Robert Aaron Long: Mass Killer of Women

Robert Aaron Long

It is impossible to remove sex and gender from the Atlanta shooter’s targeted massacre of Asian women as Hate Crime. The mass killings targeting Asian sex workers in Atlanta seem now to definitely constitute a Hate Crime and perhaps only incidentally an act of anti-Asian Hate; this seems to have been primarily an act of Sex and Gender Hatred with the racial identities of the victims mainly having to do with the killer’s racist porn preferences.

The porn-addicted shooter was religiously conditioned to scapegoat women for what he called his ‘sex addiction.’ His father is a pastor in their Southern Baptist Church. Every time he sermonized about the Sin of Eve, the Temptress, the Original Woman causing the Fall of Man, or included anything about The Whore of Babylon from Revelations bringing about Armageddon and the Apocalypse by spilling out “her cup filled with the filth and abomination of her fornications” upon the earth (Revelation 17:4), he was socializing his boy to blame, hate, distrust, lust after, and scapegoat women. What his pastor father and his Southern Baptist church was likely to have called ‘lust’ or ‘temptation,’ would have been laid squarely at the door of the ‘’loose women,’ the Daughters of Eve, the Whore of Babylon of Revelation and the Apocalypse, and random ‘Jezebels’ — embodied, for Long junior, in the Asian sex workers of his obsessive addiction.

This White male shooter felt so entitled, so privileged, with such an unquestioning sense of Southern Christian White male supremacy, that he considered it his ‘right’ to shoot and kill the pesky Asian women he so compulsively lusted after — to rid his world of the ‘temptation’ that led him away from God. After slaughtering eight women in Atlanta, he was headed down to Florida to knock off the operators of the porn company whose online product he was addicted to masturbating over. The depth and breadth of his ‘religious’ self-loathing can only be guessed at.

The male protectionist logics that have automatically kicked-in have engineered attempts to humanize the shooter: “He was very innocent seeming and wouldn’t even cuss. He was sorta nerdy and didn’t seem violent from what I remember,” a former classmate of Long’s told The Daily Beast. “He was a hunter and his father was a youth minister or pastor. He was big into religion.” The Daily Beast also reported that an Instagram account that appeared to belong to Long had the bio: “Pizza, guns, drums, music, family, and God. This pretty much sums up my life. It’s a pretty good life.” But all this is far, far beside the point that, whatever ideologies the killer used to self-justify, his apparent Incel ideas, self-loathing and putative porn addiction caused him to go out on a shooting spree and kill eight women, with six of them being Asian.

Here are the first three paragraphs of a much longer story about the killer in the NY Times:

March 18, 2021

Updated 9:03 p.m. ET

ATLANTA — He checked himself into a rehab clinic for a self-described sexual addiction. He was so intent on avoiding pornography that he blocked websites from his computer and only used a flip phone. He worried to a roommate about falling “out of God’s grace.”

Months before Robert Aaron Long was charged with carrying out a bloody rampage at three massage parlors that horrified the nation and stoked a furious outcry over anti-Asian violence, the 21-year-old suspect who had grown up in a conservative Baptist church appeared fixated on guilt and lust.

As investigators on Thursday pieced together whether and how racism and sexism might have motivated Tuesday’s attacks, people who knew Mr. Long offered new details about a dangerous collision of sexual loathing and what a former roommate described as “religious mania” that marked his life in the years before the shooting spree….

Many otherwise kind and enlightened men have been quick to lay the blame at the young Christian’s so-called ‘sex addiction.’ There has been a spate of seemingly protectionist disclaimers, citing the sex addiction defence to demure about the overt Hate motivations for the crime. My response to these disclaimers is to question: If the shooter’s addiction to porn was the main cause of his attacks, with Asian women being his particular guilt and loathing-fixated obsession, laden with guilt and scapegoating due to his religious conditioning, sexual compulsion and misogyny, how is that not a Hate Crime?

In actual fact, how is this not the original Hate Crime?

