On the first night of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which coincided with the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend this year, Portland’s resident Jeremy Joseph Christian, took on two American-born and raised teenage girls (one of whom was wearing a hijab) on a commuter train. He screamed at them Islamophobic slurs, threatened them and ordered them to get out of the United States.
Three white men (Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, Ricky John Best, 53, and Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21) came to the defense of the terrified teen girls.
The allegedly pro-white and pro-American, white supremacist Jeremy Christian (35) attacked the men with a knife, aiming at their necks. The attack resulted in the death of Ricky John Best (53) and Taliesin Namkai-Meche (23). The third man, Micah David-Cole Fletcher (21) is recovering from the injury he sustained.
The killer who didn’t stop talking even during his arraignment said (among other things): “You call it terrorism. I call it patriotism.” Christian was charged with two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of intimidation, one count of felon in possession of a weapon and hate crime.
According to reports, Jeremy Christian is a high school dropout with a criminal record – which includes robbery, kidnapping and possession of a weapon – who had difficulty earning a living. Christian was active in Portland’s white supremacist movement and ranted about his Nazi convictions on Facebook. Some sources speculate that he might be mentally ill. But enough about a killer whose failures don’t deserve attention. An adult man attacking helpless teenage girls? That’s not patriotic, that’s contemptible!
The good Samaritans who came to the rescue of the young girls threatened by Jeremy Christian are the true heroes. They deserve recognition and tributes.
Taliesin Namkai-Meche (23) was a son and an older brother. He recently graduated from Reed College with a degree in economics. He died a hero.
Ricky Best (53) was a military veteran with 23 years of honorable service who retired in 2012. He worked as a technician for Portland’s Bureau of Development Services. Best left behind 4 teenage children. He died a hero.
Micah David-Cole Fletcher (21) is the Portland State University music student and a budding poet. He is recovering from the injury he suffered. He is the only hero who survived the horrific attack.
These three white men – two of whom sacrificed their lives – are true men, true heroes and true American patriots. They will be honored and remembered long after the name of the crazed killer is forgotten. (We can only imagine the love, regrets and gratitude of the saved girls and their loved ones!)
Anything L.A. doesn’t stand alone in recognition of the Portland Heroes. Oregon’s Governor, Kate Brown condemned the hate crime. Portland’s Mayor, Ted Wheeler commended sacrifices of the men who were willing to risk their lives to protect others. The Portland community came together to honor its good Samaritans. No wonder that once crowdfunding campaigns for the victims and the survivor were created, donations poured in. No amount of money can replace a loved one, but the shocking and unexpected deaths and injury, respectively bring immediate and long term costs which the caring donations will help cover. And the donations came from everywhere. America is strong and even against many odds, America didn’t lose its moral compass. The donations already topped one million dollars. (A small portion of the money will be used for mental health services for the two teenage girls who were the intended targets of the white supremacist killer.)
As horrific as the actions of Jeremy Christian have been, hate crimes are on the rise since President Trump was elected. According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, hate crimes against Muslims in America rose by 44 percent in 2016 alone.
Muslims are not the only victims of hate crime. White supremacists target also racial minorities. The latest target of a suspected hate crime – at the time of this writing – is basketball superstar LeBron James. During LeBron’s absence, the gate of his West Los Angeles home was spray-painted with a racial slur. The vandalism / suspected hate crime has been photographed and reported to the police. The slur has been painted over.
LeBron (32) who has legions of devoted fans, is a three-time National Basketball Association’s champion and has been named the league’s Most Valuable Player several times. Still (in the words of LeBron James):
“No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is tough.”
If fame and fortune can’t protect a celebrity from discrimination, hate and crime, what’s in store for regular people of religious or racial minorities during the time when the worst elements of our society feel entitled to exercise their misguided “patriotism”?
For the record, hate crime isn’t patriotic. It is akin to ethnic cleansing (genocide!) and / or religious prosecution. Had the white supremacist “patriots” bothered to familiarize themselves with the American Constitution they would have known that both are illegal in the United States of America.
Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich