Violence perpetrated by a man likely motivated by racism, xenophobia and innate madness has left another region of American bloodied and the sane portions of the nation in mourning, and Steve Kerr is fed up, again, as we all should be.
As we all should have been centuries ago.
As we all should be today and tomorrow and next week and as long as people die simply because their complexion makes them vulnerable to attack.
A 21-year-old white man allegedly shot and killed eight people, in three locations, Monday in the metropolitan Atlanta. It’s sickening and frightening and depressing and all too frequent. Because it’s real life, it affects real people, including those operating within the NBA.
Such as Kerr, who by profession is coach of the Golden State Warriors. One of his personal passions, though, is pursuing a safer and saner America. And, like most of us, his desires continue to be thwarted.
“A million things went through my mind,” Kerr said of his initial reaction to the murders. “No. 1, just the continued hatred and racism that’s going on in the wake of the pandemic. It’s so devastating, so disappointing, that we would judge each other based on our heritage or ethnicity, anything like that.
“But this the world we live in. I just feel bad for everybody out there who is dealing with this kind of hatred, this kind of racism. I particularly feel terribly for the victims and the family members of the victims.”
There has been no decision on whether the suspect will be charged with hate crime, but at least six of the victims of were Asian women working at massage parlors. Violence against the Asian American/Pacific Islander community.
“We could do so much better,” Kerr said. “I hear people talk about the price of freedom. We have no freedom if people are getting murdered by mentally unstable people with guns that are easily (obtained). That doesn’t sound like freedom to me. Freedom would be the ability to live without fear of getting murdered.”
Sadly, we live in a country where men and women cannot walk the streets without fear of being victimized – not only by those paid to protect and serve but also by fellow citizens – simply because of appearance.
This attack came hours after former President Donald Trump, in an interview with Fox News, resorted yet again to insinuating the AAPI community – China in particular – is to blame for the spread of and poor response to deadly COVID-19 in America.
The term “China Virus” has been one of Trump’s pet phrases, and some of his followers consider that a valid reason for attacking even the most vulnerable members – the elderly – of the AAPI community.
“There’s no doubt that the rhetoric during this pandemic has instigated a lot of what we’re seeing, whether just animosity or in this case, violence and murder,” Kerr said. “Let’s be honest. Our ignorant ex-president has not helped matters by using derogatory terms for COVID-19, as if where we’re from or what we look like should hold us responsible for virus.”
“ . . . To blame people because of the way they look for a virus, think how ignorant that is. And how stupid that is. And how dangerous that is. When that starts at the top, with the ex-president, these are the results. If you can’t make that connection, that’s your own problem.”
The crusade to which Kerr is most devoted is gun control and the creation of more restrictive access to guns and ammunition. The alleged gunman purchased his weapon at Big Woods Goods in Holly Springs, Ga., according to an attorney for the store.
Kerr cited the H.R. 1 bill, also known as the “For the People Act,” of which one of the components addresses more oversight over the purchase of guns – including a requirement for background checks.
“It’s something that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political affiliation, believe in. Ninety percent,” Kerr said. “And yet the senate won’t even put it to a vote, because of their connection to the NRA.
“And it’s just disgusting.”
The man is not wrong. And there is a measure of fury as he awaits a better day. As the body count mounts, shouldn’t we all feel that way?