The Atlanta shootings absolutely should count as a federal hate crime

It matters that the feds recognize that hate was at the core of what allegedly drove a man to kill eight people in one evening

In 2009, President Barak Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The law expanded the definition of hate crimes by adding, among other things, new federal protections against crimes based on gender. If what happened on Tuesday at three Atlanta-area spas wasn’t gender-based crime, I’m not sure what is.

Long may not know it, and maybe the police don’t even realize it, but Long may have already confessed to a hate crime.

Police charged Robert Aaron Long, 21, on Wednesday with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault after they said he went on a shooting rampage first at one establishment in Cherokee County, Georgia, then a short time later at two spas in Atlanta.