Olathe: Death and Hope

Murder and attempted murder in the Kansas City metropolitan area last week is international news.

If the suspect’s neighbor is right, the ‘drunken mess’ who killed an engineer from India was having trouble dealing with his father’s death.1

I think he could have found a better outlet for his grief.

Bad, But It Could be Worse

(From Facebook, via the BBC News, used w/o permission.)
(Srinivas Kuchibhotla, Alok Madasani, and Ian Grillot.)

Srinivas Kuchibhotla and his friend were enjoying a beer after work last Wednesday. A man started yelling racial slurs at them.

That didn’t sit well with other folks at the bar and grill. The man left, came back with a gun, apparently told Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani to “get out of my country,” and shot them. He also shot Ian Grillot, who trying to help the first two victims.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla is dead, his friend isn’t, and Ian Grillot is in a hospital.

Alok Madasani was hurt, but not hospitalized. He stopped by Ian Grillot’s room to thank him for trying to help.

The man who apparently caused the trouble has been arrested and charged with one count of premeditated first-degree murder, plus two counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder.

The FBI is looking at his motives, so hate crime may be added to his legal troubles.

It could be worse.

I think it’s likely that the man responsible will be kept from hurting anyone else. Whether he will be treated with justice or vengeance is another topic. (January 11, 2017)

Quite a few Americans aren’t like that man. Donations to GoFundMe pages, including Srinu’s Family/Recovery Support, passed $1,000,000 yesterday. This won’t bring Srinivas Kuchibhotla back, but it should help his widow.

$1 million and counting: GoFundMe donors step up for Olathe shooting victims
Eric Adler, The Kansas City Star (February 25, 2017)

“Well, that didn’t take long.

“By Saturday afternoon — less than three days after shootings that are being investigated as a possible hate crime at an Olathe bar — donations of more than $1 million had poured into four GoFundMe sites established for one man fatally shot and two victims wounded.

“The donations — more than 26,000 in all — came from all 50 states and at least 38 countries, according to GoFundMe….”

“Which country are you from?…”

I think Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s widow has been taking this very well, under the circumstances:

“… ‘Just last week we drove to Iowa to see our friends and their new baby,’ she said. ‘When we came back, he was working in the car while I was driving. That’s how much he loved working… He personally wanted to do so much for this country.’

“Mr Kuchibhotla worked at the US technology company Garmin, alongside his friend Mr Madasani, who has now been released from hospital. The pair were regulars at Austin’s Bar and Grill where they enjoyed sharing a drink after work.

“But on Wednesday night another customer, Adam Purinton, was shouting racist slurs and told the two men they did not belong in America, witnesses said….

“…In a separate interview, Mr Madasani told the BBC: ‘This guy just randomly comes up and starts pointing fingers… We knew something was wrong… He said: “Which country are you from? Are you here illegally?”‘…”
(Rajini Vaidyanathan, BBC News (February 25, 2017))

Srinivas Kuchibhotla came from Hyderabad, India. He’s been in America since 2005. Since then, he earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering, and worked as a software and systems engineer in Iowa and Kansas.

I don’t think that makes him a threat.

That’s no great virtue on my part. I like living in a world where everybody doesn’t look and act like me.

More to the point, loving God and my neighbors — all my neighbors — is important. So is treating other folks the way I want them to treat me. (Matthew 5:4344, 7:12, 22:3640; Mark 12:2831; Luke 6:31 10:2527, 2937; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1789, 1825)

I’ve said that before. A lot. (February 26, 2017; February 1, 2017; January 22, 2017; November 29, 2016)

I’m “from America,” and look “American” in the WASP sense.

Again, that’s no great virtue — and hardly surprising. I look a bit like my ancestors, who came from Norway, Ireland, and Scotland. All folks with northwestern European ancestry look a bit like me.

So how come I’m not raving about America being overrun by “foreigners?”

That’d be daft, since I’m among the 99% of Americans whose ancestors were immigrants no more than a few centuries ago.

Besides, I take my faith seriously.

Equal Dignity

I think human beings are people: all human beings. Each of us has equal dignity: no matter where we are, who we are, or how we act. (Catechism, 360, 17001706, 1929, 19321933, 1935, 2334)

Part of my job as a citizen is contributing “to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom.” (Catechism, 2239)

America doesn’t have the world’s highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. That’s Liechtenstein or Luxembourg, depending on whose numbers you use. But we’re in the top 10, and America and the European Union are in the top two spots for GDP.

That makes America one of the world’s wealthier countries. We’re obliged to welcome folks looking for a safer and more prosperous place to live and work. (Catechism, 2241)

Treating newcomers decently is hardly a new idea.

“You shall not oppress an alien; you well know how it feels to be an alien, since you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.”
(Exodus 23:9)

“‘When an alien resides with you in your land, do not molest him.
“You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the LORD, am your God.”
(Leviticus 19:3334)

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,”
(Matthew 25:35)

Mr. Kuchibhotla may not have been fleeing violence and poverty, but I don’t think that means he shouldn’t have been working here. “Access to employment and to professions must be open to all without unjust discrimination….” (Catechism, 2433)

Political leaders can make rules about immigration, within reason. Immigrants have responsibilities, too. (Catechism, 2241)

But I have seen no indication that Mr. Kuchibhotla was in America illegally, or that he was doing anything other than contribute to my nation’s economy — and enjoying an occasional beer with his friend.

He will be missed.

At least some folks in India are upset about this murder, and don’t want their kids coming to this country. I can’t say that I blame them.

The sad, and hopeful, side of this is that apparently quite a few folks in the Kansas City area are showing support and sympathy for their “foreign” neighbors.2

“…The Civilization of Love….”

Jubilee of Mercy, Rome, from the Vatican, used w/o permission.That’s a step toward building a “civilization of love.”

“…The answer to the fear which darkens human existence at the end of the twentieth century is the common effort to build the civilization of love, founded on the universal values of peace, solidarity, justice, and liberty….”
(“To the United Nations Organization,” Pope St. John Paul II (October 5, 1995))

And that’s yet another topic. (November 29, 2016; November 27, 2016)

More about acting as if God and love matter:

1 Response, background and news:

2 More news and views:

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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2 Responses to Olathe: Death and Hope

  1. irishbrigid says:

    Not sure about the verb forms here: “that he was doing anything other than contribute to my nation’s economy — and enjoy an occasional beer with his friend.”

    The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

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