Connect with us

U.S.

Suspect Charged With Murder After Killing 8 in Atlanta Spa Shooting Spree

Published

on

  • A 21-year-old male suspect was charged Wednesday for shooting and killing eight people at three spas. Six of the people were Asian women, prompting fears that the killings were hate crimes.
  • In a press conference Thursday, law enforcement officials said the suspect admitted to the crimes but argued that it was too early to determine if the attack was racially motivated.
  • Cherokee County Sheriff’s Captain Jay Baker told reporters the alleged killer said his actions were not based on race, instead saying that he wanted to “eliminate” the spas as “temptations” for his sex addiction
  • Many social media users condemned the police response, arguing that what they had described was inherently racial.

Law Enforcement Provide Details on Georgia Spa Shootings

Eight people were shot and killed in three different Atlanta-area spas Tuesday night, including six Asian women, raising concerns that the attacks could be the latest in a surge of hate crimes against Asian Americans.

Police said Tuesday that they had arrested a 21-year-old white man from Woodstock, Georgia about 150 miles south of Atlanta after a brief manhunt. Authorities announced Wednesday that they had charged the man with eight counts of murder and homicide and one count of aggravated assault.

During a press conference Wednesday morning, law enforcement officials said the suspect did admit to the crimes while telling them he had a “sexual addiction” and was traveling to Florida when they arrested him.

The officers also said they believe he may have frequented the parlors in the past, and that he may have been aiming to commit similar violence at a business connected to the “porn industry” in Florida. 

Notably, police have also not yet offered up a motive for the attack, and this morning, they said they are not able to determine if it can be considered a hate crime because it’s still too early in the investigation.

However, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Captain Jay Baker said that the suspect told officers his actions were not racially motivated.

“He does claim that it was not racially motivated,” he said. “He apparently has an issue with what he considers a sex addiction and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places, and it’s a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate.” 

When asked if there were any signs that the shootings were a hate crime, Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds responded: “The indicators right now are that it may not be. It may be targets of opportunity. Again, we believe that he frequented these places in the past and may have been lashing out.” 

Reynold’s office also said in a separate statement to some media outlets that the suspect “told investigators that he blames the massage parlors for providing an outlet for his addiction to sex.”

Public Connects Shooting To Anti-Asian Hate

The remarks by law enforcement officials drew significant public backlash from people who argued what these officers had described was a hate crime.

“The fucking gall of a white male mass murderer to confidently tell on himself to police,”  YouTuber Eugene Lee Yang tweeted. “The piece of shit said, ‘I’m not racist because I have a sex addiction that made me eliminate people and places I’m tempted by, which are Asian women at Asian spas.’ THAT’S A HATE CRIME.” 

Others echoed that sentiment, emphasizing how Asian women are fetishized and commodified in western culture. 

Some also said the fact that the suspect viewed these women as objects he could “eliminate” proved the racial nature of the crime.

“Asian people, especially women, are seen & treated as existing for the use, convenience, & enjoyment of white people,” one user wrote. “Now our lives are simply fodder for personal absolution to a white man with a gun. To suggest that race isn’t relevant is spitting in our faces. #StopAsianHate”

Others, like actor George Takei, argued that even if the crime was noy racially motivated, the intent cannot be divorced from the racial nature of the act.

Rise in Asian Hate Crimes

The point was also something that was hit on by politicians and celebrities who condemned the act using the trending hashtag #StopAsianHate, noting how crimes against Asian Americans have risen drastically in the last year.

Many specifically cited a statistic from the organization Stop AAPI Hate, which reported that there have been 3,800 anti-Asian incidents in the last year, most of which were against women.

Some people, including author and television host Padma Lakshmi, pointed to former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric around the coronavirus, arguing it directly contributed to the spike in incidents. Many also pointed out that as recently as Monday, Trump was on Fox using racist slurs that may have incited more violence.

Still, the director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Sung Yeon Choimorrow, said this is a problem that has existed before the pandemic.

“Even before the pandemic and the racist scapegoating that came in its wake, AAPI women routinely experienced racialized misogyny,” she said. “Now, our community, particularly women, elders, and workers with low-wage jobs, are bearing the brunt of continued vilification.”

Editor’s Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murders or suspected mass murderers who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details.

U.S.

Conservatives are Mad at “Woke” Xbox for Minor Climate-Related Updates

Published

on

The fury comes after Xbox announced it was slightly altering existing consoles to better utilize and save energy.


