It’s not every day that your hometown makes national news and when it does, it’s rarely good news.

Residents in the Walnut Creek subdivision in south Olathe saw Adam W. Purinton out mowing his lawn Wednesday afternoon.

A neighbor who’d been gone for about a week just got home and waved at the Navy veteran, figuring they’d probably catch up soon.

But hours later, Purinton was on the run from Olathe authorities after they say he shot up the nearby Austins Bar & Grill, killing one and injuring two.

I grew up in Olathe, Kansas (pronounced “Oh-lay-THUH CAN-ziss”, if you were curious).  Once a small, nearby city to and eventually a suburb of Kansas City.  It was and still is a great community and has grown significantly since I lived there.  Very safe, full of regular people of all stripes, and not generally known as a haven for crazed white supremacists, but there we are.

The article describes the usual attitude expressed by the usual neighbors and acquaintances whenever the otherwise usual reclusive and drunken alcoholic suddenly snaps and kills people.

This clearly looks, to my trained eye, as an example of a troubled individual who was:

  • Experiencing terrible stress from the death of a family member (his father) in the last year
  • Who had some serious alcohol dependency issues
  • was keeping loaded weapons lying around the house in what I consider to be odd places.  Namely a pistol hanging on a coat hook by the door.  In Olathe?
  • He had reportedly worked in the IT field until recently, according to the article.  I’m totally speculating but willing to bet it’s possible that he was out of work and may have been looking for someone to blame, and in conclusion…
  • He was just effectively a big disheveled mess of a ticking time bomb when he somehow ended up in a confrontation with two Indian engineers at a cheesy suburban sports bar that escalated beyond all reason.

Naturally, this means the whole thing was Trump’s fault.

Look, people in India, the family, and anyone else who are looking for answers have every right to question the current anti-immigration, near-xenophobic, climate in the US.  It’s perfectly real and it’s been building for a long time.  Hell, I just complained about corporate America’s abuse of the H1-B program on a post last week and it’s possible that one of the men who was shot was here on such a visa.   Hopefully, you drunk dead-enders out there understand that I want to see the H1-B program reformed, not have two regular guys get blasted over their southwestern eggrolls because they speak differently.  I’m not a hateful character.

Millions of Americans have perfectly valid viewpoints about the effect of our current immigration policies and how they favor shortsighted business and political interests over workers to such a degree that we simply no longer have any expectation of a fair chance thanks to the way both have gamed the rules.

Then along comes Trump.  He says he gets it and is going to change it.  Was that a groundswell of hatred that Trump has unleashed?  No.  Has Trump at times been irresponsible in carrying this issue forward, such as implying that Mexico was sending us more rapists than hotel maids?  Absolutely.  Has he suggested that we should kill immigrants?  Um, no.

Trump is offering a way to fix a system that isn’t serving us well and that both parties in government and powerful corporations are determined to maintain for their own good.  I’d be more worried about the likelihood and scope of violence in this country if these angry losers like Purinton remain ignored.

Further, I can say local media has also mentioned that Purinton had repeatedly sought mental health and alcohol treatment from Veteran’s Affairs and, like so many others, no help came for him.  Trump has been extremely outspoken on his desire to fix that agency’s many failures that it’s sort of amazing that this is one of those few situations in which the results of his preferred policy stance might actually have been the only thing that could have prevented something bad from happening had they been carried out already.

Purinton deserves no sympathy; but neither do Trump, his supporters, or Americans deserve the blame.  I would personally consider it a horrible mistake if anyone overseas got the impression that Kansas is unsafe to visit or for their loved ones to work in on account of what was a set of slow-building stressors that had built up and exploded in one failed and bitter man’s heart in a moment of inebriation and anger.

You want to know what we’re like?  We celebrate Ian Grillot, the bystander who charged Purinton when he thought he was out of bullets and risked it all to save innocent men he didn’t know.  He’s my people.

I assure you all that boredom remains the greatest hazard in my beloved hometown and state.

