The New York Times ran a deeply reported story yesterday on the short, unhappy life and violent death of Tyrelle D. Shaw, a bow tie designer who called himself “Mr. Talented” and who was wanted in a series of violent attacks against Asian women. On his blog, Shaw said he would “hit over a million Asian Women in the face with a stick” to start a “civil war.”
Shaw, 25, is suspected of hitting four Asian women in the face with a hard object, thought to have been a brick or a hammer wrapped in a plastic bag. He died by suicide last week, hanging himself in an elevator shaft. He was wearing a silver spacesuit when his body was found days later.
Shaw described his disturbing plan at length on his blog, saying he was furious that he’d been romantically rejected by Asian women and planned to hurt as many as possible:
My blog has over 100 thousand views and my designs are sold at Ame Ame on 29th Street and Broadway Ave. My work has been featured on Humans of New York and Respect magazine. I’m pretty established in the art world. I just couldn’t understand why Asian Women didn’t find me attractive. Suddenly, I assumed the ones that I am attracted to use cocaine so I decided to play a game. Bash Asian Women in the Nose so that they could stop sniffing cocaine and give me a chance. At first I thought I could get away with 1 Million Noses, but at 6th victim I felt a little discouraged. I didn’t even expect to bash The Dry cleaning lady in the mouth. She went overboard with the verbal abuse. That was actually my day off from playing the Nose Game. Yeah, thats what I’ll call it “The Nose Game”. She asked for it. Inform NYPD they could stop searching for me because I’m going to commit suicide. Actually, I’ve already tied a noose to the bottom of an elevator and I’m going to wait until someone pushes a button so that its not considered a practical suicide. This is actually murder. Thank you. I love you.
The designs Shaw is referring to are his bow ties, made out of unusual materials like dominoes and Scrabble tiles; the Facebook page for his work, Mr. Talented Bow-Ties, liked by just ten people, is still up. Shaw grabbed photos with numerous celebrities, including Terry Richardson and Michael B. Jordan, and even managed to persuade a few people, like Adam Sandler, to wear one of his ties for a photo.
The Times reports that Shaw lived two very different lives: the one where he saw himself as an up-and-coming designer with many friends and romantic prospects, and the sadder backstory. His relatives told the paper he’d been abandoned by his mother as a child, that he’d lived in a boarding home as a teenager, and that he’d gone through frequent bouts of homelessness as an adult. He told a friend he had bipolar disorder but couldn’t afford the medications to treat it. He was arrested numerous times for trespassing and shoplifting. The Times found that he’d been living on 62nd Street in Manhattan for a time; just before he began attacking the women, someone dumped a load of belongings outside the apartment door that contained “bills, unfinished bow ties, nametags with a slash drawn through the word ‘sex,’ a dictionary of psychology.”
The older entries on Shaw’s blog are mainly copied news stories about crime, child abuse and Medicare fraud cases, interspersed with his obsessive attempts to “compliment Asian women.” One post has time-stamps of 100 times throughout the day he says he tried to “compliment” someone; he complains, in all caps, that he was ignored:
TODAY MY GOAL WAS TO COMPLIMENT 100 WOMEN. I’VE SUCCESFULLY COMPLETED MY OBJECTIVE. UNFORTUNATELY, I ONLY COMPLIMENTED 100 ASIAN WOMEN. THIS MAY NOT SEEM PECULIAR TO MOST AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN, BUT OUR CONVERSATION NEVER GOT PASSED [sic] MY COMPLIMENT AND A SMALL FEW OF THEM SAYING THANK YOU. HERE ARE CHRONOLGICAL TIMES OF COMPLIMENTS. THANK YOU FOR READING. STAY TUNED.
Mental illness doesn’t explain the violence of the attacks Shaw is suspected of committing. Neither does a feeling of entitlement to women’s bodies, and a frustration when they didn’t respond the way he wanted. But like Isla Vista shooter Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and injured 14 others during a shooting rampage he blamed on women rejecting him sexually, there’s a toxic mess here of untreated mental illness, growing rage and misogyny. In Shaw’s case, that was seemingly compounded by a life of poverty and a grandiose self-image that he seemingly came to realize was disconnected to the way the world actually viewed him.
“6% Battery Life Left and I’m gone forever,” Shaw wrote on Facebook, the day he died. “What do Me, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley have in common?” He ignored subsequent replies from friends and family members, telling him they loved him and begging him to call.
Shaw posing with Nick Cannon, wearing one of his bow ties. Photo via Facebook.