By Nathan Barton
Two news stories out of Oregon today. From Estacada comes a truly macabre story about a man carrying the severed head of his mother and stabbing a grocery store clerk.
On Friday the 26th, according to the Oregonian, on the Portland MAX public transit train a man accosted two Muslim girls, and then killed two and wounded a third with a knife when they came to the girls’ defense. The man with the knife is reported to be a racist hatemonger (according to the infamous SPLC) and the Oregonian stories quickly linked him to pro-Trump rallies and protests.
A year and a half ago (October 2015), a community college in Oregon was the scene of a mass killing in which ten (including the killer) died.
Keep in mind, please, this is Oregon, and these things happened in the Willamette Valley, the greenest of green liberal paradises here on earth, full of peace and good will, and is a land of pacifism as it has been from the beginning.
(Ignore that fiddling bit of trivia in their state constitution that says “The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power[.] Art. I, § 27 (enacted 1857, art. I, § 28). It was just for show, or just when there wuz wild injuns around.)
Indeed, Oregon is one of the very few Fifty States that has NO major military base: no large Army or Air Force installations, just an Army depot and a small naval installation (which may be on the north side of the Columbia River in Washington, where the old US Army Fort Vancouver is located). It has National Guard armories and Reserve centers, but I recall reading that the state was selected as the original location for the US Air Force Academy, but turned down the honor, back in the 1950s.
This may be a result of its Anglo settlement pattern, starting with the Lee and Whitman Christian missionary and settlement efforts in the 1830s, long before Oregon Country was annexed by the United States in 1848. In fact, the settlements in the Williamette Valley had their own, self-organized, government from 1841 to 1848, with no legal ties either to the British Crown or to the United States, although both nations claimed it.
Be that as it may, Oregon is not a violent society, or at least it did not used to be. But it is also a relatively unarmed society. All of these incidents COULD have ended with much less bloodshed. We’ll probably never know what caused the guy to cut his mom’s head off, but someone armed in the grocery store could have prevented further violence. If any of the Good Samaritans in the train had been armed, likely NONE of them would have been killed or injured by this hateful man. And in 2015, again – well, schools and colleges are soft targets.
Oregon’s legacy is killing people. We can (and should) forgive those who sin against us, if they repent of what they’ve done. But the time to forgive is not while they are still attacking and killing us or those around us. Stopping a killer in the beginning (or middle) of his spree of wounding and killing is not vengeance, not revenge, and not “vigilante justice.”
And one thing is clear: the people of Oregon are NOT being “protected” by their police and their society’s dislike of weapons: hoplophobia and hoploclasia. Served, maybe: someone gets to come in and pick up the pieces. But far, far better if the pieces they pick up belonged to the would-be killer and not his victims.