39 comments

  1. Great to see you here, Kevin! Hopefully, nothing we’ve posted so far has filled you with guilt by association.

  2. Actually, the frightening thing is that nothing that you’ve posted so far has triggered my disagreement sensor enough to fire off a comment. That says something either about the current position where I sit on the political spectrum or about my general time/energy for political engagement (or both). That said, I’ve been lurking for a week (since I got home from Florida — you probably didn’t know I was in Florida because you didn’t see all of my pictures on Facebook — HA!) and realized that I wanted to make my presence/support known, even though I had absolutely nothing substantive to say. 🙂

  3. Man, that’s a toughie. I am, and always have been, the king of afterthoughts. The “edit post” button was invented for me, I’m convinced of it. I can recall triple and quadruple posts. 🙂

  4. See, I’m not even abrasive enough anymore. I’ve gone soft as middle age has descended upon me. Well, not physically anyway.

    I was all freaking out last week, interrogating everyone with “Where’s Kevin? Did anyone tell Kevin we launched? I want him here! And where is my stapler?”

    I couldn’t be happier that you’ve checked in and it’s awesome that we’re getting the chance to do this again.

  5. I can confirm that Kevin’s checked in and is now telling his friends to come here and argue with you. Your take on this conveniently ignores reports that the shooter later told people that he shot Middle Eastern men. That still leaves the issue of his mental health on the table, but this was not about losing his IT job to an Indian on an h1b. And the blame for inflaming anti-Muslim/Arab sentiment lies with Trump and the line-blurring between Muslims and terrorists which was necessary to win the election and support the travel ban. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/man-wounded-kansas-bar-shooting-speaks-vigil-45772021

  6. All right! Finally got someone annoyed enough to comment at me. So, let’s do this.

    I’m not making the case at all that the shooter isn’t a hateful crank with a chip on his shoulder who seems to have it in for brown people who speak differently. In fact, I said so above, more or less. I didn’t mention that he thought the victims were Middle Eastern because I didn’t think it was relevant to the already-obvious note that he was a bitter, probably racist drunk. You might have noticed that I also didn’t mention that the Good Samaritan who got shot was a white man. I didn’t ignore it. It just didn’t matter.

    Also, I made the point that Trump has been “irresponsible” in his rhetoric, though he’s stopped waaaay short of calling for violence against immigrants. You can certainly acknowledge that I made those statements and not weaken your argument at all, right? Cool.

    Oh, yeah, and I also made it pretty clear that I was “totally speculating” about him losing his job due to the H1-B visa thing. Honestly, I haven’t seen any reports that describe what was said by anyone that led up to the confrontation or the shooting. Which is why I was speculating.

    All that said, I don’t think I was ignoring anything or even inaccurate about anything. Where we seem to have a disagreement is our respective biases. I’m not a Trump lover, but I did vote for him….reluctantly. When he gets blamed for something I don’t think is his fault, I’m going to say so. If you think I’m giving him a pass on anything, I’ll certainly read your arguments and respond as well as i can.

    Now on to your own biases. You appear to believe that Trump’s rhetoric and policies caused this. How do you figure that’s true when all of the shooters and acquaintances are saying that he never discussed politics and didn’t seem to be interested in them? I’m really curious to know how you can say with such certainty that Trump caused this when nothing–that I’ve read or heard–indicates that the shooter was motivated at all by politics or even likes Trump.

  7. Meanwhile, places like Chicago have seen record murder rates while Trump gets accused of racism by people who don’t want to do anything about it.

    Unfortunately these types of individuals are too often good people (or were) who just didn’t get the help they needed.

  8. Leaving the rest of it aside (I acknowledge that you made the statements that you made,) I base my belief that Trump and Trump-adjacent rhetoric caused this on the following – the shooter (a registered Republican, so not exactly apolitical) asked the victims if they were in the country legally, screamed ‘get out of my country’ before shooting and then told people that he shot Iranian men. You obviously know the level of geopolitical awareness in Olathe better than I do, but why does a hateful crank with a chip on his shoulder feel strongly enough about Iranians and/or illegals to kill them? Where is he getting his information? If not politics, what is his motivation? Is he mad about the rugs? Does he hate them for inventing polo?
    Now, I live in Dearborn and I can see a local autoworker getting into it with a Persian guy in the course of day-to-day interaction and developing a bias (still bad.) But the thing is, he’d be able to tell a Persian apart from an Indian. The fact that this guy can’t, tells me that he does not interact with either in his daily life, but still hates Iranians enough to want to kill one.
    I postulate that he is watching Fox news or reading Breitbart or listening to Alex Jones, or whatever the approved source of non-fake news is today. What is your explanation for why he would target them?
    Two other points – 1. the only person I’ve seen talk about the shooter’s political leanings or lack thereof is his neighbor. He sounds like every other surprised neighbor of a killer who says he ‘was not like that.’ 2. Why does our president, who is so quick to address any wrong perpetuated by SNL or Nordstroms, keep quiet about incidents like this? Where is the condemnation or at least the condolences? You would think that he would address the killing of a foreign national on US soil in order to assuage any fears from tourists and fellow businessmen, to avoid economic fall out, if not for a diplomatic or humanitarian reasons.

