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Hawley Casts Sole Vote Opposing Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Bill

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley on Thursday cast the sole vote against a bill aimed at tackling hate crimes against Asian Americans, amid an alarming uptick of violence against the community over the past year.

The Senate voted by an overwhelming 94-1 to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which would designate a Department of Justice official to oversee the issue and expedite investigations of coronavirus-related hate crimes. Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono sponsored the bill.

"PASSED: Today, the US Senate rejects anti-Asian hate," Hirono tweeted Wednesday. "This historic, bipartisan vote on the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act is a powerful message of solidarity to our AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] community. Now, I urge the House to swiftly pass this legislation so President Biden can sign it into law."

The Senate, that is, except for Hawley, who bucked his colleagues, Republicans included, to vote nay on the effort to combat hate crimes.

The Missouri senator's vote is in line with his history of racist behavior.

Earlier this year, during a speech a the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, he, for example, rebuked the New York Times' "1619 Project," a collection of articles on the history of slavery in the United States. He also denied that systemic racism exists and stressed that the country liberated slaves.

"We heard that we are systemically racist," Hawley said. "We heard that the real founding of the country wasn't in 1776, it was in 1619 or whatever. We heard that America is founded in lies and evil. That's what we've been told. All of that is false. All of that is a lie."

He continued, "We're proud to have lived in a country that started with nothing and became the greatest country in the face of the earth. We're proud to be in a country that liberated slaves."

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawley repeatedly summoned racist tropes about the coronavirus and incessantly blamed China for the outbreak.

"Since day one, the Chinese Communist Party intentionally lied to the world about the origin of this pandemic," Hawley said last March. "It is time for an international investigation into the role their cover-up played in the spread of this devastating pandemic. The CCP must be held to account for what the world is now suffering."

His comments are consistent with Donald Trump's scapegoating of China for his own botched coronavirus response.

He also targeted the Chinese government. In July 2020, he introduced the Civil Justice for Victims of China-Originated Viral Infectious Diseases (COVID) Actto strip China of its sovereign immunity and allow federal courts to freeze Chinese assets.

"I'm proud to stand with my colleagues and lead the effort to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the devastation they have unleashed on the world. This pandemic is far from over, and every day Americans continue to suffer thanks to the CCP's incompetence and lies. The victims deserve to have their day in court," he said then.

Hawley separately introduced the Justice for Victims of Coronavirus Act in April 2020 to allow U.S. citizens and states to sue the Chinese government for damages related to the coronavirus pandemic.

All of Hawley's actions occurred amid an increase in brutal hate incidents and crimes against the AAPI community that has largely been fueled by anti-Asian racism and COVID-19 lies.

A March 2021 report from the Stop AAPI Hate tracking initiative found 3,795 anti-Asian hate incidents from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to February this year.

Racist rhetoric from GOP lawmakers and Trump had contributed to the rise in anti-Asian hate, an earlier Stop AAPI Hate report found.

In Atlanta-area shootings on March 16, a white male opened fire at three spas where eight people died, six of whom were Asian women. The tragedy was a watershed moment and became a rallying cry against racism and sexism.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

The Only Gun Reform Story Is Republican Obstruction

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

America's deadly scroll of mass murders doesn't have a pause button:

•April 15: Eight dead in Indianapolis.

•April 13: Six dead in Allen, Texas.

•April 7: Six dead in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

•March 31: Four dead in Orange, California.

•March 28: Five dead in Essex, Maryland.

•March 22: Ten dead in Boulder, Colorado.

•March 16: Eight dead in Atlanta.

We are stuck on this deadly loop because Republicans categorically refuse to pass common sense gun safety initiatives that enjoy overwhelmingly public support. That's it — that's the only Beltway story that matters in terms of the habitual mass murders that plague America in a way they haunt no other country on the planet.

