Safe and Secure: Who Does and Doesn't Matter In Trump's America

Safe and Secure: Who Does and Doesn't Matter In Trump's America

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The funeral procession for Srinivas Kuchibhotla. Photo by Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images

Hundreds of tearful mourners followed the flower-laden body of engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, to its Hindu cremation site in his southern Indian hometown Tuesday almost a week after he arguably became the first casualty of hateful Trumpian rhetoric when he was killed by an angry white man in a Kansas bar who yelled "Get out of my country!" before opening fire. Alleged shooter Adam Purinton, 51, faces charges of murder and attempted murder for the attack, which also wounded Alok Madasani and a white bar patron. Both Kuchibhotla and Madasani came to the U.S. years before to study and work as aviation engineers, two of the estimated 300,000 Indian-Americans in technology jobs drawn by a once-iconic American Dream that has become a "United States of hate."

Many Indians used to "send our children abroad with hope," said a Kuchibhotla relative. Today, many ask, if a well-educated, legally-employed "kind soul" excited to start a family with his wife isn't safe, who is? At his funeral, Kuchibhotla's mother said she'd asked her elder son to return to India, "but he used to say he was safe and secure...If you kill people because of their color and race, what will happen to their parents?" Now, she wants her younger son, also in the U.S., to come back. Madasani’s father echoed her sense of the danger of today's America:  “I appeal to all the parents in India not to send their children to the US in the present circumstances.”

Meanwhile our ever-blathering loser of the popular vote, who never met an act of hatred he didn't like to ignore, has been virtually silent on Kuchibhotla's murder - not a word, nada - as he was on the murder of Muslims in Quebec and, pretty much, the deluge of anti-Semitic hate crimes in St. Louis, Philadelphia and elsewhere - though his selective outrage loves to focus on fictional acts of radical Islamic terror that fit his skewered narrative, along with SNL skits. Asked about the possible link between the violence and Trump's rhetoric, the ever-slimy Sean Spicer offered some bullshit prattle about how "any loss of life is tragic," adding that "to suggest that there’s any correlation I think is a bit absurd." Trump's deafening silence has been rightly blasted both here and abroad. "You are not making America great again," writes Supriya Kelkar. "You are destroying its moral fabric...You are deciding who matters and who doesn’t."

Thankfully, everyone matters to Ian Grillot, the all-American white guy who was also at the bar.  When the shooting started, Grillot hid under a table, jumped out when he thought Purinton's gun was empty after nine shots, and tried to restrain him. He was wrong, and got shot in the chest and hand for his trouble; doctors say if the bullet in his chest had been a centimeter to the side, he would have died. While he remains in the hospital - with a joyful visit from Madasani - the community has rallied behind him, raising funds for both his and Madasani's recovery, praising him for representing "the America I know and love," and hailing him as a hero. Nope, says Grillot. Also duh. Knowing it's not okay to shoot innocent brown people isn't heroic, he insists; it's just human: "I was just doing what anyone should have done for another human being...I did what was naturally right to do.” Listen up, oh clueless, heartless, soulless Herr Trump.

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Non-hero, outdoorsman and normal human Ian Grillot. Facebook photo

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