By James Ray Owens
“There is a kind of hysteria spreading that is not good because so many of our beloved children live there.” These are the words of a relative of the two Indian men shot dead at a bar in Olathe, Kansas two nights ago.
It saddens me – it should sadden us all – that people outside our country would say America is not a safe place for someone they love, but I know they are not wrong in their thinking. America, a country that once embraced immigrants, has become a burning caldron of hate and fear.
These two young men, software engineers, who were here legally, are dead in America. They were US-Educated. They were an asset to our country. Yet, a 51-year-old man who yelled racial slurs at them before screaming “get out of my country,” shot and killed them. Shot them down, for no other reason than the fact that their skin was a darker tone and their accent was not one of an American born.
This kind of xenophobia has been present for as long as America has existed, but it was not until the election of Donald Trump that these hate-filled souls came spewing out from America’s festering boil. And not one word have we heard from Mr. Trump or his xenophobic sidekick Steve Bannon about this hate crime. That’s ok, it’s what you would expect from them, and if they do express any sorrow over the tragedy, it will not be sincere.
One man inside the bar, a man by the name of Ian Grillot, tried to intervene and subdue the killer, but he was shot in the chest and hand. In an interview from his hospital bed later Grillot said he was not a hero, he was “just doing what anyone should do for another human being,” he said, “it’s not about where you’re from or your ethnicity. We are all humans.”
Yes, we are all humans, but some of us don’t act like it.
The father of one of the victims, Jaganomohan Reddy, said in the past few months he had begun to worry about his son, who was living in such a racially charged atmosphere like America.
“The situation seems to be pretty bad after Trump took over as the US President. I appeal to all the parents in India not to send their children to the United States in the present circumstances,” he said.
I recall being told, “don’t travel here”, or “don’t travel there, it’s not safe for Americans. Nowhere in the world will be safe for Americans because people must believe we are all xenophobic criminals set out to do them harm.
Some people are calling these acts of hate “Christian Terrorism,” but all Christians aren’t terrorists – are they? You don’t have to be guilty of pulling the trigger, you’re nearly as guilty standing by silently while this kind of revulsion goes on. If you don’t speak out against it. If you don’t act against it, then maybe you are a Christian terrorist in your heart.
Once America was a shining light in a darkened world, but that light is being distinguished with every unnecessary deportation, with every hate speech, and with every innocent victim shot down on America’s blood-trenched streets.
Somehow, I don’t feel I’ve said enough, how about you?