In the aftermath of Jeremy Christian stabbing three men - two of them fatally - on a Portland train after they bravely stood up and told him to stop hurling anti-Muslim hate speech at female passengers, the media and police were quick to scour Christian's history for clues to his motivation even though it should've been obvious by the nature of the assaults.
And a quick perusal of Christian's online activity showed the readily apparent factors that have become frighteningly common in America: Unchecked mental illness, social media-fueled bigotry, and the escalation of right wing rhetoric into physical violence.
In fact, according to the Willamette Week, police were aware of Christian and openly spoke of his mental problems. Not to mention, the guy stabbed three people on a train and threatened to decapitate others, so clearly he wasn't operating with a full deck. Which should've been a glaring red flag before latching on to one odd little item:
Christian claimed to be a Bernie Sanders supporters.
But as a writer for the Week who met Christian at a rally writes, this is a distraction.
Christian expressed support for "Sanders/Stein 2017″—which some will certainly seize upon as a distraction. And it is a distraction, because the main current of Christian's ravings, online and off, was race hatred. "I want a job in Norway cutting off the heads of people that Circumcize Babies," he wrote.
On a fake news story showing Hillary Clinton wearing a hijab: "I'll knock that Hijab off her faster than you can say Burka in Pig Latin if she steps in Rip City."
He called President Donald Trump the antichrist, but meant it as a compliment.
Needless to say, that distraction blew up.
Right wing media latched onto it, and even my fellow writers on The Daily Banter have seized on it when, again, Christian is obviously nuthouse fucking bananas and clearly operating on the right wing spectrum of xenophobic hate. In fact, this is what he told police while boasting about the stabbings, "That's what liberalism gets you." And upon walking into court on Monday, Christian began yelling, "Get out if you don't like free speech. You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism. You hear me? Die."
Again, nuthouse fucking bananas and right wing as hell.
On top of that, Christian's online activity is filled with anti-Semitic rants that put him about as far away from a Sanders supporter as it gets. Which is why I cannot fathom the rationale for laying this tragedy at Bernie's feet. And that's coming from someone who thinks Sanders is eating the Left alive while his "neoliberal"-shouting horde fails to see that The Most Popular Man in Politics® is fucking up elections.
Christ, as I'm writing this, I'm being swamped because a Bernie fanatic couldn't read a fucking byline and thinks anyone who criticizes Sanders, or merely writes for the same site as someone who did, is anti-Semitic. Which is stupid on its face. As much as I recognize that Hillary Clinton would've been a better president than Donald Trump by every objective measure, even I wouldn't categorize every piece of criticism of her that came her way as sexism. C'mon.
And yet, even after all of that, the entire point of this column is that I cannot in good conscience support any argument that blames or indirectly attaches Sanders to the stabbings in Portland. I want to be on the record saying that Sanders did absolutely nothing wrong here except for having the misfortune of a crazy man typing his name into a right-wing, online bubble of hate. End of story.
The Left should be better than this.