Back in March, 22-year-old Robert Aaron Long committed mass shootings in three separate Georgia massage parlors, resulting in the deaths of eight victims. One of the massage parlors was in Cherokee County, Georgia, where he killed four people. Yesterday, Long pleaded guilty to the murders of Emily Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Delaina Yaun, 33; and Paul Michels, 54. Long was sentenced to four life sentences without parole.
If you’ll recall, Long claimed that he had a sex addiction problem and often frequented Atlanta-area massage parlors. He is said to have blamed his supposed sex addiction on the massage parlor workers before he went on his killing spree. Rather than seeking psychological help, Long instead only sought spiritual help. Long belonged to a Baptist church that had some rather unhealthy attitudes toward sex, spelled out in their bylaws.
Cherokee County prosecutors did not seek hate crime charges against Long. Investigators there say they saw no evidence of racial bias. I actually agree with this decision because, in my opinion, Long didn’t exclusively search out Asian women to be his murder victims. It’s an unfortunate coincidence that massage parlors like these are almost always staffed exclusively by Asian women. That’s a situation in and of itself that I feel requires investigation. When Long was finally apprehended by police, he said he was on his way to commit similar killings at a Florida sex store. So, again, in my opinion, Long was targeting establishments that he felt fueled his sex addiction and not individuals based on their race.
Long is still facing charges for the other four murders in Fulton County for the Atlanta shootings. The prosecutor there says that she will not only seek hate crime charges against Long, but will also seek the death penalty.
Personally, I think the hate crime discussion takes away from two other discussions that we should be having in the wake of Long’s violent rampage. The first is to see if anybody working in these massage parlors was being trafficked against their will. The second is about gun control, since Long was able to purchase a gun the day of the killings without having to go through any waiting period.
I’m not saying that the concerns of the Asian community in America shouldn’t be taken into consideration. However, I think we should also be having discourse about the human trafficking that takes place in almost every massage parlor that is also tolerated by almost every major metropolitan area, and the lax gun laws in parts of our country that allow selfish lunatics like Long to commit mass murder.