March 18, 2021

Anti-Asian Violence

“Georgia authorities charged a man with the fatal shootings of eight people, including six Asian women, at Atlanta-area spas… The 21-year-old suspect, Robert Aaron Long, told investigators that a sex addiction drove him to commit Tuesday’s killings and indicated he frequented spas in the area, law enforcement officials said.” Reuters

“Recent attacks, including the killing of an 84-year-old San Francisco man in February, have raised concerns about worsening hostilities toward Asian Americans… Police in several major cities saw a sharp uptick in Asian-targeted hate crimes between 2019 and 2020.” AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left calls for a national reckoning with anti-Asian racism and misogyny, and stricter gun laws.

“Though officials acknowledged that the murders had occurred during a surge in anti-Asian violence across the country, that felt mostly like a footnote attached to the emphasis that it was still too early to make the determination that a hate crime had taken place… The alacrity with which the police have released information heavily intimating that this has more to do with sex, specifically the sexual frustrations of a white man, feels obscene…

“One can be cautious about what caused a man to kill people while still acknowledging that watching people who look like you die for no reason looks exactly like what it is. But law enforcement officials made a specific choice in ignoring that and echoing the words of a killer. And their stress for caution before labeling Tuesday’s murders as racially motivated—while foregrounding the potential sexual nature of the investigation—runs the risk of falsely treating misogyny and racism as if they’re mutually exclusive, when in fact, overwhelming evidence has shown that the two toxic forces are often interwoven.”
Inae Oh, Mother Jones

“Though we don't yet have all the facts here, there is an extensive literature on how racist prejudice can fuel unhealthy sexual fetishes and violence (by, for instance, instilling a belief that women of Asian descent are naturally submissive, possibly leading to violence when advances are rejected). Driving for dozens of miles to commit mass murder at three different specifically Asian massage parlors to somehow exact vengeance for a purported sex addiction is not evidence against a racist motive; it is evidence in favor of one.”
Ryan Cooper, The Week

“A worldwide wave of attacks on Asian people erupted in the early days of the pandemic, which originated in China. It’s obviously stupid to blame people for being of the same race or ethnicity as a country where a virus originates, but it happened nonetheless…

“And in the U.S., the wave of misdirected anger was amplified by then-President Donald Trump, who constantly associated the virus with China in his speeches and tweets. Many of the recent anti-Asian hate crimes have involved repetition of the term ‘China virus,’ which Trump popularized and repeated often…

“It’s unlikely that Biden can or will tamp down tensions with China just to avoid fueling racism. Instead, he and other U.S. leaders — including Republicans — need to redouble their efforts to explicitly tell Americans not to conflate Asian people with the country of China, and that targeting Asians is unacceptable. There’s a precedent for this: In the wake of 9/11, then-President Bush’s repeated insistence that America wasn’t at war with Islam, and that Islam was a religion of peace, probably helped limit the size of the wave of anti-Muslim violence in 2003.”
Noah Smith, Bloomberg

“These attacks haven’t occurred in a vacuum but have intersected with rising violence and economic insecurity. Desolate cities and empty retail spaces from businesses that haven’t survived the COVID pandemic mean fewer ‘eyes on the street,’ increasing danger for everyone, but especially Asian elders who may be perceived as vulnerable. Decades of structural racism and community disinvestment have exacerbated the pandemic’s acute economic devastation and increasing gun violence across the country…

Re-imagining community safety doesn’t mean flooding streets with police officers. It does mean investing in jobs, educational opportunities, health care and affordable housing that make healthy communities, and programs to promote public safety such as non-police community ambassador programs and violence reduction efforts targeted towards young people…

“Racism and violence are twin public health crises that require a response as urgent as our investment in COVID vaccine development.”
Stacy Torres, USA Today

“Just two weeks ago, Sweden had a similar situation where a young man attacked multiple people in a public place. But he was armed with a knife, not a gun, so the seven people affected were injured but not dead. Guns make it way too easy for someone who has wound himself into a hateful place to unleash death on innocent people. Bigotry is hard to eradicate, but the least we can do is make it harder for bigotry to kill.”
Amanda Marcotte, Salon

From the Right

The right blames reduced policing for the uptick in crime against Asian-Americans.

