Murder in Atlanta
A gruesome shooting in Atlanta leaves Asian-Americans frightened
The stretch of Piedmont Road in northeast Atlanta is usually quiet and dreary. Cracked asphalt and faded street signs give the area a rundown look, and blacked-out windows suggest illicit activity. This is Atlanta’s redlight district. At night, multicoloured lights flash from shopfront windows in a futile effort to brighten the atmosphere.
On the evening of March 16th the colourful signage and lights illuminated a crime scene. Police officers guarded the perimeter of two spas, on opposite sides of the street, as other officers investigated a pair of shootings that left four people dead. An hour earlier another shooting, at Young’s Asian Massage in a nearby suburb, also killed four. Six of the eight dead were women of East Asian descent; the alleged shooter is a white man. Across the country, Asians and Asian-Americans wondered the same thing: was this yet another racially motivated crime against them?
Shameful episodes of anti-Asian discrimination litter American history. The Chinese Exclusion Act, signed into law in 1882, barred Chinese immigrants from citizenship until 1943. During the second world war around 120,000 Japanese Americans were put in concentration camps.