  9. People in Chicago aren’t killing each other while hurling racial epithets, so lets not conflate the two issues. I will even grant you that Trump himself is probably not any more racist than any other 70 year old white dude. But it suits his goals to stir up the bigotry in this country and, in doing so, he’s given purpose to previously random violence.
    I further agree with you that we need to do more about mental health in this country, however the GOP just passed a bill to allow people with mental health issues access to guns and one of the negative effects of repealing the ACA without a replacement will be the loss of benefits for many people just like this guy. So lets not pretend that mental health issues are on the top of the current administration’s agenda.

  10. Neither of us can say with any certainty why he shot them. What I’m saying is that there’s nothing to tie his act to Trump except for the fact that Trump tried to ban visa holders from Iran and six other countries.

    Why might he have beef with Iran? Well…

    Perhaps he’s still mad about the 1979 Hostage Crisis.

    It could be that he’s cross over the Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon that was carried out by Iranian proxy Hezbollah.

    Some might suggest that remembering Iranian support for anti-coalition Shi’ite forces during the Iraq War grinds his gears.

    Others might say that he is heartsick over Iran’s pursuit of enriched uranium.

    It’s also very possible that he has sand up his butthole because he’s a Navy veteran and he remembers the humiliation of the Navy and its sailors when those two boats were seized by Iran off Farsi Island.

    All of these incidents have one thing in common. They occurred before Trump was even running for office and talking about Muslim bans. Who got him riled up? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the media’s fault for giving these incidents so much news coverage over the years–and I don’t just mean Fox or the alt-media. At this stage of the investigation, there’s as much evidence of that as there is it being Trump’s fault: none, really.

    My explanation is that I think he lost control due to the various stress factors in his life and that the racist statements were more indicative of how angry he was at that moment than an indication that he had dinner, watched some InfoWars podcasts, and then decided to go to the sports bar to kill a couple of Iranians.

    Maybe I’m wrong. I can’t wait to see the testimony that gives us a clue of how this started, who said what, and what the shooter has told police. But I worry that there is FAR too much tendency by people to read into these emotionally-charged, politicized murders that cross racial lines things that aren’t there. It’s not good to do that.

    To your excellent second point. I do not believe that Trump is responsible for the current wave of American xenophobia (it’s quite real), but I do believe he got himself into office by riding that wave. You are completely correct that Trump needs to turn his tough guy bluster against people who do this, people who might think it’s okay to do this, and people who could possibly excuse this with all the fervor he does to people who make fun of his hands.

    I, for one, am happy to join you in demanding that Trump start acting like a president who is responsible for the safety of EVERYONE in the US, tone down his rhetoric, and denounce all such acts of violence without anyone having to seemingly put him in a headlock.

  11. Actually, in Chicago there are killings (if not killings, live Facebook feeds of torture?) based purely on racial hatred and presumed political ownership. What, if not racially motivated (and politically motivated) hatred do you call the four black teens that kidnapped, tortured, humiliated and mutilated a special needs white teen while hurling racial/political epithets?

  12. You ask where the condemnation is. I guess it’s different having a President who doesn’t spin up the concern trolling WE MUST DO SOMETHING outrage machine so he can leverage tragedy for his gun grabbing agenda, isn’t it?

  13. Everything in the short media blurbs about this indicates that this was just a stupid angry white guy triggered by Trump rhetoric, and decided for no good reason go after so damm Arabs…

    That is what people will remember, none of the details that might come out later will even reach that vast majority.

    I still say the guy deserves a good hanging, but the media frenzy over this is just sadly another attempt to bash trump.
    We will see more of this, going both ways…

    and Kevin, well to the blog!…

  14. I love the shit out of this:

    Still walking on crutches, Madasani drew applause when he called the shooting “an isolated incident that doesn’t reflect the true spirit of Kansas, the Midwest and the United States.”

