Portland Mass Shooter: Patriotic American Mad About Black Lives Mattering, COVID, Everything Else
Portland police remove some of the guns from alleged shooter's apartment (Twitter video)

A 43-year-old man opened fire on a racial justice protest in Portland Saturday night, killing a 60-year-old woman who'd been directing traffic, and wounding four others, including one person who was left "paralyzed from the neck down," according to court records. Two other victims were treated and released, and another remains hospitalized.

The shooting at the protest Saturday was one of three fatal shootings in Portland over the past weekend.

Press reports were maddeningly vague over the weekend, so short on details that it sounded as though the protest might be at someone's home, perhaps the home of the police officer who shot Amir Locke. Rather, the protest was in a public park, and the shooter was not an aggrieved homeowner who felt threatened, but some guy who'd allegedly been itching to use his trigger finger against social justice warriors for a while now.

The shooter, Benjamin Jeffrey Smith, had become increasingly radicalized during the later part of the Obama presidency, and his rightwing beliefs accelerated when Donald Trump was in office, according to his roommate, Kristine Christenson, who spoke to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

“When I first moved in, he seemed fine,” she said. “He was actually not that bad of a guy.”

She said Smith slowly became more radicalized starting in the later years of the Obama administration and accelerating during the Trump administration. At times, she heard him yelling racial slurs in his room and deriding women.

“As the years went on, he’s just gotten more and more radicalized. He got angrier and angrier,” Christenson told OPB. “I have not been comfortable living with him for a while. I did not feel safe with him, especially this last two years with the whole COVID thing. I think that made him even more angry.”

Being stoked up on rightwing rage and having a bunch of guns describes the mood of one of America's two major political parties these days. We wonder if that may not be a less than ideal state of affairs for the country.

As far as his home arsenal went, Christenson said she wasn't sure how many guns Smith had, but that his collection included shotguns, rifles, and handguns, and that he sometimes repaired firearms too.

“He talked about wanting to go shoot commies and antifa all the friggin‘ time,” Christenson said. “He was just a sad angry dude. … He talked about wanting to do this for a while. He was angry at the mask mandates, he was angry at the damned liberals.”

Gosh, someone ought to look at whether there's some kind of connection between a constant diet of violent rightwing rhetoric and violent action. Probably a complete coincidence.

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More on the shooting Saturday, also from OPB:

Demonstrators said the shooting happened after Smith allegedly started yelling at a group of racial justice protesters holding a “justice for Amir Locke” demonstration at Normandale Park. Locke, who was Black, was killed by Minneapolis police serving a no-knock warrant earlier this month.

Witnesses to the Saturday shooting said people attempted to deescalate the situation when Smith allegedly pulled out a handgun and fired into the crowd, killing Brandy “June” Knightly, 60, and injuring four others. Witnesses said a protester returned fire, hitting Smith. [...]

Knightly became involved with the protest movement after a George Floyd march passed by her home in 2020. Since then, she attended many demonstrations and often worked to protect protesters from traffic and other interference, a job she was also doing on Saturday when she was killed.

Smith is currently hospitalized and in critical care; he's being guarded by police. He was charged Tuesday with "one count of second degree murder, four counts of attempted first degree murder with a firearm, as well as four counts of assault with a firearm."

Prosecutors acknowledged Tuesday that the shooting came to an end when one of the protesters shot Smith. Police initially

charged that person with first degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon, both felonies. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office ultimately decided to bring “no complaint” against the person “based upon our review of facts and evidence.”

The person who shot Smith is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, according to court records.

Smith was also, according to anti-fascism investigators on social media, one of those weird rightwing furries who hated lefty furries who've been trying to rid furrydom of Nazi jerks. Smith apparently went by the username "Polybun" in a rightwing furry chat last fall, and said it would be really great if the Proud Boys "shot up somebodies car," and if that happened, the victim would absolutely deserve it, but "thus far they sadly haven't shot up somebody's car, because good christ that needs to happen." The Oregonian notes that Smith's roommate confirmed that "Polybun" was Smith.

"Polybun" also complained that a social media "company owned by Jews" had failed to support Kyle Rittenhouse because he had "defended himself from Jews," and wow, talk about unfair.

Smith's brother Aurthur Killion, who lives in Indiana, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that Smith had become increasingly angry about social justice protests at Normandale Park, across the street from the apartment complex where he lived, and elsewhere in Portland, which as we all know from rightwing media has been burned to the ground every single night since protests over the killing of George Floyd in 2020. Smith was also very angry about homeless people and COVID health mandates.

“He said he had multiple issues with protesters in his neighborhood,” Killion said. “He said they had threatened him and others personally in the past. He said he was ready to defend himself.”

“He had no love for them,” Killion said. “But he’s not some right-wing nutjob. He’s a master machinist.”

We understand brotherly affection, but we'll also point out that those aren't mutually exclusive. Killion said that his brother had recently talked about moving back to Indiana, or perhaps to Tennessee.

Another resident of the apartment complex, Polly Kuprienko, said that she had recently seen Smith threaten a homeless man with a gun. She also said he'd spoken of returning to Indiana

because “he was worried it was getting too liberal here,” noting the gun laws are looser there.

Smith complained about the increase in crime – his car had been stolen about a month ago, neighbors and his roommate said.

Smith would often say, “This is what happens when you don’t have cops,” Christenson recalled.

We should probably note here that Portland does have police, and that they have a really bad reputation for being excessively cozy with far-Right groups and resisting vaccine mandates, for which you'd think Smith would have been more appreciative, the end.

[Oregonian/OregonLive (Subscriber only) / Oregon Public Broadcasting / OPB / OPB / "John The Lefty" and "Jazzy Vidalia" on Twitter / Image: Video screenshot, "John The Lefty" on Twitter]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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