Atlanta spa shootings deepen fear of rising anti-Asian hate

Washington: Asian American lawmakers warned the community is in crisis after a year of thousands of discriminatory attacks in the United States and a mass killing on Tuesday in three Atlanta-area spas.

The eight victims slayed in the attack included seven people of Asian descent and six women.

“The Asian American community has reached a crisis point that cannot be ignored,” Representative Judy Chu told a House hearing on discrimination and attacks against Asian Americans.

Federal and local law enforcement agencies are under pressure to increase efforts to combat the rising tide of hate crimes against Asian Americans in the wake of the Atlanta, Georgia, spa shootings that left eight people dead, six of them women of Asian descent.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris expanded a previously planned trip to visit health officials in Atlanta on Friday to include meetings with Asian American community leaders. Biden ordered US flags flown at half-staff as a show of respect for the victims and their families.

Rallies were held across the country to protest acts of hatred against Asian Americans and express solidarity for victims of hate crimes, verbal abuse and other attacks.

One suspect Robert Aaron Long (21) has been taken into custody in connection with the shootings. Though it is not yet known whether any of the victims – Korean American women- provided sexual services at their workplaces, the gunman told police that the spas he opened fire on represented a “temptation he wanted to eliminate”, suggesting that he at least believed that they did.

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