Yet after each numbing gun rampage, the press glosses over the GOP's radical obstruction. The media have absorbed as fact that a small number of Republican senators can hold the country hostage to assault weapon mass murders, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. The unspoken point from the press is there is no legislative fix — that's a narrative that lets Republicans off the hook.

"When does it become urgent?" lamented a CNN anchor on Friday, in the wake of the Indianapolis workplace slaughter, just moments after a CNN reporter suggested all gun reform bills remain in "limbo," which represents a very passive way to cover this ongoing American nightmare.

Republicans and their blind allegiance to the NRA exacerbate this crisis by blocking gun reform laws while simultaneously loosening ownership restrictions and helping to flood the country with firearms. Yet how many "Republicans Still Oppose All Gun Reform In Wake of Mass Murders" headlines have you read in the last month? I haven't seen any. But I have seen lots of coverage about how "Congress" can't pass gun laws, how there's "gridlock," and even how the lack of meaningful new gun laws might be the fault of Democrats.

In a Politico article about President Joe Biden urging new gun reform legislation last week, this was the entirety of the role Republicans play [emphasis added]: "The legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate, which Democrats hold by the slimmest possible majority and would need 10 Republicans to get on board. Democrat-backed efforts to enact gun reform legislation have failed in recent years."

Why have gun reform bills "failed in recent years"? Politico doesn't mention the GOP's radical obstruction. Meanwhile, in this CNN article about why gun laws don't get passed, the word "Republican" is never even mentioned.

Even when the media do address the issue of Republicans and gun reform, they botch the story. "I wrote an article three years ago, explaining why Republicans were unlikely to change their minds and why there was little backlash to them opposing a measure that some polls indicate is supported by more than 80% of Americans," CNN's Harry Enten posted last week. Left unsaid was the fact that a key reason Republicans don't face a "backlash" is because the press routinely portray GOP's obstruction as mere "gridlock," or "Washington" being unable to pass laws.

Enten's analysis stressed that Republicans haven't moved on the specific issue of gun reform because polling suggests they don't have to. What he conveniently omitted was the fact that Republicans oppose Biden on everything. Just like Republicans opposed Obama on everything. The press for years has refused to tell that simple truth about today's GOP.

The New York Times recently asked "Is Biden Missing His Chance on Guns?," as if the Democrats were the reason bills don't get signed into law. In the wake of the Indianapolis massacre — that city's third mass shooting this year — U.S. News announced, "After Shootings, Even Democrats Pose a Barrier to Gun Control Legislation." The Both Sides article included zero evidence that Democrats are blocking gun safety bills.

Following the latest mass murder last week, the Times again framed the issue as being about Biden's lack of action, stressing that he "rejected calls to appoint a gun "czar" to more forcefully confront the crisis." The Times also reported gun legislation fails because of "apparent gridlock." This is exactly how Republicans want the gun reform debate to be covered.

Blaming Democrats for the GOP's concrete obstruction isn't new. The Beltway press did the same thing to President Barack Obama, when his administration made a major push to pass a background check bill after 20 first graders were massacred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT in late 2012. Even after Democrats whittled the bill down to a fraction of its original intent in order to win enough Republican votes to break the filibuster, the GOP refused to pass the bill.

Incredibly, the pundit class then blamed Obama: If only he had acted sooner, or proposed other legislation, or talked more often to Republicans, or not held public events in support of new gun laws. If Obama had just done everything differently, pundits suggested, he would've been able to win substantial Republican support and been able to easily secure passage of new gun safety legislation. Democrats were criticized for getting "cocky" during the legislative process, missing "their window" following the school massacre in Newtown, CT., and for "grasping at straws."

Following the Sandy Hook mass murder, Republicans for months blocked every conceivable Democratic proposal, and the pundits blamed…Democrats. Nearly ten years later we know there's nothing Democrats can do in terms of cajoling, because Republicans mindlessly oppose addressing gun safety no matter how many Americans die.

