before we finally admit that we have issues?