Definition of confluence
1: a coming or flowing together, meeting, or gathering at one point
First the facts as published in a New York Times article
ATLANTA — He checked himself into a rehab clinic for a self-described sexual addiction. He was so intent on avoiding pornography that he blocked websites from his computer and only used a flip phone. He worried to a roommate about falling “out of God’s grace.”
Months before Robert Aaron Long was charged with carrying out a bloody rampage at three massage parlors that horrified the nation and stoked a furious outcry over anti-Asian violence, the 21-year-old suspect who had grown up in a conservative Baptist church appeared fixated on guilt and lust.
As investigators on Thursday pieced together whether and how racism and sexism might have motivated Tuesday’s attacks, people who knew Mr. Long offered new details about a dangerous collision of sexual loathing and what a former roommate described as “religious mania” that marked his life in the years before the shooting spree.
Mr. Long, whose church strictly prohibited sex outside of marriage, was distraught by his failed attempts to curb his sexual urges, said Tyler Bayless, a former roommate who lived with Mr. Long at a halfway house near Atlanta for about five months beginning in August 2019.
In early 2020, Mr. Long moved from the halfway house for more intensive treatment at HopeQuest, a Christian addiction center, and the two men fell out of touch, Mr. Bayless said.
“I think he just felt like he could not be trusted out there alone,” Mr. Bayless added, referring to Mr. Long’s inability to stop visiting the spas.
Growing up in the culturally conservative exurbs of Cherokee County, north of Atlanta, Mr. Long “brought his Bible to school every day,” said Darin Peppers, 51, the city director for First Priority of Metro Atlanta, a high school evangelical group. He played a box drum during morning praise meetings of his Christian youth group at Sequoyah High School, Mr. Peppers said.
According to one school yearbook, Mr. Long led a weekly gathering of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “I really feel like God is wanting me to be a leader in the church so I felt like this would be a really good opportunity to exercise some of those principles,” the yearbook quoted him saying, “and also just reach out to our campus with the gospel.”
In recent years, Mr. Long and his family were active members at Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Ga. He was baptized there as an adult in 2018, according to a now-deleted Facebook post by the church.
The church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and put itself on a list of churches that are “friendly” to the mission of Founders Ministries, a group within the denomination that has criticized what it characterizes as a leftward drift within evangelicalism.
Crabapple’s bylaws include a lengthy passage on marriage and sexuality that condemns “adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, polygamy, pedophilia, pornography, or any attempt to change one’s sex.”
The church’s lead pastor, Jerry Dockery, preached a sermon about gender roles in September, drawing on a passage in 1 Timothy that instructs women to dress modestly and to “learn in quietness and full submission.”
Mr. Long attended the University of North Georgia’s campus in Cumming from the fall of 2017 through the fall of 2018, a spokeswoman said, but he did not earn any degree and was not enrolled after that. In January 2019, his parents told the police that he had visited a girlfriend in Chattanooga, Tenn., and sent them a text message saying he was not coming back and wanted a “fresh start,” but the police said he did not meet the criteria of a missing person.
Mr. Long had told his roommates that his parents knew about his addiction and also suggested that he had lost a girlfriend because he did not stop visiting the massage parlors.
Once, after Mr. Long had relapsed in the fall of 2019, Mr. Bayless recalled that Mr. Long had called him into his room and asked him to take a knife from him, saying that he was worried he would hurt himself.
“I’ll never forget him looking at me and saying, ‘I’m falling out of God’s grace,’” Mr. Bayless said.
Mr. Bayless, 35, said he did not want to rationalize the killings in any way, but said he was describing his recollections of Mr. Long to give people more clarity about what he described as Mr. Long’s “religious mania.”
HopeQuest, the Christian recovery ministry that Mr. Long attended, did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday. It was not clear on which of its campuses he sought treatment. One of its locations sits on a wooded lot in Acworth, less than a half-mile drive from Young’s Asian Massage, the site of the first shooting.
NOW FOR MY TAKE:
Points of confluence: Murder, Racism, Anti-Asian, Xenophobia, Hypersexuality, Religious Mania, Sex Industry, Prostitution, Pornography, Christian Recovery Treatment, Halfway House, Sex Addiction, Mental Health Issues, Parents Tough Love, Relapse, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Impulse Control Disorder, Criminal Justice System, Racial Fetishes, Racial Misogyny, Anti-Female Asian Legislation [Page Act 1875], Easy Access to Guns, Polarized Political American Climate, A heartbroken young man, Covid 19 and the DSM 5 just to name a few. A regular potpourri of either reasons or excuses.
It’s a real case of pick your poison looking for a reason that makes sense and in the end its all just hyperbole leaving eight human beings dead and another’s whose life is over all vailed with a ton of conjecture. It’s just sad and tragic.
In the field of addiction there are three points that align with the disease model:
- All diseases must be chronic in nature and Mr. Longs extensive history seems to reaffirm that.
- Secondly if left un-treated the disease is progressive and always gets worse [he went from on-line porn to massage parlors to murder]
- Third is that then the disease has the potential to be fatal.
As it says in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book written in 1938 on page 30 “Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.”. I wonder why for those who work over-time to deny the existence of sex addiction they find these truths so hard to see. The sex addict’s death for the most part comes in installments; it is in the category of illnesses called the “disease of despair”.
Sex addiction is not a new concept. Historical records dating back to ancient Rome and second century Greece report excessive sexuality, also known as hypersexuality or hyperaesthesia, and nymphomania or furor uterinum (uterine fury) in women.
The modern concept of sex addiction was popularized by Dr. Patrick Carnes, author of Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction (first published in the mid-1980s, revised in 2001, and revised again in 2014). Carnes and his colleagues have written several books on the subject, and tend to dominate popular understanding of sex addiction. However, others have also written extensively on the subject, including both researchers and people who believe they have suffered from sex addiction. Dr. Carnes wrote another paper entitled “Eroticized Rage”. I think he saw this coming!
I’ll go a step further saying that his driving force might have been sex and love addiction. Anecdotally there was mention of a girl friend in another state and that their relationship had ended because of Mr. Longs involvement with the sex industry. As I’ve said many times the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection. Just a thought.
So pick your poison. I’d love to hear what people think, feel and believe drove a moral man to do immoral behavior.
I believe that we can recover from this hopeless state of mind and body. If you are struggling with issues around sexual compulsivity contact us at No More Secrets (NMS). We can help, remember misery IS optional.