The Atlanta shooter's "sex addiction" excuse is a bunch of malarkey. It's also an admission of hate crimes.

Tuesday night, a 21-year-old white man shot up no less than three Asian massage parlors, killing eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent. The terrorist who perpetrated this, Robert Long, has apparently already hacked up a story to try to avoid the addition of hate crimes charges on top of the multiple murder charges he's facing: he's a sex addict.

According to Atlanta Police, Long has claimed that he shot up Asian spas because he "sees these locations... [as] a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate."

Come again? Why would Asian massage parlors be "a temptation" for a sex addict? This man didn't go around shooting up nightclubs or adult studios, not that there would be any kind of an excuse for that. Just what is so dang special about Asian spas that causes such... 'temptation'?

The only way the 'sex addiction' excuse even makes any (sick) sense is if one accepts deeply racist and misogynistic frame embedded in it: the objectification, sexualization, and fetishization of Asian women generally, of Asian women who work in various roles of direct customer service in particular, and even more distinctly, of Asian women who work as masseuses. The idea here is that Asian women - especially Asian women who provide massages - deserve to be viewed as the worst of caricatures, thought of as toys for men (especially white men), and valued - positively or negatively - only as objects of men's fetish.

Embedded into this remarkable (but unremarked) "excuse" is also a poor, distasteful, and yet enduring form of smug make superiority complex. As a society, we still accept without commentary men just happen to objectify women, that that's the way it is. You see, it's the Asian women who are tempting him, not he who is fetishizing about them. "Boys will be boys," especially if they're white boys.

Perhaps just as sick, this excuse seeks to single out Asian American owned businesses as illicit havens for sex trafficking. That helps dehumanize Asian people, delegitimize Asian businesses, and denigrate Asian communities.

Aside from sex addiction being a preposterous and outrageous excuse, what Long is really saying is that the object of his sexual fetish and the target of his act of terrorism are one and the same: Asian women. Moreover, he's saying that he targeted them for being Asian women, the objects of his fetish.

I'm not certain how much clearer it could get that while Long may or may not have been motivated by the anti-Asian rhetoric around COVID-19, by his own admission, he is guilty of hate crimes.

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