Last week, a white man, identified by authorities as Adam Purinton, walked into a crowded bar in a suburb of Kansas City.
According to witnesses, the man said “get out of my country.”
He pulled out his gun.
The white American allegedly then shot two natives of India.
One was injured, the other died.
The shooter ended the violent assault by shooting a white American man who tried to intervene.
Later, Purinton showed up at an Applebee’s for drinks.
He reportedly told witnesses that he needed a place to hide because he had “killed a couple of Middle Eastern men.”
The dead man’s name was Srinivas Kuchibhotla.
People who loved him called him Srinu.
He was 32 years old.
Srinu worked at Garmin, the company that makes map and tracking software.
He graduated from the University of Texas in El Paso in 2007 with a master’s degree in electrical engineering.
Srinu was married and was making his way in America.
His wife, Sunayana Dumala, later said that the shooter “has taken a life, a very lovable soul, from everyone.”
Sunayana had reportedly been feeling uncomfortable with a lot of the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from Washington DC and had even asked her husband prior to the killing whether they “belonged” in America.
After his death, she asked for government officials to explain how senseless murders like this could be prevented.
Srinu’s name might sound unfamiliar to American ears.
His skin color might not have been white.
He may have had an accent.
His religion may not have been Christian.
Presumably, he was not a U.S. citizen, but was probably on his path there.
Most importantly, Srinu was a human being.
Someone with dreams, aspirations, goals and a life.
Just his one and only life.
Many questions need to be asked about this senseless murder.
Possible connections made.
Did the hateful lies and anti-immigrant rhetoric of our President contribute to this?
Did blind racism contributed to this?
It seems that the idea that this country somehow belonged to Adam Purinton and not to Srinu contributed to this.
Perhaps the ease of obtaining handguns in this country contributed to this.
Tie these things together and maybe this is what you get.
Can we draw a clear line from this senseless murder to the dangerous rhetoric of the alt-right, Steve Bannon and their hero, Donald Trump?
Doesn’t take much to see how the hate spewed on Fox News might have had such an effect on those susceptible to hate.
But we will have to wait until the investigation and the alleged terrorist killer’s trial to know these things for sure.
We can only imagine how Fox News would have reacted if it was a brown immigrant who walked into a bar and shot three people in Kansas City.
But of course, in America, white people can’t be considered terrorists.
It has been a tough week in Missouri when it comes to race and hate.
On the other side of the state, those under the spell of hate knocked down over 100 headstones in a historically Jewish cemetery.
Hate. Hate. Hate.
But in a beautiful show of solidarity, people of every faith and background showed up later in the week to help clean up the cemetery and to pray for those who lived there.
All of that is little consolation to Srinu’s family.
For unlike a gravestone which can be repaired and set aright, there’s no way to take the bullets out of Srinu.
His body is headed back to India.
For his own private burial.
Rest in peace.