By the way, how radical of a shift is today's GOP behavior on guns? Note that in 1999,31 Senate Republicans voted in favor of mandating background checks at gun shows. And in 1994, 42 House Republicans voted for the Crime Bill, which included a ban on assault weapons. But all of that context gets left out of gun reform coverage today, as the press pretends Republicans have always been uniformly opposed to new laws to protect citizens.

There's a mass murder crisis in this country, and the press needs to tell the truth about the GOP and its role.

Polls: Big Majority Wants Gun Safety Measures Opposed By GOP

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Congressional Republicans are slamming President Joe Biden's recent executive actions on gun control in the wake of two mass shootings as unnecessary and counterproductive, and claim further restrictions on ownership are not the answer to gun violence.

A new poll by Morning Consult/Politico shows that most Americans feel differently.

"Limiting the ability for any law-abiding American to buy a gun will not make America safer," tweeted Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) this week.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) wrote in a tweet Sunday, "It's clear Democrat guncontrol laws don't work. Just look at the cities they control. If violent crime were down in places like Chicago, Portland and D.C., we might entertain their logic. Their failed policies don't prevent violence or protect our communities."

Studies have in fact demonstrated repeatedly that states and countries that enact stricter gun control experience fewer deaths by gun violence.

Senate Republicans like Sen. John Hoeven (R-WI), Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) also criticized the Biden administration's efforts at curbing gun violence through stronger legislation, claiming such efforts are misguided and won't work.

A new Morning Consult/Politico poll released Wednesday morning indicates that most Americans disagree.

Polling indicated that 64 percent of registered American voters are in favor of stricter gun control legislation, while only 28 percent actively oppose such legislation.

Eighty-three percent of those polled also said they supported expanded background checks that apply to every single gun sale. Similarly, more than 80 percent supported prohibiting the sale of guns to those medical providers have declared too medically or psychologically unstable for ownership.

Some 73 percent of respondents supported a three-day waiting period for buying a gun, while 70 percent were in favor of implementing a national database to track gun sales. And 76 percent expressed approval for prohibiting individuals on federal watch lists from gun ownership.

Biden recently signed several executive orders directing further gun control measures after a gunman opened fire at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, on March 22, leaving 10 people dead. That attack took place just days after a white gunman killed eight individuals, including six Asian American women, at several Atlanta-area spas on March 16.

Bide placed specific focus on "ghost guns," or guns assembled from kits without serial numbers, and so-called red flag laws, which allow courts to ban firearms for individuals who have demonstrated they may be a danger to themselves or other people.

Biden also urged Congress just after the Atlanta-area shootings to implement an assault weapons ban.

"Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it is an international embarrassment," Biden said, speaking at the White House on April 8.

Republicans were outraged at the move, with Hoeven writing in a statement responding to the President, "Infringing on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens will not prevent violence."

Several gun control bills passed the House in March but are likely to meet challenges in the Senate, where they would need the support of at least 10 Senate Republicans in order to pass. These include the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, which would require that, in the event of a gun transfer between two unlicensed individuals, a third-party seller, dealer, importer, or manufacturer to temporarily withhold the gun until a background check on the buyer is complete.

H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, also passed the House in March. This legislation would close the loophole that allowed white supremacist Dylann Roof to unlawfully procure a gun and kill nine Black Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The current loophole states that if the FBI does not complete a background check within three days, the gun transfer can still go forward — which it did in Roof's case, though he would have failed a background check.

Republicans are also objecting to David Chipman, Biden's nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who has a history of supporting some gun control measures.

"David Chipman is a gun grabber who believes in wild conspiracies. He should not be confirmed to run the ATF," tweeted Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).

A separate USA Today/Ipsos poll found that three-quarters of Americans support tougher gun control legislation, though, among Republicans, that figure drops to just 12 percent — a decline of 20 percentage points from Republicans' stance on the issue in similar surveys back in 2019.

Ipsos President Cliff Young told USA Today, "This is much more about a shift in the Republican base, and their leadership, than about the issue itself."

