One of the important traits for any spokesperson for a company or an institution is to measure one’s words carefully when spoken in public.
Words matter because they resonate and can often tell us more than intended.
Jay Baker, the communications director for the Cherokee County, Georgia sheriff’s office, didn’t do that when he appeared with other officials at a news conference in Atlanta Wednesday to provide background on what prompted 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long to gun down six Asian women, two white people, and wound another man at two metro area massage parlors.
His first four victims died just five or six miles from where I live in neighboring Cobb County.
“He was pretty much fed up and kind of at the end of his rope,” Baker explained to the assembled media. “Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did.”
A really bad day for poor little Aaron? What about his eight innocent victims? What about their grieving families? What about the shocked and justifiably frightened Asian community here?
Long told police he had a “sexual addiction” and wanted to remove the temptation that the parlors apparently presented. Rather than seek psychological counseling, he admitted he went on a killing spree that just happened to claim the lives of the Asian women.
Despite the evidence, law enforcement says Long likely didn’t commit a hate crime. I don’t buy the cops’ claim.
Police statistics show hate crimes targeting Asians have surged by almost 150 percent in 2020 as the pandemic raged.
If the victims had been white, would Long have murdered them—or was it just easier for him to pull the trigger because the women were “others”?
Here’s another young white guy with a grotesque neck beard whom I’m betting heard ex-President Trump’s racially-charged calls of “kung flu” and “the China virus” and decided the easiest solution to his sex addiction was to slaughter his victims.
Baker’s apparent empathy for the kid just having a bad day might be explained by Facebook posts from last year showing him buying and promoting a tee shirt that said “COVID-19, Imported Virus from Chy-Na.”
I’m not surprised. In this part of the Deep South, we have a long, sad history of police equivocating when crimes are committed by whites against communities of color.
Kevin Foley owns KEF Media in Atlanta.