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.