"In these highly tribalized times, cues from leadership become especially important in how the public forms their stance around issues," he added. "The partisan cuing around gun reforms has changed among Republican leadership, and the Republican base has followed suit."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundatio

Pandemics And Massacres Are Real Life, Not 'Theater'

Perhaps Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky needs a refresher course on the meaning of the word "theater." His GOP colleague Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas could listen in.

The former recently initiated a verbal brawl with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease specialist who has been providing information and advice to guide Americans dealing, along with the rest of the world, with a deadly pandemic. The latter accused anyone proposing the consideration of gun restrictions, in light of two horrific mass shootings in the space of a week, of "ridiculous theater."

Now, I realize the term "theatrical" can be used as an insult hurled at someone accused of exaggeration, but what is happening in America is a fact. So let me offer my own definition: "Theater" is the thrill of escaping from it all in a darkened hall with a group of strangers, to see and hear professionals act or sing or dance, and to be uplifted by the experience, if only for an hour or two.

And it's something we've been deprived of during this past, very long year amid the pain of COVID-19, with deadly gun violence that has not abated as a backdrop, and so much more.

The country has been crawling out of isolation because of dropping COVID-19 infection rates and the rising number of people receiving vaccines, though recent trends show cases on the rise again in more than 20 states. At a recent Senate hearing, Fauci cautioned against prematurely ditching precautions, such as wearing masks, until the virus is under control. Medical experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree.

That's when Paul called the act of wearing masks "theater." He challenged the necessity of masks for those who have had the virus (he has) or have gotten the vaccine (he has not).

Paul imagines he is an authority because of his COVID-19 experience and because he has selectively extracted parts of reports that align with his own conclusions. (He is a doctor of ophthalmology.) He is certainly luckier than the more than 540,000 Americans who have died after contracting the virus and the many long-haulers left with lingering symptoms and side effects.

At the Senate hearing, not his first clash with the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, it seemed that Paul was going for a viral theatrical moment of his own, as he kept interrupting Fauci with pronouncements and questions whose answers Paul ignored.

An exasperated Fauci explained to Paul as he would to a third-grader that the studies on COVID-19 are far from conclusive and that variants add even more uncertainty into expectations about how the virus is spread and how much and how long vaccines are most effective.

Reality Bites

Everyone is understandably frustrated. Businesses want and need to open to capacity. Children and parents, as well as teachers and staffers, long for school like it used to be. People want to meet friends. "Cabin fever" is too frivolous a term for what everyone is going through.

But Americans also want to be safe. So they listen to repetitious advice to put on that mask, grab the sanitizer and keep safe distances. And they wait to get on a list for a vaccine. Well, some do. Others crowd beaches for spring break or visit crowded clubs, which is some of the behavior Fauci was warning against.

President Joe Biden promised relief, more vaccines with efficient and equitable distribution, and asked for the help and cooperation of Americans. Results have been mixed, with leaders such as South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem more intent on leaning into culture wars than managing the pandemic in their states. With an eye on a growing national profile, Noem insisted at CPAC that Fauci "is wrong a lot," joining other 2024 hopefuls in insisting there is nothing to see here.

No Republicans, and that includes Paul and Cruz, voted in favor of a relief package that a majority of polled Americans favored. I wonder if Paul had access to the best, insured medical care in his own COVID-19 fight. Meanwhile, many who could not afford to stay home or call in sick to their jobs have been keeping the country going.

Several of those essential workers were doing their jobs at a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket this week when they were shot and killed by a gunman, a case that is still being investigated, as is the shooting that left eight dead in Atlanta last week. A discussion of gun policy and Second Amendment rights is possible without dismissing opponents' concerns as "theater."

Real Theater

That word, though, is not the insult Paul and Cruz think it is.

