A few thoughts about the MAX stabbings


"Two people were killed in a stabbing on a MAX train Friday when they tried to intervene as a man yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim, including one wearing a hijab, police said." Man shouting 'anti-Muslim slurs' fatally stabs two men in Portland

This terrible incident took place a short walk from my home. I could have been on that train. Three men did the right thing. Two are dead, one hospitalized with serious injuries. What might I have done? What might have happened?

Anti-Muslim incidents have become more common during the Trump era. The president's rhetoric about Muslims and immigrants contributes to an environment when hatemongers, bullies, and thugs feel empowered. It is not inconsequential.

A belated response from the White House came by way of a solitary tweet from the official @POTUS account, not the @realdonaldtrump account Trump uses for personal tweets. Is it fair to imagine the tweet storm that would have erupted if the murderer had been Muslim or an immigrant?

The murderer is reported to be a "known white supremacist." It is tempting to call on the president to denounce this act of radical white terrorism. Tempting but no more helpful than the nonsense about radical Islamic terrorism. The rhetoric should be tamped down, not ratcheted up. Except that we also need to call this kind of thing out for what it is: despicable, unacceptable, beyond the pale.

I do not know what to say. Words are not sufficient, yet some things should not be allowed to pass without comment. There is outrage and despair. There is the heroic example of the men who stood up for two young women and of others who pursued the killer when he fled. There are public expressions of gratitude from one of the girls and from a Portland imam.This is where I at the moment.

Related Reading

Gillian Flaccus, Muslims Thankful For Support After Rant, Deadly Attack, Associated Press 5/28/2017

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David Matthews

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