Last Friday’s murderous attack on a Portland MAX Green line train by a knife-wielding man that now has Portland’s mayor asking federal officials to cancel a “Trump Free Speech Rally” raises two important questions.
Would Mayor Ted Wheeler be as cautious about a rally if it were being held by some group on the political left?
Why is the suspect in this case, identified as Jeremy Joseph Christian, still alive? Were there no legally-armed citizens on that train? Why not?
According to published reports, President Donald Trump tweeted that, “The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them.”
So, in the wake of this “knife violence” that left Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, and Ricky John Best, 53, dead, Mayor Wheeler seems to think that anybody who attends a “Trump Free Speech Rally” might engage in “hate speech.” This could, presumably, contribute to more lethal violence.
The double slaying unfolded when the suspect allegedly began verbally harassing two women on the train, saying things about Muslims. One of the young women is a Muslim and was wearing a hijab, but the other is not.
Things got out of control fast. The suspect allegedly pulled a knife and fatally wounded both men. He has been accused of being a felon in possession of a weapon, the Seattle Times reported.
Published reports say the suspect has posted on social media about Nazis and “political violence.”
But it might be a stretch of plausibility for Wheeler or anyone else to intimate that anyone else attending a pro-Trump rally shares the same apparent affinity toward violence.
In 1993, a deranged named Colin Ferguson pulled a gun on a Long Island, NY commuter train and opened fire, killing six people and wounding 19 others. One of his victims was the husband of Carolyn McCarthy, who turned her loss into anti-gun activism and rode that into the U.S. Congress where she spent several terms. She retired in 2015.
Due to New York gun laws, nobody was able to fight back against Ferguson. He is now serving several life sentences.
At a press event, Wheeler said the City of Portland has not issued a permit to the “alt-right” events scheduled June 4 or 10. However, the federal government controls events at Schrunk Plaza, where the rally is scheduled.
“I am calling on the federal government to immediately revoke any permit or permits that they’ve issued for the June 4 event and I’m asking them not to issue a permit for the June 10 event,” Wheeler stated. “Our city is in mourning, our community’s anger is very real and the timing and subject of these events can only exacerbate what is already a difficult situation.”
He appealed to the event organizers to cancel the events.
“I urge them to ask their supporters to stay away from Portland at this difficult time,” he said.
When protesters were coming to Portland for the May Day rally, did Wheeler ask them to stay away? Not until a riot erupted did police cancel the permit, but by then the damage was well in progress.
For Wheeler to ask the federal government to essentially prevent a free speech rally seems tantamount to some to be asking that the Trump administration suspend the First Amendment. Is it only the political left, the anarchists, who have a right to descend on Portland?
In his statement, Wheeler observed, “There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community.”
Except, perhaps, when it is social bigotry exercised against a certain demographic, using a double-homicide committed by an apparent nut case as an excuse to silence opinions with which you might disagree.