On Tuesday night (March 16), eight people, including six Asian women, were killed at three separate massage parlors in Atlanta. Robert Aaron Long was arrested in connection to the fatal shootings, and the Asian community as well as other communities of color who identify with being victims of discrimination expressed their outrage on social media.
“Makes me sick. These women deserved their lives. No one should be targeted or murdered because of their ethnicity,” one person wrote. “This trashy person is Robert Aaron Long. Praying for the families of these victims.”
Another Twitter user penned, “THIS GUY JUST SHOT 12 AND KILLED 8 ASIAN AMERICANS, and there’s not a SCRATCH on him.. he’s not Shot to Death from what I can see… I don’t see any CHOKE HOLD MARKS or BRUISES… THIS IS SOME BUUUUULLLLL%#@*!!!!!”
Former president Barack Obama chimed in on the conversation, writing, “Even as we’ve battled the pandemic, we’ve continued to neglect the longer-lasting epidemic of gun violence in America. Although the shooter’s motive is not yet clear, the identity of the victims underscores an alarming rise in anti-Asian violence that must end.”
He continued, “Yesterday’s shootings are another tragic reminder that we have far more work to do to put in place commonsense gun safety laws, and root out the pervasive patterns of hatred and violence in our society.”
Amid the plethora of social media posts, many warned against the use of the hashtag Asian Lives Matter, which takes away from the Black Lives Matter movement. #StopAsianHate and #RacismIsNotComedy were suggested as better alternatives.
While many considered the shootings a discriminatory act against the Asian community, Long told officers that he targeted the spa parlors because of his sexual addiction, explaining they represented a “temptation he wanted to eliminate.”
”During his interview, he gave no indicators that this was racially motivated,” Cherokee Sheriff Frank Reynolds said Wednesday (March 17). “We asked him that specifically, and the answer was no.”
Long admitted he had plans to travel to Florida and commit similar crimes, but with help from the suspect’s family, the 21-year-old was caught and taken into police custody. He is being held on four counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault.