Racist/terrorism has no place in a civilized society and should not fall under the protection of free speech.
Freedom of speech was not designed to protect those that would use it to start wars and advocate harming and killing innocent citizens.
Saturday 27 May 2017 17.03 EDT Last modified on Saturday 27 May 2017 22.55 EDT
Police in Portland, Oregon, have charged a white supremacist with a double murder and hate crimes, after he allegedly cut the throats of two passengers and stabbed another on a commuter train late on Friday afternoon.
According to police, while riding the MAX train in suburban north-east Portland, Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, began “yelling various remarks that would best be characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions.”
When fellow passengers attempted to intervene, Christian stabbed three of them. One man, 53-year-old Ricky John Best of Happy Valley, Oregon, died at the scene. Another, 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche of south-east Portland, was pronounced dead at a local hospital. A third was treated for injuries that police said were “not expected to be life-threatening”.
The targets of Christian’s reported abuse included two young women who left the scene. Police believe they may have been Muslim, and that one may have been wearing a hijab. Police have appealed for these women to come forward.
After the attack, Christian reportedly fled on foot from the Hollywood transit station to a nearby medical center, but was soon apprehended by police. An amateur video published by the Oregonian appeared to show Christian taunting police before his arrest.
Early on Saturday morning, Christian was booked into Multnomah County jail and charged with two counts each of aggravated murder and intimidation in the second degree, a hate crime offence. He was also charged with attempted murder and felon in possession of a restricted weapon. He was scheduled to be arraigned on Monday in Multnomah County court.
Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, of North Portland, Oregon is pictured in this undated handout photo. Photograph: Police handout/Reuters
Christian had been a prominent and vocal participant in recent “alt-right” rallies in Portland. At a “free speech rally” in Montavilla City Park on 29 April he was captured on video wrapped in an American flag, giving Nazi salutes. Earlier that day, police reportedly confiscated a baseball bat from him. Local reporters captured him yelling racial slurs and threatening to shoot “anyone who tries to disarm me”.
Cat Davila, who was among counter-protesters at the free speech rally, said Christian “showed up part way through the event and came striding straight toward the counter-demonstrator crowd very purposefully waving a baseball bat by his side and staring us down.”
As he drew closer, Davila said, police “blocked him and took his bat and from then on he just yelled a lot.”
Christian’s Facebook page revealed obsessive concern with various far right themes. In recent weeks he posted memes and other material attacking “anti-fascist” protesters who have clashed with various “alt-right” rallies around the country. In the lead-up to the April free speech rally, he posted: “Looking for a couple guys or gals down to unmask anyone wear[ing] a mask at the upcoming Free Speech March”, referring to the antifascist practice of disguising protesters’ identities.
Christian also posted openly antisemitic and neo-Nazi material. On 9 May, he claimed to have challenged Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz to a debate, in which “I will defend the Nazis”. The same day, he posted “Hail Vinland!!! Hail Victory!!!”, combining a familiar catchphrase that was used at a post-election rally by the activist Richard Spencer with the far-right concept of “Vinland”.
Portland-based anti-fascist researcher Shane Burley, author of the forthcoming book Fascism Today, told the Guardian that “Vinland” refers to the area of eastern Canada that Leif Erikson supposedly settled from Iceland. On the far right, he said, it is used as a way of asserting that white nationalists “are Vikings in a new land continuing the ancient battle for the preservation of their people.”
Christian wrote several recent posts opposing male circumcision, writing “I want a job in Norway cutting off the heads of people that circumcize babies” and posting articles about recent attempts in Norway to ban on the practice. Circumcision, Burley said, “is a common men’s rights activist talking point to signify a culture-wide persecution of men.”
Christian also posted material from media outlets depicting his participation in the April free speech rally, referring to his use of an American flag as a cape as his “Lizard King Regalia”.
Christian’s engagement with far right politics may be relatively new. A person who knew him in Portland’s heavy metal scene, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that when he first encountered him eight years ago he was apolitical.
“Jeremy has always been an extremely damaged person since I’ve known him,” the person said. “He practically grew up in prison and his childhood was horrific but I’ve always known him to have a kind heart.”
Christian had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the person said, and “has an extremely obsessive personality. He gets fixed on a thing or an idea and flies off the edge of the world with it.”
According to records, Christian has a history of violence. In 2002, wearing a ski mask, he handcuffed a North Portland shopkeeper to the counter while stealing cash and cigarettes. Following the robbery, Christian was shot in the face by a Portland police officer.
Searches indicated 2002 convictions for kidnapping in the second degree, carrying and using a dangerous weapon, and robbery in the first degree. Records also indicated that Christian had been charged, but not convicted, with offenses ranging from felon in possession of a firearm to supplying contraband.
The attack on Friday came just a week before another “free speech rally” in downtown Portland, planned for 4 June. The event is being organized by Patriot Prayer, the group that organized the rally in April. The rally will feature a number of national “alt-right” celebrities. Anti-fascists are organizing a counter-protest.