Laying the blame for sexual temptation at the feet of women is hardly an unusual practice. In the Christian context, such a rigorous condemnation of The Daughters of Eve is traditionally and historically a function of piety: “Do you not know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway; you are the unsealer of that forbidden tree; you are the first deserter of the divine law; you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God’s image, man. On account of your desert — that is, death — even the Son of God had to die.” (Tertullian, ‘On the Apparel of Women.’ Book I — Chapter I, translated by Rev. S. Thelwall)

Here are some of the many slanderous things Thomas Aquinas had to say about female persons when he echoed Aristotle’s theory of Feminine Defect, querying, “Whether woman ought to have been made in the first production of things,” in light of the perception that she constitutes a ‘mistake,’ or “defective male.” Aquinas represented Woman’s touch as capable of throwing Man down from pinnacles of spiritual perfection into moral infamy: “…through a woman’s touch a man’s soul — as Augustine taught — descended from its lofty heights, and his body fell under her domination and thereby into ‘a slavery more bitter than any other’ (In 1 Cor. 7:1).” Echoing Augustine, Aquinas tells us in the Summa Theologiae (II/II q. 151 a. 3 ad 2), “Nothing drags the mind of man down from its elevation so much as the caresses of woman and the bodily contacts without which a man cannot possess his wife.”

The political aspects of the man’s Hate Crime are acutely felt and keenly understood by Asian women, as demonstrated in this Facebook post:

The ongoing violence against Indigenous women in Canada is both race, sex and gender-based Hate Crime, and has finally, officially been defined as such.

In a paper titled, ‘Reclaiming Power and Place: The National Inquiry’s Final Report,’ the National Inquiry Into Indigenous Women and Girls revealed that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls. In the States, Violence Against Women, Gender-Based Violence, and Sexual Orientation-based violence are already categorized as Hate Crimes, and have been for over a decade. I did not realize this, it is so seldom actioned, litigated or prosecuted, and never referred to. From Wikipedia:

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is an American Act of Congress, passed on October 22, 2009,[1] and signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009,[2] as a rider to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2010 (H.R. 2647). Conceived as a response to the murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr., both in 1998, the measure expands the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.[3]

The bill also:

Removes, in the case of hate crimes related to the race, color, religion, or national origin of the victim, the prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity, like voting or going to school;

Gives federal authorities greater ability to engage in hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue;

Provides $5 million per year in funding for fiscal years 2010 through 2012 to help state and local agencies pay for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes;

Requires the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to track statistics on hate crimes based on gender and gender identity (statistics for the other groups were already tracked).[4][5]

The Act is named after Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.[6] Shepard was a student who was tortured and murdered in 1998 near Laramie, Wyoming. The attack was widely reported due to him being gay, and the trial employed a gay panic defense.[6][7] Byrd was an African American man who was tied to a truck by three white supremacists, dragged behind it, and decapitated in Jasper, Texas, in 1998.[6] Shepard’s murderers were given life sentences — in large part because his parents sought mercy for his killers. Two of Byrd’s murderers were sentenced to death and executed in 2011 and 2019, respectively, while the third was sentenced to life in prison. All the convictions were obtained without the assistance of hate crimes laws, since none were applicable at the time.

The murders and subsequent trials brought national and international attention to the desire to amend U.S. hate crime legislation at both the state and federal levels.[8] Wyoming hate crime laws at the time did not recognize homosexuals as a suspect class,[9] whereas Texas had no hate crime laws at all.[10]

Supporters of an expansion of hate crime laws argued that hate crimes are worse than regular crimes without a prejudiced motivation from a psychological perspective. The time it takes to mentally recover from a hate crime is almost twice as long as it is for a regular crime, and LGBT people often feel as if they are being punished for their sexuality, which leads to higher incidence of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.[11] They also cited the response to Shepard’s murder by many LGBT people, especially youth, who reported going back into the closet, fearing for their safety, experiencing a strong sense of self-loathing, and upset that the same thing could happen to them because of their sexual orientation.[11]

Misogyny has been proven to lie at the core of mass shooters’ racism and ideologies of Hate. Sexism is the primal, primary ‘ism,’ assimilated along with mothers’ milk (irony intentional) in far, far too many societies. In some ways, the behaviour is merely the logical, if extreme, outcome of ongoing aggressively male-dominant, which is to say ‘patriarchal,’ cognitive culture.

Megan and Connor

In the case of the Dayton shooter, Connor Betts, police uncovered a stunningly large arsenal after the Ohio man openly fantasized about mounting multiple Planned Parenthood terror attacks. In high school, he had maintained a rape and murder list, terrorizing fellow students. Statistics show that more than half of mass shooters have a serious incident of violence against a woman close to them on their record — family member, wife or girlfriend — and they will often kill a female family member, girlfriend or spouse as a preamble to the mass shooting, as did the Dayton shooter and the Sandy Hook shooter.