Same War, New Battlefield

Mere days after M&M canceled their “spokescandies” due to backlash from the right, led largely by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, conservatives have found a new front for their ongoing culture war: Xbox.

Carlson spent months complaining that small character redesigns were “woke” because they made the animated anthropomorphized M&M’s — in his own words — “less sexy.” His campaign finally proved successful on Monday when the company announced it would be doing away with the spokescandies and replacing them with actress Maya Rudolph.

Conservatives, now facing a sudden dearth of non-issues to complain about, quickly found a new issue to rage against. Xbox announced in a blog post earlier this month that it is making minor updates to lower its environmental impact as part of an effort to reach Microsoft’s goal of being carbon-negative by 2030.

Now, instead of having an Xbox wake up to update games, apps, and software during random times of the night, it will do that at a time of night when a user’s local energy grid is generating the most power it can from renewable sources. 

Xbox also said it would automatically update some older consoles to a power-saving mode that aims to reduce electricity consumption when it is turned off — a feature that is already the default on newer consoles.

According to The Verge, the only difference for users is that an Xbox in power-saving mode takes around 15 seconds to boot up instead of doing so immediately as the console does in “sleep” mode. The change is a small price to pay for what the outlet described as “significant” energy savings.

Xbox Under Fire

To many leading conservative voices, the minimal shifts were just another example of “woke” culture. 

While discussing M&M’s spokescandies Tuesday morning, “Fox and Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt brought up Xbox’s new changes with Fox radio host Jimmy Failla.

“So Xbox has also announced that they’re going woke too, you know, because of climate change,” Earhardt said.

“I mean, it’s crazy what they’re doing, but we understand what this is. It’s not that it’s actually going to offset emissions, okay — the level of reduction is infinitesimal,”  Failla claimed, without evidence. “But they’re trying to recruit your kids into climate politics at an earlier age; make them climate conscious now.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think of that — you’re right, they’re going after the children,” Earhardt agreed, despite the fact that internal data from Microsoft shows just around 10% of Xbox owners are under the age of 18.

Other prominent conservatives also did their part to bait Americans into anger on social media, including America’s Foundation, which posted a tweet stating that “the woke brigade is after video games.”

The post linked an article from the right-wing website TheBlaze, which asserted that “Xbox will force gamers to power down to fight climate change.”  That, however, is false — Xbox has said users can switch back and change the settings any time they want

Still, top lawmakers continued to share the article and spread its false claims, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.).

“First gas stoves, then your coffee, now they’re gunning for your Xbox,” he wrote in the post, which was flagged by Twitter and given an “added context” warning.

The same warning, however, was not placed in a very similar post by Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Tx.), who also shared the article.

“They want to take your guns. They want to take your gas stoves. And now they want to take your Xbox. What’s next?” he wrote.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The Daily Beast) (VICE)

Continue Reading

U.S.

Washington State Launches Investigation Into Abuse at Private Special Ed. Schools

Published

on

Allegations include staff kicking a fourth-grader and dragging a child with autism around by his leg.


Abuse Allegations

Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has launched an investigation into a system of private schools for kids with disabilities after ProPublica and the Seattle Times reported on allegations of abuse.

The series of articles focused on Northwest School of Innovative Learning (NWSOIL). NWSOIL is a set of private schools that serve 500 Washington public school students with serious disabilities. ProPublica and the Seattle Times found years of complaints from parents and school districts against NWSOIL alleging abuse, overuse of isolation rooms, and unqualified aides teaching instead of certified professionals.

One district claimed NWSOIL staff kicked a fourth-grader. Another alleged that a child with autism was dragged around by his thigh.

Many former NWSOIL employees also claim that they were pressured by their parent company to to enroll more students and skimp on basic resources, like staffing.

Investigation Launched

In a seven-page letter, OSPI reminded NWSOIL of its authority to revoke or suspend a school’s approval, meaning that it could shut NWSOIL down. 

“Given the serious nature of the allegations made in the articles, OSPI is examining what, if any, actions need to be taken with respect to Northwest SOIL’s approval to contract with Washington school districts,” Tania May, assistant superintendent for special education at OSPI, wrote in the letter.

OSPI has demanded any records of mistreatment, maltreatment, abuse, or neglect as well as documents pertaining to restraint or isolation of students and calls to the police. They are also seeking information about the student-to-teacher ratio and staff qualifications. 