Some people escape with sports or by going to the gym or cooking or reading a good book. Though I may do all of the above, it's theater that lifts my heart. I recall the last Broadway show I attended, the musical Moulin Rouge, all cheekily garish sets, loud music, stylish dancing, and a plot you could see coming from a mile away. I loved every minute, and even had a picture taken close by the stage. When I shared it on social media, and it was "liked" by one of my favorites, Danny Burstein, who played the club impresario, I was in theater nerd heaven. Then, when it was announced that Burstein, along with many of the show's cast, had come down with the virus, I knew it was time to rip up the tickets for my next theater outing. Everything had changed.

It's not that I don't dearly miss visiting family members, hugging my friends, or returning to the now-dark Broadway scene.

But when Anthony Fauci says to keep wearing masks, at least for now, I'm going to listen to him, not Rand Paul. And when leaders work to figure out a way to make Americans feel safe from violence when they do venture out, I won't immediately attack their efforts and their motives, which is Ted Cruz's go-to move.

It's about knowing the difference between real life and make believe.

Mary C. Curtis has worked at The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, The Charlotte Observer, as national correspondent for Politics Daily, and is a senior facilitator with The OpEd Project. Follow her on Twitter @mcurtisnc3.

CQ Roll Call's newest podcast, "Equal Time with Mary C. Curtis," examines policy and politics through the lens of social justice. Please subscribe on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Americans Shouldn’t Have To Live In Foxholes

In the 14 days after the death of George Floyd, 19 people across the country died in violent protests. Not all the deaths were gun-related, and some of the dead were engaged in criminal activity. Nonetheless, the nation responded with shock and talked of little else in the weeks that followed.

This week, a single gunman killed more than half that number in one hour at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado. All 10 victims, we assume, were innocents.

I'm not particularly interested in the "what's his name" or the "why he did it." (The ritual still includes examining a psychopath's grievances.)

There have been at least 246 mass shootings in the U.S. since January 2009. We know the routine well.

It took no time for the partisan-divide reactions to emerge. Most Democrats said we must tighten the gun laws. Most Republicans who bothered to respond offered only prayers. And the National Rifle Association, as is usually the case after these outrages, went into temporary hiding.

But the public is not divided. Two surveys from 2019 show huge majorities, Republicans as well as Democrats, supporting stricter gun laws. Gun owners want them, too.

Twenty-two dead at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Twenty-six fatally shot at a rural church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Twelve gunned down at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California. Seventeen students and educators killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

Then there were really big ones: the 49 shot to death at the Pulse night club in Orlando and that astounding killing spree in Las Vegas, where a man perched in a hotel window picked off 58 lives at a music festival below.

For unspeakable horror, nothing matched 20 grade school children getting gunned down in Newtown, Connecticut. The next year, bills banning assault weapons and expanding background checks for gun buyers were introduced in the Senate and defeated.

If that didn't bring change, can change happen? Yes.

Just as the coronavirus has kept many Americans away from certain public places, so, apparently, has fear of getting shot, according to the American Psychological Association. Nearly a third of adults "feel they cannot go anywhere without worrying about being a victim of a mass shooting."

A foxhole is a hole in the ground in which soldiers shelter against enemy fire. Americans are now seeking similar protection by avoiding crowds. At some point, they will rebel against these restrictions on their movements. And they'll do that by voting, by electing officials who will stop mentally ill people from buying assault weapons with magazines that hold 15 rounds of ammunition.

The city of Boulder approved a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines in 2018. A district court only days ago struck it down, citing a state law that forbids cities and counties from regulating firearms more tightly than the state does. Voters can replace the state legislators who passed this law.

On the national level, Colorado voters might want to replace their own gun-twirling exhibitionist, Lauren Boebert. Elected last year by Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, Boebert glommed on to the nation's attention by throwing a tantrum when asked to go through a metal detector at the House of Representatives. That was after she loudly encouraged the mob that rampaged through the Capitol.

Democratic candidates are already lining up to take her on in 2024. They include Kerry Donovan, a prominent state senator, and Gregg Smith, a Marine and former CEO of Frontier Services Group.

