The 2017 arrest of Jeremy Christian for allegedly stabbing three leftists (two to death) after making racial comments on a Portland train was one of the earliest stories used by national media to construct the narrative of white political violence.
The trial is now beginning and the same media organs that declared Christian a guilty "white supremacist" have suddenly gone silent.
While Christian's exact defense is not known yet, observers fear his lawyers may have a compelling case to make. FBI prosecutors are already beavering away in the lab trying to weave a safety net to ensure that what they perceive to be a political crime does not go unpunished if the state cannot convict him.
So far, there are three factors that could help exonerate Christian: 1) a long, proven history of mental illness, 2) the fact that making racial comments in public is not a crime, 3) footage of the three alleged victims initiating the physical engagement that led to them getting stabbed.
Christian's Declining Mental Health
The defendant's mental health is being considered to be a relevant factor in the case.
In 2002, he was arrested after robbing a convenience store. As he tried to get away, he pulled out a pistol allegedly trying to kill himself, and police fired three rounds, including one that struck him on his face and left him permanently scarred.
For this crime, Christian served more than eight years in the Portland prison system. Throughout this process, his family members and friends begged the correction's system to provide him mental health guidance and treatment before being let back out, but these cries for help fell on deaf ears. Even some academic experts have commented that at least some of Christian's erratic and violent behavior could've been avoided by providing him with the health services he desperately needed.
Once released in 2010, Christian struggled with drug addiction and was in and out of jail. Throughout this time he wrote extensively about his mental confusion and persistent suicidal thoughts.
In 2016, Christian became a socialist and a Bernie Sanders fan who closely followed left-wing protests at Standing Rock, a protest against the construction of a pipeline on an Indian reservation. Many of Christian's writings were composed of incoherent rambling, but despite being a leftist himself, he disliked political correctness and made a habit of testing the boundaries of free speech.
Eventually, in 2017, he started drinking heavily and attending political protests, where he would ramble. Anarchists took note of him and targeted him, because occasionally some of the babbling would include racial slurs.
All of this led to a number of incidents on public transit, where the man would occasionally blurt out racial slurs or curse at people he saw walking by.
Prosecutors see his past as a potential liability for their case and are desperate to hide it from the jury.
Free Speech and Self-Defense
According to witnesses and surveillance camera footage seen by local journalists, the incident began when Christian was seen uttering slurs at blacks and Muslims on the train.
While impolite, Christian did not grow physically violent until three leftist males approached him and began to surround him in a hostile manner for his "hate speech." Here, Christian's Post-Traumatic Stress may have kicked in. A fight then ensued, with Christian using his knife to stab the three men after warning them of his intent.
Anyone who has ridden public transit in major American cities knows that there are always mentally ill people on board, and sometimes they yell at you. Generally, people know to just ignore them. Because some of Christian's words were apparently "racist," the three alleged victims decided to personally escalate rather than call the police.
At the very least, new changes to Oregon state law guarantee that Christian cannot face capital punishment, even though some left-wing activists, who oppose the death penalty regardless of the crime if the defendant is non-white, were demanding he be put to death.
Even if Christian is able to successfully win with an insanity plea, the federal government is perched on the sidelines.
The prosecution it appears could be overcharging the man thanks to an aggressive media campaign against him. Now that the initial hysteria is wearing off, they will have to prove a First Degree Murder charge. This requires demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that Christian wasn't acting in self-defense or has a mental handicap.
Furthermore, Christian's legal team is doing a magnificent job in assuring he gets a fair trial. They are aggressively quizzing potential jurors for left-wing bias, including with deeper philosophical questions, and have two additional pools as backup in case they uncover any new ones during trial. They are being allowed to do their jobs - unlike far less extreme cases in Charlottesville or with Will Planer - due to the fact that Christian does not appear to have any kind of consistent worldview or political philosophy.
The novel approaches and strategies in this case could provide plenty of food for thought. Hearings will begin today.