    Exactly what I hoped people would understand. What a great man to speak so kindly after something so wrong had been done to him and his friend.

  15. Unless, of course, he is spinning up concern over illegal immigrant crime or the murder rate in the inner cities so that eh can leverage tragedy for his militarizing law enforcement/for profit prison agenda.
    So yeah, I ask again, where is the condemnation? If nothing else, shouldn’t this “brilliant businessman” want to soften the blow to the hospitality industry? There are over a billion Indians out there and more and more of them have the disposable income to travel. Do you want them to choose to spend it in Canada?

  16. So, to sum up, the murder rate in Chicago is all black people killing special needs white men, Trump is innocent of everything and anything and the Olathe shooter just wanted to live in peace until the diversity industry stirred up his bigotry and made him go hunting for brown people. Gotcha.

  17. I think we are both speculating about what his motivation was, as you correctly pointed out, shaded by our own biases. Lets put a pin in it until more facts surface.
    However, I wonder if you had the same nuanced approach to the Orlando shooter? It might very well be that you did, this is a sincere question.
    I applaud your stance on the second point. I hope more people from your side of the isle join in this demand, because, between the mosque burning, cemetery desecration and school bomb threats, an ugly pattern is starting to emerge.

  18. I’m not saying that at all, actually. What I am saying is a completely separate but related idea. The isolated Chicago incident where four black teens commuted that hate crime is more a comparison of the hypocrisy in how hate crimes can be applied. It is also a rebuttal of your notion that chicago’s crime can’t be based on racially motivated crimes. It can.

    The reason I bring that incident up has nothing to do with trump, or support of him. I voted for Hillary. It just strikes me as odd that initially even the police chief of Chicago and many black pundits urged the public to not consider that action a hate crime when it was black letter hate crime and the evidence was video taped.

    Indeed, it was actually a hate crime motivated directly and indirectly by the things trump said, and the video proves it.

    Trump is an asshole, but it’s a sad state when people can’t discern what his message is and completely indecent actions of people who commit crimes.

  19. That’s a fair question about the Orlando shooter, though I think I know where you’re going with it.

    I can’t say I had a very nuanced approach, mostly because the circumstances of the two crimes were different, both from what we were told about motivation and from the commission of the crimes.

    We knew on the same day of the Orlando attack that the shooter had pledged allegiance to ISIS during the attack and had previously been investigated by the FBI for suspected ties to terrorism. When someone says he’s killing people specifically because it’s what the Caliph wants him to do, yeah, I take him at his word. If the Olathe shooter had pledged allegiance to Trump while attacking his victims, I’d call that equally clear cut.

    In terms of the commission of the crime, both were premeditated murder, but it doesn’t appear to me that the Olathe shooter made the decision to kill anyone until he went back to his car to get a gun. It’s why I say I don’t think he was specifically out looking to commit a hate crime and I believe it’s a situation that escalated from a smaller confrontation that he probably started without intending for it to become a murder. Speculation, though….

    The Orlando shooter showed up at the club with weapons and was clearly there for the purpose of killing people. Again, I had the reports of the 911 calls to tell me in whose name he was doing it for. There was no need to guess.

    There’s another difference here too. If Mahteen had merely said, “I killed a bunch of homos” then it would be less clear what his motivations were, as it is with Purinton. My response would be, “Why are you killing gay people? They turn you on too much? What?”

    Mahteen saying specifically that it was to support ISIS kind of puts me in a box.

    Now, just so you know where I stand. I don’t describe myself as anti-Muslim. I do not support a Muslim ban on immigration and I do believe we should accept as many refugees from Muslim countries as we can provided that we have reasonably effective screening measures.

    I won’t give Purdinton a pass because he’s a white guy from my hometown any more than I would prejudge Mahteen just because he’s a Muslim. In every instance, I try to put preconceived notions aside and look at the facts. Sometimes I do a bad job, sometimes not.

    I hope this clarifies the question.

  20. Agreed. I’m going to try and check the site a few times a week, at a minimum and, hopefully, get more involved with the discussion. It’s been awhile since I’ve been active in regular political debate. But once TDS sets in, I may have a thing or two to say about the next Hitler….

