Wisconsin Democratic politicians, including Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, are falsely blaming President Donald Trump for the Atlanta area mass shootings, and linking them to anti-Asian-American “hatred and violence,” even though authorities in Georgia say the likely motive was the killer’s sex addiction.
Barnes, state Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) all tried to paint the Georgia murders as an AAPI hate crime when authorities in Georgia have not.
“The horrific attacks yesterday in the Atlanta area should never occur, especially in a country that bills itself as the land of the free. AAPI hate is not acceptable at any level, and these deaths are a tragic result of the fear-mongering by our former President & his allies,” wrote Larson.
Anti-Asian discrimination is obviously a horrible thing. However, authorities in Georgia don’t yet have the facts needed to say the Georgia shootings at massage parlors were an example of that.
Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said in a March 17, 2021, news conference, “Is this a hate crime? We are still early in this investigation so we can’t make a determination at this moment.”
Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said the suspect in the shootings that left eight people dead “made indicators he has some issues, potentially sexual addiction and may have frequented some of these places in the past.” Reporters asked Reynolds where the shooter had a racial motivation, and he said, “It may not be. It may be targets of opportunity. He had frequented the establishments in the past. He may have been lashing out.” He said at another point in the news conference that race didn’t appear to be the gunman’s motive. Most of the victims (six of eight) were Asian but not all. Authorities said they had not found any political motive to the shootings.
Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County sheriff’s office said the suspect told authorities that the shootings were not racially motivated.
AAPI Hate Crime?
Yet, a press release from Barnes states, “Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes issued the following statement today on the shootings in Georgia and the anti-Asian racism, violence, and discrimination in our communities.
“I am saddened and outraged by the shootings in Georgia that left eight people dead, including six Asian women. Targeted acts of hatred and violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have been on the rise since the early days of the pandemic, and they have been fueled by racist and xenophobic rhetoric from our former president and other political leaders,” said Barnes.
He added: “For the eight souls we lost yesterday, and for the generations of people deserving a world free of hatred and bigotry, we must stand in solidarity with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and work to rid our society of the racism and white supremacy that has fostered and perpetuated this violence.”
Moore painted it as an AAPI hate crime even though Georgia officials have not identified the murder spree as such. “My heart is with the families now mourning after losing their loved ones to gun violence. Hate crimes against Asian Americans have been increasing. We must have zero tolerance for discrimination & hatred towards Asian Americans. I will always stand with my AAPI brothers and sisters,” she wrote.
The comments echo those by national politicians. Former President Barack Obama wrote on Twitter, “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.”