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WTF IS GOING ON? 

ERICK S. GRAY

It wasn’t too long ago that this country had another mass shooting, and this horrendous attack was against the Asian community. In the span of a few hours, a young coward named Robert Aaron Long killed eight people in several massage parlors in Atlanta, GA. Six of them were Asian women. It’s an appalling crime, but surprisingly, it’s not shocking—not to me at least. Because this isn’t the first mass shooting against an ethnic group of people—or religion, and sad to say, it probably won’t be the last in this country or the world. These shootings are becoming familiar to society like a head cold. But this isn’t anything to sneeze about. It wasn’t too long ago a young white teen named Kyle Rittenhouse grabbed an AR-15 style rifle and joined numerous other armed individuals in the streets of Kenosha, WI. Businesses had been vandalized, and buildings burned following a police shooting that left Jacob Blake, a Black man, paralyzed. By the end of the night, Rittenhouse had killed two people and severely wounded a third. And then let’s not forget the horrendous actions of Dylann Roof. Six years ago, he went into a Charleston church during Bible study and killed nine Black people. Racism is ugly and vile. When acts of violence are committed because of racism or hatred, let’s call it what it is. It is terrorism. It is a hate crime. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. So why call it something else when racists’ and bigots’ actions and habitual characteristics prove it beyond a reasonable doubt?

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Hypothetically, what would happen if a young Muslim extremist went into a Catholic or Christian white church and killed over a dozen white people? Or, what if an armed member from Antifa went into several suburban fast-food restaurants and slaughtered primarily white people? Or, for God’s sake, a young black male proclaiming to belong to the Black Lives Matter movement attacked white protesters. How would the media portray these men and their actions? And how would law enforcement treat them? Would they disguise these individuals’ actions with mental illness? Downplay their crimes and pathologize these men as distraught young men, a mere product of a troubled childhood? Buy them some McDonald’s? Or, in Robert Aaron Long’s case, claim they were “just having a bad day”?

So, this takes me to my next question. What the “EFF” is going on when the media doesn’t call it what this is, terrorism or a hate crime? In the recent mass shooting in Atlanta, I heard the media and law enforcement say things like, “He’s a sex addict,” “He was having a bad day,” or “He was at the end of his rope.” WTF! They claim that racism didn’t motivate this shooting. They don’t consider this shooting a hate crime or an act of terrorism. Really? In the words of Trevor Noah, “Your murders speak louder than your words.” What, white people can’t be terrorists? History check, the first terrorists in the country were white men—the KKK. What is the definition of a terrorist? A person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aim. And what is the definition of a hate crime? A crime, typically one involving violence, that is motivated by prejudice on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or other grounds. So, a young white male walking into an Asian establishment and killing six Asian women isn’t considered a hate crime—but of someone having a bad day.

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When a white male kills people in a mass shooting in the US, the media follows an algorithm of excuses for these killers. They deny that the attack constitutes terrorism or hate. These killers are humanized and symptomized, and their horrendous actions are explained like some accident or shortcoming.  The double standards of how the media report and portray crimes from white supremacy to a Muslin extremist are palpable. Shit, if a Muslim extremist kills civilians, no doubt the mass media will practically and instantaneously consider or assume there’s a connection to organized radical Islamist groups. In contrast to white male shooters who are typically seen as “lone wolves.”

What the EFF is going on when, damn it, in my opinion, the white shooter, the “lone wolf,” most times gets more empathy from the media than an unarmed, black male who has become the umpteenth victim of another police killing or police brutality? Thankfully, platforms like social media and the constant pressure from self-governing media and activists show everyone the double standard, gradually acknowledging that white America can contain terrorists. Yes, white AmericaKKKa, the country’s first terrorist group.

And that is what the EFF is going on!

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Eric S. Gray is a critically acclaimed traditionally and independent author. The screenplay "Bid For Love" he co-wrote with his agent Author N'Tyse goes into production in June. 

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