  21. Dammit! I had a remark at the end that was removed (probably because it looked like an HTML tag)…

    Let’s try this again, a different way:

    “– KEVIN ACTIVATES LEVEL 5 GODWIN IMMUNITY –“

  22. I know how busy you are and am grateful for all the time you can give us. All I’ve been asking of anyone is that if you don’t have time to discuss, please take a few seconds to share a post on social media (as you’ve done).

    This is fun, but we’d just be playing with ourselves if nobody was reading. Not that I have any objections to playing with myself.

  23. You almost got to where I was going with this. The same way the Olathe shooter screamed out ‘Get out of my country’ but you want to analyse his mental health other external factors rather than just going with his actual words, the Orlando shooter invoked ISIS, but I think we need to look at his psychology.
    There have been numerous reports that the Orlando shooter frequented the club for years before the shooting, drank alcohol, etc. His wife did not wear hijab, they took the kid to DisneyWorld. I don’t buy him as an Islamic fundamentalist. I think he was a closeted gay man brought up in a very strict repressive culture where such a thing was not a possibility and that the shooting was the expression of his self-hate. Any pledges of allegiance to ISIS I see as a way to rationalize what’s happening to himself. Interestingly, the Nice attacker fits the same pattern, he was an actual hustler before driving a truck into people.
    I still blame the incidents on organised religion, just not on ‘radicalization.’

  24. Not from Trump personally, which is telling.
    Instead he is busy telling people that he considers the bomb threats to Jewish schools and the cemetery desecration to be false flag attacks.

  25. Hey, you know who doesn’t want to do anything about Chicago? Trump
    “We’ve made requests to the White House and the Justice Department for them to support our work – from increasing federal gun prosecution to more FBI, DEA and ATF agents to more funding for mentoring, job training and more. We are still waiting for the administration’s response to our request.” – Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson

    http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/After-Citys-Deadliest-Day-of-2017-Trump-Tweets-Chicago-Needs-Help-414668903.html

  26. Oh, I won’t argue that Mateen also had psychological issues. In fact, all extremist and hate-crime offenders have a wealth of them. They’re a fascinating study.

    Was he secretly gay? The FBI investigated that heavily and didn’t find any evidence to support it despite going through his computer and phone pretty extensively. What they did find is that he was probably cheating on his wife with other women.

    Even if he was secretly having gay sex, that wouldn’t be inconsistent with ISIS affiliation, surprisingly. There have been stories emerging from Iraq from ISIS deserters about the amount of down-low those guys engage in with each other. Shouldn’t really be surprising that a group of wannabe macho guys who treat women like dogs have some sexual identity issues though, right?

    It’s not really material whether or not he lived as a fundamentalist. The 9/11 hijackers partied it up in a strip club the night before the attacks, for example. I’d go so far as to argue that fundamentalist Muslims who practice their religion traditionally are less prone to radicalization than someone like Mateen who was trying to find some kind of identity and may have felt the need to “prove something to the world” by going as extreme as he could.

    Maybe he felt inadequate that he wasn’t a good enough Muslim and thought that waging a jihad was easier than not being a wife-beating, philandering drunk loser?

    You can blame religion if you like. I don’t. What I’ve observed is that people and movements who want to create paradise on Earth, and think it can succeed if only human nature can be contained, typically end up killing lots of people whether they’re secular or religious. They figure out that they can’t make people perfect, then they realize that they aren’t perfect either, and finally they have to kill the more imperfect people who are stopping all the glorious change they want to bring to the world. Both secular and religious movements are capable of this.

    Islam isn’t the problem. The problem is that that there are a few million Muslims running around who think that the other billion Muslims aren’t doing enough to be good Muslims and that if they would, the whole world would be in perfect order. That is, everything will be perfect once all of the Shi’ites, gays, apostates, alcohol users, smokers, and the rest are dead and no longer a problem.

  27. Well, I’m watching his joint session on Youtube now. He condemned the Olathe shooting and the cemetery desecrations almost right at the beginning. That’s as good as it’s going to get.

  28. I hope to see you around, mashav. Any friend of Kevin’s is held in the highest regard by me. Further, I like the fact we can disagree but have a discussion. It’s the whole reason I do this. Nothing is going to improve in this country until good people can find common, acceptable solutions again. You don’t get that started when nobody feels like they can talk to each other without it turning into a shit-show.

    Also, I PROMISE my rundown of Trump’s speech in the morning will annoy you.

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