These mass shootings don't have to continue with the ferocity and the numbers we've come to know — but only if the voters will it. They may be ready. Americans should not have to live in foxholes.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com

Despite Mass Shootings, Rep. Boebert Keeps Raising Funds Off Guns

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) on Monday began running ads on Facebook accusing "extreme woke liberals" of wanting to "take our guns." The ads continue to run even as police investigate two mass shootings.

Boebert's ad claims that she has "the radical left on the run" and solicits donations to her reelection campaign.

"The extreme woke liberals want to take our guns, cancel free speech, and end fair elections. And even end girls sports in America," Boebert falsely alleges in the accompanying video. "Please, donate what you can right now."

The ads began to run on March 22, six days after a shooter killed eight people at three different spas in Atlanta. The ads were still running as of the morning of March 23, hours after 10 people were killed by a shooter at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.

In contrast to the defiant tone of her Facebook ads, Boebert tweeted on Monday night, "My prayers are with the shoppers, employees, first responders & others affected by the shooting in Boulder." She also tweeted condolences to police officer Eric Talley, one of the victims of the Boulder shooting, on Tuesday morning.

Boebert has a long history of promoting firearms.

She owns a bar in Colorado called "Shooters Grill" that touts the fact that its wait staff carries firearms.

After being elected, she produced an online ad proclaiming her right to carry a handgun on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and on the streets of Washington, D.C.

In Congress, she has repeatedly falsely accused Democrats of wanting to take guns away because the party supports gun safety legislation.

In a recent congressional hearing, Boebert posed with guns on a bookshelf behind her, lashing out at restrictions on taking firearms into hearings put in place after the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

#EndorseThis: Sandra Oh Pops Up At Protest To Say She's 'Proud to Be Asian'

In the wake of the brutal mass shootings in Georgia, actress Sandra Oh showed up to grab a microphone at a "Stop Asian Hate" protest in Oakland, PA last weekend. The Killing Eve star delivered a pithy but passionate speech urging all Americans to step up and "help" the beleaguered Asian-American community.

"I am proud to be Asian! I belong here!" she fiercely told the crowd.

It was a breathtaking moment. Click and hear her moving, impromptu speech.

Sandra Oh At "Stop Asian Hate" Protest In Oakland www.youtube.com

Police Minimizing Anti-Asian Hate In Atlanta Killings Ensures More Bias Crimes

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The police overseeing the investigation into the Atlanta spree killings that targeted Asian women working at massage parlors seem to be working overtime to avoid reaching the conclusion that the murders were a far-right hate crime. But that's how the American policing system seems to operate: deliberately blind to any ideological components of transparently right-wing violence.

Despite Asian women comprising six of the eight victims, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office seemed to be making one excuse after the other for the 25-year-old white perpetrator—but warning that it couldn't call the mass killings a hate crime. Then it emerged that the sheriff's official, Capt. Jay Baker, making all the excuses himself was prone to indulging in anti-Asian bigotry in the form of a Facebook post promoting a T-shirt describing COVID-19 as an "Imported Virus From Chy-Na."

"He was pretty much fed up, and kind of at [the] end of his rope, and yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did," Baker had told reporters. No wonder Congressman Ted Lieu wants the FBI to take over the investigation—even though the federal agency has its own history of turning a blind eye to the presence of far-right terrorism.

The suspect, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long of Woodstock, Georgia, faces eight counts of murder in all three shootings—four of them related to shootings at two spas in Atlanta, and the other four related to a Cherokee County spa shooting.

In fact, there is evidence that Long acted on the basis of hatred both of Asians and of women generally, beyond the toll on the victims. According to a Korean newspaper, translated by Jeong Park, one of the spa workers reported that Long, while in the middle of murdering people, had announced: "I'll kill all the Asians."

Another report from the Korean press said that Atlanta police were warning owners of Korean stores to exercise caution because "there's a shooter who says he wants to kill Asians."