The right blames reduced policing for the uptick in crime against Asian-Americans.

“Democratic lawmakers have been quick to blame former President Donald Trump’s anti-China rhetoric for the violence. A lengthy New York Times op-ed on the topic goes back further, positioning the latest spree of violence as an extension of white mobs in the 19th century brutally assaulting immigrants. The article carefully avoids identifying the ethnic background of the assailants in this year’s attacks…

“In fact, almost all the suspects in the recent high-profile attacks against Asian Americans that are drawing public attention are from minority groups. There is no reason to think these attacks were predominantly inspired by the former president let alone any white supremacist ideology… Over the past year, we’ve seen a huge spike in violent crime, particularly shootings and homicides. It’s possible that these crimes against Asian Americans are simply part of a larger crime wave that is making major American cities increasingly unsafe.”
Zaid Jilani, Spectator USA

The source of the surge in hate crimes isn't white supremacy. Not only are many prominent suspects black, but the culprit is actually the very sort of underpolicing the Left has been advocating for the past year. For starters, the violence is concentrated in cities that are underpolicing in response to anti-police activism…

“Of the 122 anti-Asian American hate crimes documented in our 16 most populous cities last year, more than 72% were in just six cities, and 23% were just in New York. What was going on in New York City and Los Angeles that wasn't going on in San Diego or Cincinnati (just one anti-Asian American hate crime apiece)?…

“Furthermore, prominent serial assailants, such as Yahya Muslim, who allegedly attacked three Asian Americans in one day, and Antoine Watson, accused of killing an Asian man in broad daylight, are black. That hasn't stopped cable news hacks like Kurt Bardella from claiming on MSNBC without evidence that the recent surge in violence is motivated by white supremacy.”
Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner

“Oakland’s Chinatown has endured more than 20 robberies; according to local Chamber of Commerce head Carl Chan, businesses ‘are so fearful they prefer to close early,’… Historically, American cities have had a simple response to the sort of lawlessness that Chan and others describe: put additional cops on the beat, stop potential violent offenders before they do serious damage, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law when they do commit violent crimes…

“But in Northern California, that system is breaking down. Oakland slashed $14.3 million from its police budget and charged a task force with cutting the remaining budget in half over two years, even as homicides in the city have surged. In San Francisco, cops have fled the force ‘in record numbers,’ and Mayor London Breed has pushed for a $120 million cut to the police and sheriff’s department. Statewide…

“Progressive organizers have been quick to insist that the attacks don’t justify support for more policing, and some leaders are listening: California governor Gavin Newsom just signed a bill earmarking $1.4 million to respond to the attacks—with research at UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center. Not a penny for policing.”
Charles Fain Lehman, City Journal

“In late February, [San Francisco District Attorney Chesa] Boudin described the killing, caught on camera, of a 5-foot-6-inch, 84-year-old Thai visitor to San Francisco by a 19-year-old as ‘some sort of a temper tantrum.’ While the district attorney insists that there is no way that the race of the victim could have been involved, the victim's family thinks otherwise…

“This was a year after the DA dropped charges against a 20-year-old man who had participated in the pipe beating of an elderly Asian American man. The ostensible reason for the beating was that the victim didn’t immediately hand over to the robber the discarded soda cans he’d spent the night collecting. The assailant recorded not only the beating but also the sound of someone saying how much he hated Asians. Boudin dropped the charges, claiming that the victim wanted to pursue a path of ‘restorative justice.’ These are words more often associated with Yale-educated, Rhodes scholar attorneys than with senior citizens who spend their nights on the street collecting refuse for resale.”
David Wu, Washington Examiner

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