March 16 was not just a “bad day”

Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office speaks at a press conference on March 17, 2021, in Atlanta. Suspect Aaron Long, 21, was arrested after a series of shooting at three Atlanta area spas left eight people dead on March 16, including six Asian women.

AL MAIER, Opinion Columnist

In the wake of the hate crime in Atlanta, Ga. on March 16, 2021, eight people lost their lives due to the shooter “having a bad day.” Six of the victims were Asian women at two spas in Georgia. The shootings took place with less than an hour between each spa. We need to come together and support our Asian brothers and sisters to show solidarity.

The authorities apprehended and arrested Robert Aaron Long after a short period of searching, and he now stands with eight murder charges against him. He also claims that this was not racially motivated, but that remains to be seen. This never should have happened; this never should have come to fruition, but here we are in this moment, and we need to reach out and show love and support.

Hate crimes toward Asians have unfortunately skyrocketed as of late, and it should not be happening. Long was apprehended before anything else happened, but he should have been able to find another way to deal with a “bad day.” Our Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned that “we will stand up for the right of our fellow Americans and Korean Americans to be safe and to be treated with dignity,” as he visited South Korea last week.

Georgia’s state senator Raphael Warnock (D) also released a statement by saying, “my heart is broken tonight after the tragic violence in Atlanta that took eight lives. Once again we see that hate is deadly. Praying for the families of the victims and for peace for the community.”

Another organization, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, released a tweet as follows for support and love: “We are shaken by the violence in our city that has left 8 (people) dead, including members of the Asian American community. We are gathering info about what happened & the needs of directly impacted are. Now is the time to hold the victims & their families in our hearts & with light.”

Four days before this attack, President Joseph Biden issued a statement in his prime-time address to the nation that he was condemning the rise of hate crimes in America: “Too often, we’ve turned against one another,” he said. “Vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans, who have been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated. It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.” This was four days before the attacks. Four days – let that sink in for a moment.

Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Hyun Jung Grant and Yong Ae Yue all tragically lost their lives. According to CBS news, “anti-Asian hate crimes rose nearly 150% in major U.S. cities in 2020, reflecting a growing trend of discrimination against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Say their names, and remember their lives. Most of all, be kind, share love, stand up and reach out.