Yesterday, Cherokee County officials briefed the public on the murder spree allegedly committed by Robert Aaron Long, who gunned down eight people at three Atlanta-area sites. His victims included six Asian-American women, a white woman, and a white man. And people were shocked and offended when Jay Baker, the spokesperson for the Cherokee County sheriff's office, told us all about how the killer told them he wasn't racist, said he had a "sex addiction" and that he was trying to eliminate his "temptation," and, worst of all, that the killer had just had a really "bad day."

Bad day?

Bad day?

Know who had a very bad day Tuesday? The people Long murdered! And their families, and their friends, and their communities, and Asian-American people all over this country who have seen the rate of violence and discrimination against them skyrocket in the past year, especially under a former president who incited racist hatred against them by constantly calling COVID-19 the "China virus." They had a bad day.

The most charitable interpretation of what Baker said was that he was relaying the message in a deadpan manner, trying to give reporters a sense of what they had heard from the killer's own mouth.

But the Daily Beast reports that Baker himself has been putting some anti-Asian racism of his own on Facebook.


In a Facebook page associated with Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee Sheriff's Office, several photos show the law enforcer was promoting T-shirts with the slogan "COVID-19 imported virus from CHY-NA."

"Place your order while they last," Baker wrote with a smiley face on a March 30 photo that included the racist T-shirts.

"Love my shirt," Baker wrote in another post in April 2020. "Get yours while they last.'"

"COVID-19 imported virus from CHY-NA." Well, we know where that messaging came from!

So maybe Jay Baker is kind of racist. Maybe Jay Baker is part of the damn problem.

And here is that shirt he just loves:

But sure, please be the guy to tell us the mass murderer said he wasn't racist. And that he had a "sex addiction." And that he was having a "bad day for him" and "this is what he did."

By the way, we're going to need to talk more about this, because one thing we have learned about Aaron Long (he goes by his middle name) is that he is a devout Southern Baptist, and had his testimony videos on Facebook and everything. First of all, claiming "sex addiction" and the need to eliminate a "temptation" does not mean these murders were NOT racially motivated, since hypersexualization and fetishization of Asian women is a big part of the racism against Asian-Americans in this country. That's first of all. This is not an either/or, so when Fox News starts talking about the poor boy's "sex addiction," it should be heard in that context.

But also, importantly, claims of "sex addiction" and the idea that this fucked up person was trying to get rid of his "temptation" come straight from the bowels of a men's group at an evangelical church. Simply put, the idea that if you have lust in your heart at all, you are the victim of "sex addiction" and "porn addiction" is a distinctly conservative Christian pathology. If you go to any evangelical church in America, you will find a men's group where they all sit in a circle and cry about how they can't stop locking themselves in their basements and jerking off to porn 24/7.

Ex-evangelical scholar/author Chrissy Stroop has an excellent piece on this at Religion Dispatches, where she talks to the experts:

As Joshua Grubbs, an assistant professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University who has published research on religion and attitudes toward sex told RD, "Sex addiction is simply not a credible defense for mass murder." One of the most significant conclusions Grubbs' research points to, however, is that conservative Christian men are prone to believe that they have pornography or sex "addictions," even when they do not. Before he was apprehended by police, Robert Aaron Long was reportedly on his way to target the porn industry in Florida for violence similar to what he perpetrated in Georgia.

According to Grubbs, "There's a large and growing body of research that shows that conservative religious values are strongly linked to feelings of sex addiction. We find that men in particular are likely to interpret normal sexual urges as pathological and then act on them in ways that they find to be problematic." As Grubbs told me in a previous interview, while some people do exhibit compulsive and dysregulated behavior with respect to pornography, "There are also quite a number of people who report feeling out of control even with minimal use."

In other words, he likely learned this at church.

So there are a lot of moving parts here, it seems, and they're all tied together. Stroop talked to an Asian-American woman, an ex-evangelical, who used to be part of the Southern Baptist church before she got the fuck out of there. She explained from her own experiences how intertwined these things are:

"White supremacy holds Asians in a weird light, complimenting them on being the 'good minority,' while also devaluing women into sex objects who exist for their pleasure." Describing her own experience, she recalled, "As an adult in the SBC, I saw this fetish and devaluation from white men who thought I should have sex with them because as an Asian, I was a geisha (which they take to mean 'sex worker'), and so it's not really cheating or adultery for them."

So there's that.

But sure, Officer Baker with the racist t-shirts, tell us more about Long's "bad day" and his "sex addiction" and his "temptations."

[Daily Beast / Religion Dispatches]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the managing editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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