The Only “Story” That Matters About the Portland Stabbing

I’ve been reading about the train stabbing incident in Portland with a heavy heart. Like so many others, I’ve been trying to make some sense out of all of it—to put it into some sort of understandable context.

A heart at the vigil held for victims of the Portland stabbing.
A heart on display at the vigil held for victims of the stabbing.

As a Scientologist, it’s my personal reality that we are all spiritual beings. Not in some sort of hippy-dippy or esoteric way, but factually and concretely. I don’t have a soul, I am my own soul. My soul is the me that is truly me. My body will grow old and die and I will live on as I have for an almost infinite amount of time already.

I also believe that people are basically good. I believe this, in part, because Scientology has given me tools to understand the difference between the person—who is fundamentally good—and the emotional and spiritual “baggage” that people can get buried under and that leads to negative thoughts and actions.

What does deserve our collective attention is the response of those on that train who stood up for what is right and good and just. Some of them paid with their lives and have rightfully been hailed as heroes.

My fundamental conclusion about the incident in Portland is that certain people are simply so degraded as spiritual beings that they aren’t even “here” anymore, so buried under their “baggage” that it runs the show completely. One person ruined the lives of everyone on that train and so many others by extension. The media is working overtime trying to tie his behavior into a bigger-picture context that would somehow answer the real question: why? They’re dissecting his statements and his associations with other groups and trying to assign responsibility in a way that makes sense to logical people.

Photo collage from Portland vigil
A photo collage from The Oregonian’s coverage of the vigil.

The only real answer to that question is that he is, at least right now, more evil than he is good, and the words coming out of his mouth as well as his horrific actions are a reflection of that. He doesn’t actually believe in anything except perhaps that all people must be punished. Using the language of Islamophobia or calling himself a “patriot” is simply a feeble attempt at justifying his own twisted world view and nothing more. If he wasn’t hiding behind those ideas he would find others to suit his warped viewpoint. There is no merit of any kind in what he has to say, and we certainly don't need to look to the words and actions of a raving psychotic to in any way define the current status of our country, our culture, or the vast majority of good people who are living their lives and trying to do the right thing.

What does deserve our collective attention is the response of those on that train who stood up for what is right and good and just. Some of them paid with their lives and have rightfully been hailed as heroes. The outpouring of support—emotional, financial and otherwise—for everyone on that train besides one psychotic individual is the true story here. That support, that love and empathy and solidarity, are what it really means to be human and are a true reflection of the goodness that is our basic nature. That’s the story that deserves to be told again and again and again and is the only one that matters.

Photo by Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian/OregonLive

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