Portland stab­bing sus­pect built life around hate speech.

Views hard­ened af­ter sev­eral stints in prison

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY GIL­LIAN FLACCUS

PORTLAND, ORE. | The sus­pect charged with fa­tally stab­bing two Portland men who tried to stop his anti-Mus­lim tirade against two teenage girls built a life around hate speech and his right to use it.

Jeremy Joseph Chris­tian, who has spent much of his adult­hood be­hind bars, lit­tered so­cial me­dia with er­ratic and men­ac­ing posts about his ha­tred of just about ev­ery­thing and ev­ery­one. He made death threats against Hil­lary Clin­ton and Pres­i­dent Trump and ranted when Face­book deleted an an­tiSemitic up­date.

“There is no feel­ing like be­ing muz­zled. Cut out your tongue,” he wrote in one post.

Af­ter years of spew­ing anger, pros­e­cu­tors say, Mr. Chris­tian acted on his fury last week aboard a light-rail train. He’s ac­cused of scream­ing anti-Mus­lim in­sults at the girls, ages 16 and 17, and then slit­ting the throats of three men who came to their de­fense. Two of the men died, and a third was se­ri­ously wounded.

Mr. Chris­tian con­tin­ued scream­ing about free speech in the back of a pa­trol car, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments. “Get stabbed in your neck if you hate free speech,” he is quoted as say­ing. “I can die in prison a happy man.”

The 35-year-old has not yet en­tered a plea, and nei­ther his court-ap­pointed de­fense at­tor­ney nor rel­a­tives or ac­quain­tances re­turned mes­sages from The As­so­ci­ated Press. In a state­ment, his fam­ily apol­o­gized and ex­pressed hor­ror at the May 26 killings.

A re­view of court doc­u­ments and so­cial me­dia post­ings paint a pic­ture of a young man who hard­ened as he spent years in prison. The vi­o­lence and anger he mar­shaled against prison guards mor­phed into a dis­ci­plined rage at the world upon his re­lease as he strug­gled to find a job and a pur­pose.

Af­ter years of dis­ci­plinary in­frac­tions and self­im­posed hunger strikes, Mr. Chris­tian sud­denly found him­self sell­ing comic books on the street, where he was once mis­taken for a home­less per­son. He grew in­creas­ingly an­gry that peo­ple he met didn’t want to talk about his views.

“In my Portland you can have a se­ri­ous con­ver­sa­tion about Pol­i­tics Spir­i­tu­al­ity or Phi­los­o­phy with­out be­ing in­ter­rupted and in­formed you aren’t be­ing PC,” he wrote shortly af­ter be­ing re­leased from his most re­cent stint in fed­eral prison. “Where I come from PC peo­ple are in Pro­tec­tive Cus­tody where they be­long so they don’t get killed.”

Mr. Chris­tian grew up with sev­eral older broth­ers in a mod­est home in north Portland, ob­tained his GED and at­tended some com­mu­nity col­lege. He was a pro­lific writer both in and out of prison, and he penned a poem at age 18 ti­tled “Prayers for Death.”

His first en­counter with the le­gal sys­tem came two years later when he was ar­rested on felony charges for rob­bing a corner mar­ket.

At the time, he was con­fused and scared and seemed like a softer per­son, his for­mer de­fense at­tor­ney, Matt Ka­plan, said in a phone in­ter­view. He thought his client might be sui­ci­dal.

“This is re­ally sad be­cause he didn’t have any of this Nazi, alt-right men­tal­ity or any­thing,” Mr. Ka­plan said, de­scrib­ing Mr. Chris­tian as “a good kid from a good neigh­bor­hood. His par­ents were nice, and I had so much hope that he would not turn out this way.”


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