Dayton shooter, Betts, killed nine people and injured twenty seven others. The Shooting lasted just 32 seconds. “City leaders said a number of police officers were already in the area where Betts is alleged to have opened fire, allowing for a quick response,” according to Yahoo! News. “If they hadn’t been nearby, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Police Chief Richard Biehl speculated the death toll would have been much, much higher.”

Among the dead was Betts’ sister, 22-year-old Megan. “The two rode together to the Oregon District, the scene of the shooting,” USA Today reports. A passenger who traveled with them was also injured by the gunfire. Megan Betts seemed not to have known anything of what her brother had planned.

Police say Betts was armed with a .223-caliber, high-capacity rifle with a pair of magazines that were each capable of holding 100 bullets. The shooter wore a bulletproof vest and mask, as well as hearing protection. CNN reports the rifle was ordered online from Texas, then transferred to a local gun dealer before being acquired by Betts. A second weapon, a shotgun, was found nearby in Betts’ car.

While in high school, Betts reportedly kept a list of students he wanted to kill and a separate list of girls he wanted to rape, two former classmates told The Associated Press. Betts disappeared from campus for a short time after police were notified about the list, but ultimately he returned following an investigation. Officials with Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools declined to discuss the lists and how the district dealt with them. Still, the AP notes, nothing that turned up in a routine background check would have prevented Betts from buying guns and ammunition.

Incidentally, the ‘Girlfriend Law’ proposed by Democrat lawmakers in 2019 that would prohibit violent males who’ve ‘warmed up’ by aggressing against girlfriends, spouses or family members from purchasing firearms was voted down by Republicans in the Senate so never became law.

Violence against women remains the most prolific Human Rights abuse on the planet. And, among women, the elderly are the recipients of the most abuse and battery, and form the greatest number of homicide victims — systemic, institutionalized, up close and personal — every kind of way. They experience the most poverty and neglect, and are viciously scapegoated in patriarchal religions worldwide. The classical humanist discourses, Aristotelian science, medicine and Natural Philosophy, form a huge part of the reasons why this pattern of slander and abuse, and the murder stats that result, remain with us to this day. In societies other than those influenced by the dominant Eurocentric Judeo-Christian culture or Abrahamic tradition, misogynistic patterns of violence against women can be traced to the first instances of typing menstruation as pollution. It exists in every nation that has been dominated by homosocial warrioristic orders.

Violence against women is Hate Crime, and in the process, finally, of being defined as such, worldwide. This is so very obviously both a race AND sex Hate Crime. Journalists, law enforcement, investigators and jurists must use the word ‘alleged’ as it is an actionable crime pending admissible evidence in court. But women have always known that the violence perpetrated against them is misogynist and, by definition, Hate Crime. And, not in the main being journalists, jurists, or law enforcement investigators, we are not constrained by legalistic language, but are free to go with what we know to be true only too horribly well.

Notes:

1. “Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act passes Congress, finally”. Mercurynews.com. Retrieved December 30, 2012.

2. “Obama Signs Hate Crimes Bill”. nytimes.com. Retrieved September 29, 2013.

3. “President Obama Signs Hate Crime Prevention Act”. Fox News. October 28, 2009. Archived from the original on 2013–10–06. Retrieved September 29, 2013.

4. “Human Rights Campaign”. hrc.org. Archived from the original on November 19, 2008. Retrieved September 29, 2013.

5. “Hate Crimes Protections 2007”. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved December 9, 2009.

6. Boven, Joseph (October 9, 2009). “Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act passes despite GOP opposition”. The Colorado Independent. Retrieved October 10, 2009. one of whom now admits to targeting Shepard for being gay.

7. “New Details Emerge in Matthew Shepard Murder — ABC News”. Abcnews.go.com. November 26, 2004. Retrieved December 30, 2012.

8. “Repräsentantenhaus will härtere Strafen bei “Hass-Verbrechen””. Tages-Anzeiger. September 10, 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2009.

9. “State Hate Crimes / Statutory Provisions”. Anti-Defamation League. October 10, 2009. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011.

10. Elizondo, Stephanie (June 8, 1999). “Black leaders honor Byrd Jr” (PDF). Laredo Morning Times. Associated Press. p. 4A. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2009.

11. “The Ripple Effect of the Matthew Shepard Murder: Impact on the Assumptive World Theory”. American Behavioral Scientist. 2002.

I'm a writer/researcher/arts educator on Vancouver Island and all round global citizen who loves humans even though we're such a phenomenal pain-in-the-ass.