• Daniel Ethan Finneran

A Murderous Night In Atlanta

A young man, twenty-one years of age—within whom, as we’ve come to learn, a disquieting sexual deviance simmered and a homicidal rage burned—murdered eight people at three massage parlors in Cherokee County, Atlanta, Georgia.

We might, before probing more deeply the sad depths of this bone-chilling story, and analyzing more closely the warped soul of so troubled a mind, reflect a moment on the once-peaceful state in which it transpired, and in which he lived. Georgia has been, unlike any other state throughout the course of the past year, the locus on which our national attention has been repeatedly, and, frankly, unblinkingly fixed.

It was to Georgia’s senate election “run-off” that the country turned as the hue of that august body was so dramatically changed. From that point, and not a moment sooner, the waning prospects of the incoming Biden administration were greatly strengthened. It was to Georgia’s Secretary of State and Governor that President Trump—characteristically brazen and defiant—appealed, all in the fruitless effort to restore political fortunes that had since fluttered away. It was in Georgia that Rayshard Brooks was killed and, before him, Ahmaud Arbery. The former resisted arrest and likely precipitated the hostile encounter of which he was at the receiving end. The latter, on the other hand, appears to have been an innocent man lawlessly pursued, a quiet jogger through whom a shotgun-wielding father-and-son pair hoped to realize their vigilante daydreams.

It’s not completely surprising, then, that yet another newsworthy event occurred in Georgia, a land from which, lately, so many seem to have spawned.

The twenty-one-year-old shooter, whose given name, from now until this reading’s end, will with caution be withheld, visited three separate massage parlors within the span of an hour. Apparently, these were locations with which he was previously, is somewhat ignobly familiar. They were places of which, if early reports are to be believed, he was a rather shameful habitué, to which he repaired for indulgences of the flesh. They included Young’s Asian Massage, Gold Spa, and the nearby Aromatherapy Spa. It can’t be said that the three enjoyed a wholly unblemished reputation; such places flaunt the tacit offering of more than back rubs, merely.

Regardless of its reputation, eight people were killed, of whom a disproportionate six were Asian. Joining them in so unspeakable a fate were two white patrons—one man and one woman, into whom the killer’s hot lead indiscriminately cut.

The shooter was captured without incident one-hundred-and-fifty miles away from the scene of his crimes. Behind him pooled vast quantities of innocent blood, an ensanguined site from which, apparently, he fled with every intention of avoiding the infamy of arrest. Thanks, however, to the dauntless efforts of the law enforcement officials by whom, in short order, this murderous wretch was detained, we have the ability to explore and examine the motivations of the heinous crimes of which he was the author.

With unsettling honesty, he professed the rationale for his killings to the shocked but inquisitive officers with whom he spoke. Confiding in them, as one might, in better circumstances, a Freudian academic or an attentive shrink, he confessed that his crimes were of a sexual nature. When asked if they were motivated by racial animus of any kind, a heightened urge, perhaps, to inflict injury upon Asians in response to a pandemic introduced from the East, he responded that they were not. He was overcome, simply (yet inexcusably), by the terrible violence of his sexual perversion, one of the seven deadly sins for which eight people were made to die.

One would think that so blunt and forthcoming an answer would be dispositive. If only every criminal and malcontent could unbosom himself in so explicit a way. If only every villain could disclose his flagitious scheme with so little reticence. Might it still allow for further penetration into his subconscious intent? Are there still layers through which we must peel if we’re to reach the core and sincerity of his spirit? Are there lower nadirs to probe in order to shine a light on the putrid candor of his clouded heart? Apparently so, if the opinions of most of the contributors to our legacy media outlets were to be gathered, measured, and entertained.

From all corners, they’ve thrust upon him accusations of “racism”, a serious, damnable charge of which, in time, he very well might be found guilty. Yet, as things stand, it’s a charge to which all evidence stubbornly refuses to join.

Racism’s applicability to this horrible set of crimes, a possible anti-Asian furor by which he was enthused, might yet be shown, but, thus far, it’s not been. Nevertheless, we were told by one commentator that actions speak louder than words, and that the shooter need not expressly claim it to have been a motivation for it actually to have been one. This, it appears, is the dangerous uncoupling of intentions from outcomes. It is, I think, of some moment to adhere to the natural sequence in which they present themselves to the dispassionate and sober eye. One mustn’t divine an intention from an outcome, merely. One can never intuit another’s mind with such godly certitude and scientific precision. Rather, we must humbly ask of intentions, by which, having thus considered them, the manifest outcomes can then be judged.

The alternative, I fear, is unfalsifiable, and therefore undeserving of our time. Every outcome, by that standard, can be claimed to have been born of racist intent. We must, unfortunately, expand our imagination when it comes to the illimitable breadth of human evil. We mustn’t become so singularly focused, else we miss every unique species of wickedness. The shooter in Atlanta exposed us to at least one different kind with which, as a society, it might take some time to grapple.

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