Thanks for the message of solidarity, Kevin.
It is heartening to know that Muslim interests have contributed, reportedly, about half a million dollars (on Crowdfunding) to the families of those who were slain, so I do think some good has come out of that.
As I’m sure you’d also be doing, as I related to you, how I have ridden that particular train countless numbers of times, and know both of the individual stops involved, both where the assailant got on, and where the incident culminated, I do get pangs of the question posed by several columnists: what would I have done had I been sitting where those gentlemen were sitting, and would I have done the right thing, or would I have only thought of my own narrow self interest in saving my life (which, given how gloom-and-doom any thinking person has to be, on the state of the world, and of this country, seems to be worth less and less)?
Sadly, there is plenty of history, at the state, regional and national level, to indicate that this shouldn’t have come as a surprise. We are America’s whitest city, apparently. There exists a certain reputation of Portland as a city where people think it’s enough to attend rallies and vigils, but can always be counted to sit on the sidelines when real terror breaks out. The NW was, has been, and is, to some extent, been viewed as a refuge for white separatists, racists, and the like. In this regard, I think we’re a bit different than Seattle, which tends to be grayer, more corporate, and more antiseptically PC. That has, and has had, its good points, but I do think that an incident of this sort, sadly, has a bit more likelihood of happening here than it does in Seattle.
Nicholas Kristof, a writer for the NYT, who also happens to come from McMinnville, OR, about an hour’s drive or so from Portland, wrote that, in contrast to a number of depressing national and world events in the wake of Trump’s election, this story actually encouraged him, because to him it proved that there are Good Samaritans among us. McMinnville is exactly the type of city and in exactly the type of region who would vote for Trump, in wine country, pretty heavily agricultural, and one of the exurbian recipients of “white flight” from Portland. Linfield College is there (a small Lutheran institution) and George Fox college is in Newberg, just a few miles closer, which itself has a very conservative reputation. Herbert Hoover supposedly had a house there, and the Quakers fund the college.
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