In yet another tragic example of how President Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric is promoting xenophobia in the United States, a white supremacist murdered an Indian-American man at a bar in Olathe, Kansas.
As the authorities report, Adam Purinton walked inside the eatery and opened fire at Srinivas Kuchibhotla after yelling, “Get out of my country.”
Kuchibhotla’s wife, Sunayana Dumala, revealed she had been living in fear ever since Trump won the election. With the dramatic rise in hate crimes across the nation, she feared for the safety of her and her husband’s life, but he had faith in the country.
“I was so worried I just couldn’t sleep,” she said in an interview. “I was talking to Srini and I was like, ‘Will we be safe in this country?’ He would say ‘Nani, Nani, don’t worry. We will be OK. We will be OK.'”
Dumala spoke publicly at Garmin aviation systems, where her husband worked, and asked the government for an answer to this cold-blooded murder because no one deserves to die like this.
“I need an answer; I need an answer from the government. I need an answer for everyone out there," she lamented. "Not just for my husband ... but for everyone, all those people of any race."
The White House hasn’t responded effectively to this fatal shooting driven clearly by racism. Press secretary Sean Spicer spoke about the loss, calling it tragic, but defended the commander-in-chief, claiming that racism isn’t his rhetoric.
“Any loss of life is tragic,” he said. “But I’m not going to get into, like, that kind of — to suggest that there’s any correlation (to the president’s rhetoric) I think is a bit absurd.”
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj extended her condolences via Twitter.
I have spoken to the father and Mr.K.K.Shastri brother of Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Hyderabad and conveyed my condolences to the family.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) February 24, 2017
On the other hand, the murderer’s long time neighbor, Andy Berthelsen, believes his friend was just drunk.
“This is someone who’s gone downhill very quickly,” he told the Associated Press. “He was a drunken mess.”
Berthelsen claimed the shooting had nothing to do with hatred. He also revealed Purinton is a Navy veteran and former air traffic controller.
The authorities are still investigating the murder.