Widow of Kansas Shooting Victim Shares His Story In Her Heartbreakingly Honest Facebook Post
When I heard about the Kansas shooting that took place last week, on the other side of the world, it was just another piece of news to me. According to the report, the shooter, Adam Purinton, walked into Austins Bar and Grill and opened fire at his victims mistaking them for being Middle Eastern, all the while yelling “get out of my country.”
Accustomed to hearing about incidents of racial violence, the death of a fellow Indian, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and the two others injured did not cause me grief. They were just names to me, names added to an already long list of faceless victims, people I did not know, and so did not care about.
Until I read the message Srinivas’s wife, Sunayana Dumala wrote on her Facebook wall.
I cannot imagine the courage it must have taken to write those words she wrote, after her whole world came undone in a moment when some maniac thoughtlessly pulled that trigger on the 22nd of February, 2017.
In the post, dated February 28th, just 6 days after the shooting, Sunayana talks about how good a person her husband was. How they met. How he always encouraged her to push her limits and pursue her dreams.
She talks about his passion for his work. The little things he did to make their lives together, better.
She shares with us details of their married life – some funny, some moving, but every one of them real and relatable.
She talks about their aspirations. How they wanted to start a family, a dream that now, will never be realised.
She talks about how her husband would have turned 33 this month, in the prime of his life, before it was brutally taken away.
She mentions in painful detail the plans they made, how instead of going shopping this past weekend, she ended up bringing back his body to India.
She talks about the horror, the surrealness of opening her front door to find the policemen standing there, bringing her news that would break her heart and alter her life forever.
She writes about how much she loves Srinu, how much he meant to her, but of course, he will never read those words.
She talks about how she has so many unanswered questions, questions she’ll only know the answers to when she meets him on the other side.
She also shares her heartfelt gratitude to friends, family and even strangers, who helped her in this difficult time and continue to do so, even addressing Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan, who Srinivas was a big fan of. She asks them to lend their support to her cause.
She then finally asks the big question:
“On what basis we decide a person is good or bad, and of course, it’s not based on the colour of your skin. So what decides that? Many times, these issues are talked about for a few weeks and people tend to forget about them afterward, but the fight must go on towards eradicating hatred from the minds of people. So what is the government going to do to stop hate crime?
Lastly, to answer the question that is in every immigrant’s mind, DO WE BELONG HERE?
Is this the same country we dreamed of and is it still secure to raise our families and children here?”
Reading her words this morning made me feel differently about the whole incident. I feel like Srinivas was not just another name, but someone I knew. I feel angry at the injustice of it. I feel her pain. Even though I am safely ensconced in Mumbai, I realise now that my apathy is absolutely unacceptable.
And I feel the need to do something about it, which is why I’m sharing this with you.
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