Friday, May 26th marked the first day of Ramadan. It also marked the day three caring individuals attempted to stop hate speech in its tracks on a MAX train one fateful afternoon. On that day, a pair of teenagers, one of whom was wearing a hijab, were targeted for racial hate speech by a fellow passenger. The man yelled racial slurs at the two young women when a few fellow passengers intervened. Three men were stabbed on that train and just one survived.
According to witnesses on the MAX line train heading east in Northeast Portland, the man was yelling what would be best characterized as hate speech toward various ethnicities and religions. Only some of the speech was directed at the female passengers. He was ranting about many different topics in a hateful manner when at least two men tried to quiet him down. At this point, these men were viciously attacked with a knife. Three men total were stabbed, and just one survived. One died at the scene, one in a nearby hospital, and survivor Micah Fletcher, 21, has recently recovered from injuries sustained.
Micah David-Cole Fletcher was en route to his job at a pizzeria after attending classes at PSU. He was stabbed on his left side in the neck, just millimeters away from suffering a fatal wound. After undergoing two-hour surgery, he was expected to survive. The lone survivor of the MAX attack had won a poetry competition in 2013 when he was still in high school. He was rescued by an unidentified passenger who put pressure on his wound before he received emergency care. The man also used Fletcher’s cell phone to call Fletcher’s mother and let her know what happened. As a veteran, he claimed he was familiar with first aid. He did not disclose the full scope of the injuries he sustained on the train, saving her from excessive worry.
Regarding the attacker, he is a known white supremacist who had an intense criminal record before carrying out the stabbings. The day prior to the altercation he had allegedly picked a fight with another woman at a MAX station. He allegedly threw a plastic bottle at a woman of color who in turn sprayed him with mace. The man had been to prison for 8 years for felony robbery and also had kidnapping and weapons convictions against him. Due to disciplinary issues he served time in 4 state correctional institutions.
Upon his release he served under supervision with Multnomah County. His probation expired January 2014. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a high school friend of the attacker claimed that he had behaved in an unexpected manner since leaving prison. That something had “changed” in him over the recent years and that he was “mentally ill” and needed help. As with every other lone wolf, “he was a good guy at one point.”
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