When police tell us the man who confessed to killing eight people around Atlanta was having ‘a bad day’ it goes way beyond one cop making an idiotic comment Capt Jay Baker, of the Cherokee county sheriff’s office, said of the confessed Atlanta shooter: ‘Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did.’ Photograph: Megan Varner/Getty Images Sign up for the Week in Patriarchy, a newsletter on feminism and sexism sent every Saturday. Area white man has a ‘bad day’ We’ll call him Angry White Guy #72524, shall we? He was charged with murdering eight people in Atlanta; six of whom were women of Asian descent. And, like clockwork, as soon as the news broke, the excuses started. Sure, what he did was terrible, but let’s not rush to describe Angry White Guy #72524 as a racist or a misogynist or a domestic terrorist! He was just a good guy who having a bad day. “He was pretty much fed up and kind of at the end of his rope. Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” Capt Jay Baker of Cherokee county sheriff’s office explained in a press conference on Wednesday. Baker added that the suspect had assured authorities the shootings weren’t racially motivated – I guess police procedure these days is to take criminals at their word and repeat their talking points. “He apparently has an issue, 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,” Baker said. Got it, right. Totally makes sense. Unsurprisingly, Baker’s comments immediately drew condemnation. This escalated when Baker was found to have shared images on Facebook that contained racist slogans about “Chy-na”; Baker has now been removed from his role as spokesperson in the case. One of his colleagues has said that while the comments were unfortunate, Baker has “personal ties to the Asian community”. He can’t be racist, see? He has an Asian friend! Let’s be clear: this isn’t a case of one bad cop making an idiotic statement. Baker’s sympathy towards a guy who admitted to killing eight people is just the latest example of how quickly white male violence is rationalized and excused. You think Baker would have been talking about a “bad day” if the shooter had been a Muslim? Hell no, the police would probably be raiding mosques right now to see where he’d been “radicalized”. You think Baker would have been making sympathetic noises if Angry White Guy #72524 had been Black? It’s unthinkable. The shooter probably wouldn’t have even made it into police custody alive. I mean, we all know the rules. White murderers = mental health problems. Brown murderers = terrorists. Black murderers = thugs. The compassion Baker showed towards Angry White Guy #72524 is also part of a phenomenon the philosopher Kate Manne, writing in the context of rape culture, has termed “himpathy”: the excessive sympathy shown toward male perpetrators of sexual violence. “Misogyny takes down women,” she writes in her latest book on male entitlement, “and himpathy protects the agents of that take-down operation, partly by painting them as ‘good guys’”. Look at the way in which Christine Blasey Ford was accused of trying to ruin poor Brett Kavanaugh’s life, for example. Look at the way in which a judge decided that Brock Turner’s “potential” mattered more than the fact he raped an unconscious woman. The Atlanta shooter is not the first person to blame “sex addiction” for his crimes. Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey made similar claims after being disgraced. Ted Bundy blamed his crimes on addiction to porn. Please. These guys do not have a sex addiction – they have an entitlement addiction. They have a problem with self-control. The fact that “sex addiction”, which most experts are very dubious about, can even be vaguely considered an excuse for male violence shows just how deeply entrenched misogyny is: it reflects the way in which women are always seen as dangerous temptresses who lead men to sin. Whatever a man does, it’s always a woman’s fault. The dangerous hypersexualisation of Asian women “People sometimes seem to think that treating Asian women as exotic sex objects is somehow a compliment for us, when it’s actually something that contributes to violence against us,” Audrey Yap, a professor of feminist philosophy, told Buzzfeed. Misogyny will be recorded as a hate crime in England and Wales The Law Commission proposed that sex or gender should be made a protected characteristic in hate crime laws several month ago – now we’re a step closer to that happening. This week the government required police forces to collect data on crimes apparently motivated by hostility towards women. While the law still hasn’t changed, this is a significant step forward. Firefighters should not face charge of raping teenage girl, French court rules “Julie”, as she is known, claims she was raped over a period of two years after being groomed by a firefighter when she 13. Later he introduced her to colleagues. Three other men have admitted having sex with her, saying it was consensual. Seventeen others have not been charged. France’s highest court has decided this horrific case isn’t that bad and the firefighters should be charged with the lesser offence of sexual assault. An 89-year-old sharpshooter takes aim at India’s patriarchy “What will people think? An old lady of your age going out to shoot guns? You should be looking after your grandchildren.’” When Chando Tomar got her first (of many) medal in a shooting competition her male relatives were not impressed and forbade her to go to the range again. “I listened to them quietly,” she told the New York Times, “but I decided to keep going no matter what.” Lesbians in prison: the making of a threat After the second world war, criminologists began depicting the white “lesbian prison inmate” as an aggressive menace to society. Historian Estelle B Freedman explores why in a fascinating account of a “doll racket” scandal at a Massachusetts women’s prison. The week in salmonarchy Taiwan may have the pandemic under control but they’re now battling “salmon chaos”. Lox and lox of young people are apparently changing their name to “salmon” to take advantage of a restaurant’s free sushi promotion. It’s making government officials very crabby.