In the letter, OSPI claims that all of this was previously unknown to them as well as to police, Child Protective Services, and local school districts. They are asking NWSOIL for an explanation as to why the allegations were not reported. 

NWSOIL defended itself in a public statement.

“Use of restraints and seclusion are always used as a last response when a student is at imminent risk of hurting themselves or others, it said. “We strongly deny any allegation that we understaff and/or pressure staff to increase admissions in order to maximize profits.” 

Washington state representatives are considering a reform bill that will give them more oversight on the publicly funded system of private special education schools. 

In this legislation, OSPI and at least one district that sends students to this program would be required to visit before approving the contract. It would also standardize district agreements with programs like NWSOIL, including financial safeguards to make sure funds are being used appropriately.

See the full series: (ProPublica) (The Seattle Times)

Continue Reading

U.S.

Mass Shootings in Half Moon Bay, Oakland Rock California

Published

on

Just since Saturday, at least 19 people have been killed and 17 have been injured in mass shootings in California.


California Sees Third Attack in Under a Week

Two California localities experienced separate mass shootings Monday, just days after an attacker killed 11 and injured nine others in a suburb of Los Angeles.

The first of the most recent shootings took place in Half Moon Bay, a small coastal town about 30 miles outside of San Francisco, where a gunman killed seven and critically injured an eighth at two different locations.

According to authorities, police were dispatched to the first location around 2:20 pm and found four people shot to death and a fifth victim also suffering gunshot wounds. Shortly after, three more people were found dead at another site nearby.

About two hours later, police discovered the suspect in his car in the parking lot of a San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office substation with a semiautomatic handgun in the vehicle that officials later confirmed he had purchased legally.

Sheriff Christina Corpus said the man was taken into custody “without incident” and is “fully cooperating.” He has been identified as a 66-year-old Half Moon Bay resident of Asian descent.

Currently, the gunman’s motive is unknown, but the Sheriff told reporters Monday that both of the locations he targeted were nurseries, and it has since been reported that they were mushroom farms.

“All evidence we have points to this being an instance of workplace violence. The Mountain Mushroom Farm, the first location, is where the subject was employed,” Corpus said in a press conference Tuesday, though she added that, so far, the “only known connection between the victims and the suspect is that they may have been coworkers.”

As of writing, it remains unclear why he targeted the second location. A mushroom farm called Concord Farms has told reporters that it was the site of the second shooting — which a law enforcement official confirmed to The Washington Post.

In a statement to the media, a spokesperson said the farm had “no past knowledge” of the alleged gunman or his possible motives. Little has been released about the victims, though Corpus said Tuesday they were all adults and a “mixture of Asian and Hispanic descent,” some of whom were migrants. 

Authorities had previously stated that, because people both live and work on the farms, children were among those who witnessed the shooting. However, on Tuesday, one official walked that back and said while children were indeed in the vicinity, police do not have information about specific witnesses.

Just hours after the violence in Half Moon Bay, seven people were injured, and one other was killed during a shooting at a gas station in Oakland. Very little has been reported about the incident, but police have said that the shooting was “between several individuals.”

Renewed Calls for Gun Control

Californians continue to reel from the rapid succession of mass shootings in a state known for its strict gun control laws.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that advocates against gun violence, the state ranks No. 1 in the country for gun law strength. An analysis led by the organization found that California has the sixth-lowest rate of gun ownership and the eighth-lowest gun death rate.

Many of California’s top lawmakers have argued that the state’s relatively low gun violence statistics emphasize the need for more federal regulations.

“The Second Amendment’s becoming a suicide pact,” Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) told CBS News in an interview.

“We’ll continue to find whatever loopholes we can and continue to lead the national conversation on gun safety reform. And the data bares out. It works. It saves lives,” he continued. “California’s 37% lower than the death rate of the rest of the nation, and yet, with all that evidence, no one on the other side seems to give a damn. I can’t get anything done in Congress.”

Following the Monterey Park shooting, U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Ca.), alongside other Democratic colleagues, introduced two gun control bills in the upper chamber. The first would ban assault weapons, while the second aims to raise the minimum age to purchase assault weapons from 18 to 21.

President Joe Biden quickly threw his support behind the measures, urging Congress to pass them.

“The majority of the American people agree with this commonsense action,” he said in a statement Monday. “There can be no greater responsibility than to do all we can to ensure the safety of our children, our communities and our nation.”

Editor’s Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murders, suspected mass murderers, or those accused of committing violent crimes who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details.

Continue Reading