Secondarily, even minus the clear racial bias, Long's purported explanation for targeting of female sex workers—"These locations, he sees them as an outlet for him, something that he shouldn't be doing. He was attempting to take out that temptation," Baker said—is de facto evidence of a gender bias against women, which is one of the categories of motive under federal and Georgia's state hate-crimes laws.

Unsurprisingly, the Asian-American community—which has been trying to cope with a sharp increase in brutal hate crimes in recent months—was outraged by the attempt to downplay the hateful elements of the murders.

"It's taken six Asian American women dying in one day to get people to pay attention to this," Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) told the Guardian. "Record keeping of hate crimes against Asian Americans is so low because they are not even willing to accept that we are discriminated against and harassed because of our race."

Others spoke up as well. "We know hate when we see it," Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock said on MSNBC. "We'll get into the nuances of it, but only hate drives you to take eight precious lives in the way that he did."

"Racially motivated violence should be called out for exactly what it is and we must stop making excuses and rebranding it as economic anxiety or sexual addiction," Rep. Marilyn Strickland said on the House floor on Wednesday. "As a woman who is Black and Korean I am acutely aware of how it feels to be erased or ignored."

The FBI's hate-crime statistics for 2019 show only 4.4 percent of all racially motivated hate crimes were directed at Asians, compared to 48.5 percent fueled by anti-Black bigotry and 14.1 percent by anti-Hispanic bias. However, hate-crime statistics have long been undermined by the reality that they are severely underreported: a federal study by the National Crime released in February found that more than 40 percent of hate crimes are never reported to authorities.

A significant factor in this is that local police departments are not required to report hate-crime numbers. So, even as the numbers of bias-motivated crimes in the U.S. rose to the highest level in more than a decade—with some 7,314 incidents reported, an increase of about 3 percent in an already elevated plateau that began after Trump's election—police participation in the FBI's statistic-gathering plummeted to an all-time low.

The FBI reports that 86 percent of participating agencies failed to report a single hate crime in 2019, including about 70 cities with populations over 100,000. Only about 14 percent—just over 2,000 out of 15,000 participating agencies—reported any hate crimes at all.

The problem is exacerbated by an increasingly partisan conservativism in police cultures, manifested by the open hostility of many officers to civil-rights groups such as Black Lives Matter critical of their treatment of black arrestees, as well as their continuing use of disproportionate force to handle such protests. This has created increasing tensions in communities such as Portland, Oregon, where police have lost credibility for their ongoing failures to take hate crimes seriously, as well as to treat leftist protesters with increasing brutality.

The same right-wing swing in police culture also has produced the cozy relationship of law-enforcement officers with far-right extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. That relationship helped create the conditions that led to those groups' major participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Police have also developed a pattern of erasing or ignoring evidence of likely ideological or bigoted motives from their investigations of domestic terrorism and hate crimes:

  • Both local and federal investigations of the 2017 massacre of 58 concertgoers at a Las Vegas country-music festival by a gunman named Stephen Paddock concluded that he had no political motive—even though there was abundant evidence that Paddock was a right-wing extremist who told one witness he intended to "wake up the nation" to the threat of federal gun control with his act.
  • When two white men in Glynn County, Georgia, shot and killed a black man named Ahmaud Arbery jogging through their neighborhood, local police and the county prosecutor at first advised that no charges be filed and handed the case off to another county. But when video of the killing—clearly showing the two men gunning down Arbery for no clear reason—the case was given to a grand jury and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the investigation. It shortly emerged that police had actually encouraged and coached the killers to behave as they did.
  • The FBI's investigation of the Christmas Day bombing of downtown Nashville that nearly destroyed a city block recently concluded that it was actually a spectacular suicide, fueled by the bomber's paranoia and his adoption of a number of conspiracy theories—even though all of those theories were fundamentally ideological in nature, reflecting the man's embrace of far-right political beliefs. "Warner specifically chose the location and timing of the bombing so that it would be impactful, while still minimizing the likelihood of causing undue injury," the FBI said.