A Georgia official is under fire for blaming a shooting rampage that left eight dead at three Atlanta-area spas on a “very bad day” for the alleged gunman.
The gunman, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, undertook a string of targeted, deadly attacks at local spas in Atlanta on Tuesday, murdering six Asian women along with two other people.
The horrific attack comes as the U.S. is seeing a surge in violence targeting Asian Americans, yet, despite what seems tragically evident, as of Wednesday morning, investigators said that it was still “too early” to confirm whether the attack was racially motivated. According to police, the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, 21, told authorities that he did not target the victims because of their race, but because he had a “sexual addiction” and wanted to “eliminate” his “temptation.”
In a bizarre and disturbing press conference, captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said that Long “was pretty much fed up and at the end of his rope,” adding, “Yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did.”
Baker’s characterization of the cold-blooded murders drew intense reaction, with some calling it “strange,” “casual” and even “sympathetic.”
As many have noted, this is an odd and shockingly callous way to talk about a man who just killed eight people. Another officer, sheriff Frank Reynolds, said that Long likely frequented the spas and was “lashing out,” which again is an appallingly cavalier way to talk about mass murder.
“This sheriff is offering up excuses for the murderer like he’s their legal defense,” @sea_of_shoes posted to Twitter.
In her own statement about the tragedy, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had some more forceful words. “Whatever the motivation was for this guy, we know that the majority of the victims were Asian,” she said. “We also know that this is an issue that is happening across the country. It is unacceptable, it is hateful, and it has to stop.”
Watch the press conference and some of the reactions below:
"Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did" — a law enforcement official explains Robert Aaron Long's decision to kill 8 people in a strange manner pic.twitter.com/u0zFcqjbNK
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 17, 2021
This sheriff is offering up excuses for the murderer like he’s their legal defense. “He was having a bad day, he struggled with sex addiction, he wanted to limit the source of temptation, this wasn’t racially motivated” clearly the victims are expendable to law enforcement too
— Jane Aldridge (@sea_of_shoes) March 17, 2021
There is no way in hell he would have said that if the killer was brown or black.
— Asieh Namdar (@asiehnamdar) March 17, 2021
When I’ve “had a bad day,” I eat a whole sleeve of Girl Scout Cookies and cry-watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the 4927744720th time. I don’t SHOOT SIX ASIAN WOMEN #StopAsianHate
— Eileen Mary O’Connell (@i_Lean) March 17, 2021
"Why does this keep happening?" cries country that continually makes excuses for white mass murderers and believes access to military grade firearms is a god given right but healthcare, a living wage, and racial justice are a plot to destroy the US
— Stephen Duffin (@Duffmid) March 17, 2021
I'm actually really upset of how casual & dismissive this law enforcement officer makes the murder of 8 people sound.
An officer casually explaining "Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did" is like the police explaining that Jeffrey Dahmer got hungry.
— Alison Greene (@GrassrootsSpeak) March 17, 2021
Really, REALLY shitty way of saying “this is domestic terrorism caused by a white supremacist who was radicalized by a former president and the party he’s affiliated with.”
— Joe (@joesmith628) March 17, 2021
Police officers talking about white people who commit crimes is so much more polite, forgiving, and cautious than the way they talk about black people doing the same things. (And not just because they are still alive.)
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) March 17, 2021
— Fascism flattened, but never the webrant🕺——🕺 (@web_rant) March 17, 2021