We’re a nation divided on hate crimes

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We’re a nation divided on hate crimes

The shooting in Olathe last week hit too close to home.

Nearly one week has passed. At Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, a suburb of Kansas City, two Indian males were singled out and shot, presumably because they were believed to be unwanted foreigners.

Adam Purinton, a 51-year-old white male, is accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibholta, 32, and wounding Alok Madasani. Purinton had been asked out of the restaurant after making lewd comments; he later returned with a gun.

Purinton allegedly shouted, “Get out of my country,” before firing the gun.

Ian Grillot, 24, thought he counted the rounds just right. He charged at Purinton trying to subdue him. Instead, Purinton fired his last two shots, hitting Grillot in the hand and the chest.

This was all too real. I lived within a couple of miles of this restaurant for part of my life. I still know friends who work there. And Ian’s family were down-to-earth, everyday Americans who I got to know in the last couple of years.

It sucks that something like this has to happen for the reality of hate crimes in America to set in for some — including me.

Ian, instinctively, was trying to do the right thing.

Grillot, still in medical care, said he wanted President Donald Trump to denounce the act that’s being considered a hate crime by the FBI.

“It would be nice for some kind of closure,” Grillot said Tuesday.

The response from the White House was mostly silent, until White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders condemned the shooting as an “act of racially motivated hatred.”

“The president is keeping the family of the victim who were senselessly killed in his thoughts and we are praying for a full and speedy recovery of those who were wounded,” she said. “It looks like this was an act of racially motivated hatred.

“We want to reiterate that the president condemns these and any other racially or religiously motivated attacks in the strongest terms. They have no place in our country and we will continue to make that clear.”

In Trump’s joint address with Congress Tuesday night, he opened by denouncing the attack and recent anti-Semitism with vandalism to Jewish cemeteries.

“While we may be a nation divided on policy, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,” he said.

Six days passed before the White House responded.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called out Trump on the shooting.

“With threats & hate crimes on rise, we shouldn’t have to tell @POTUS to do his part,” Clinton tweeted. “He must step up & speak out.”

With an event like this hitting close to home, I understand the reality of hate crimes in America. And as a concerned citizen, I, nor Grillot, should have to wait for the White House to respond. Our country deserves better.