Information regarding the Atlanta massage parlor shooter continues to issue forth, and as the picture resolves more finely, we will get a better sense of why he murdered all those people. The earliest reporting (not reports, reporting, as in pundits interlacing their opinions and conclusions with the emerging facts) surmised a racial angle, given that six of the eight victims were Asian. There was a quick refutation, purportedly from the shooter himself, of the racial angle, so the next conclusion-leap was misogyny. Whether that brushstroke remains on the canvas or gets painted over by a different narrative remains to be seen, but the cautions and predictions I blogged a couple days ago are proving out.

That is, Keisha Lance Bottoms, mayor of Atlanta, has decided that this was a race crime, no matter what the shooter asserts:

Whatever the motivation was for this guy, we know that many of the victims, [the] majority of the victims were Asian.

Perhaps someone should email her a note that says “correlation is not causation,” and that she should wait for detectives, profilers, and psychologists to unpack this guy’s twisted brain before declaring the “why” of it all.

News organizations have reported that anti-Asian violence has escalated in the past year, up about 50% from the previous year, and likely related to the origins of the COVID-19 virus/pandemic. That this sort of thing is happening is both heartbreaking and infuriating, and speaks to the fact that we still have ignorant assholes in our society.

But, and I don’t diminish the problem of anti-Asian violence in the slightest, it is at this juncture premature to declare the massage parlor shooter as being motivated by race bigotry. Investigators haven’t said so, and even many of the opining public figures admit as much.

Yet, they persist. Bottoms isn’t the only one who doesn’t care to wait for an informed opinion from investigators. Andrew Yang, erstwhile Presidential candidate and NYC mayoral hopeful, told us:

And make no mistake, these women were targeted on the basis of their race.

Of course, some had to fold Trump into the stew, with one congresswoman blaming him for stoking anti-Asian sentiment by using the phrase “kung flu” (which has been dubbed racist, by the way), and WH press secretary Jen Psaki informing us that “There’s no question that some of the damaging rhetoric we saw during the prior administration — calling COVID ‘the Wuhan virus’ or other things — led to perceptions of the Asian American community that are inaccurate, unfair, have elevated threats against Asian Americans.”

Again, we have nothing but a correlation to tie this shooting to anti-Asian bigotry. Sometimes, correlation is causative, but sometimes it isn’t.

No matter. This shooting, like so many high-publicity tragedies and atrocities, is of utility to the agenda-driven. They don’t really care about learning and sharing the truth, preferring instead to put forth their truth. Whether the shooter’s motives were racist is now of secondary relevance. It’s been decided, for political purposes.

Why is this a bad thing, you might ask. Why am I grinding this down? Isn’t it good to highlight the spike in anti-Asian bigotry and violence?

The problem is one of credibility. If your assertion doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, you taint the overall message, even if it’s a good one. If you purport to a motive that doesn’t turn out to be correct, then people might question everything else you’re saying. If the Atlanta massage parlor shooter is presented as an archetype of anti-Asian bigotry, and it turns out he isn’t, then some might question the broader reality itself. This is true for any other incorrect motive assigned to him and leveraged for public dialogue purposes.

Again, it may turn out that the shooter was motivated by racial animus. This, however, won’t validate any of the early-concluders’ leaps. It’ll simply mean they got lucky. But, at this juncture, the truth doesn’t really matter any more. The pols, pundits, and provocateurs have rushed forward with their truth, which is far more important (to them) than any reality check could ever be.

A postscript. Consider that this rush to make the shooting about race might be the Left’s way of telling Asian-Americans that, no, they don’t actually have it out for them, and that all the discrimination their kids face in the public and higher education systems is not actually the product of their own bigotry, and that Asians should vote for their candidates in the future.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

If you'd like to help keep the site ad-free, please support us on Patreon.


Like this post?