This weekend, the story that got most people talking was the unfortunate murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was shot in the city of Olathe, USA. His friend was also shot at, but luckily survived and is currently recovering.
While the American government hasn’t officially classified it as a hate crime (it obviously doesn’t want to) a majority of the online voices are calling this incident as the first example of how hate crimes will become commonplace under the Trump administration.
Since news about the incident broke out, there have been several stories about how people are reacting strongly, with most of them putting the blame squarely on Donald Trump for encouraging intolerance for immigrants. But is everyone conveniently forgetting to look at some glaring evidence for what went wrong?
Some news outlets reported that the shooter yelled “Get out of my country” at the victims, while some others reported that he yelled “Go back to your country”. One report said that the shooter confessed to someone later that he had shot some people from the “Middle-East”. Another said that he specifically confessed about shooting “Muslims”. These could be minor variances in reporting, but they also serve as a good reminder that the more you spread a story, the more it keeps changing.
While I’m just as upset as everyone else about this incident, I think fingers are being pointed in the wrong direction.
Was the shooter a racist? Well, yes. That was established right away.
Was this a hate crime? Well…depends on how you define a hate crime.
If you go strictly by the dictionary definition, it is “a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice, typically one involving violence.” Since this man was racist and he incited violence, this could be called a hate crime. But what actually spurred him to walk out, get a gun and then come back again to shoot the two men?
Lots of people are racist, whether they like to admit it or not. That is why most people prefer sticking to their own groups and trying to avoid contact with strangers. In an immigrant haven like the USA, I’m betting the population of silent racists is huge. But not all of them go around shooting people that they don’t like. So what happened in Olathe?
One word: alcohol.
The scene of the crime was a bar. The shooter was heavily drunk and we don’t know for sure what sort of a day he had when he spotted the two Indians. A bad day and a bad drinking problem combined with a racist mind – that’s a terrible combination. Alcohol messes with your mind – there’s no way around it. And that was the catalyst which spurred the shooter to get his gun and carry out the horrible act.
For some reason, people never want to discuss the dangers of alcohol. It’s as if they don’t even want to entertain the thought of a world without alcohol. Any newspaper coverage about the subject gets pushed into a weekend supplementary section that people read and forget and TV rarely has time to talk about the ill effects of alcohol.
If you take the time to look back at the history of crimes taking place all over the world, the common theme among all of them would be that the criminal was drunk. Why are the streets of India unsafe for women at night? Because that’s when drunkards come out. Why do so many gun-owners shoot innocent people in the USA? Those shootings usually happen at night around a bar.
Banning guns is a good idea and there’s a lot of support for it. Why then, does no one talk about banning alcohol? Medicine has some use for alcohol, but when used for recreational consumption, it does more harm than good.
I know that this is a useless ramble – it will probably take decades before the billions of people who’ve grown up loving alcohol would even consider giving it up entirely. But I just wanted to rant here anyway. Guns don’t kill people. Drunk shooters do.