“The recent murders in Portland, Oregon, of two men whose throats were slashed when they tried to stop Islamophobic and racist harassment on a light rail train were not just random acts of violence. It is true that the alleged killer, Jeremy Christian, appears to be a troubled person. And it’s true that the murders were outcroppings of the deeper violence of Islamophobia and white supremacy that pervades US society. But they were more than that. They were part of an ongoing spate of murders and shootings that are being directly inspired by the “scripted violence” of the right. When right-wing leaders and media demonize marginalized groups and broadcast calls about a supposed looming “white genocide,” some of the rank-and-file will take these words literally — and try to solve the problem with murder.
The Portland double-murder is only the latest in a series of politically motivated racist killings. In February 2017, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an Indian man working in the US, was shot to death in a Kansas bar. His alleged murderer shouted “Go back to your country!” In March, a Black man, Timothy Caughman, was stabbed to death by a white man who had traveled to New York to allegedly kill all the Black men he could find. In Baltimore in May, a white man who was part of a Facebook group called “Alt Reich: Nation” allegedly stabbed a Black man, Richard Collins III, to death at a bus stop near the University of Maryland. And these incidents don’t include the numerous other non-fatal shootings and attacks that have occurred.”