In Memoriam: June Knightly
This post is about the mass shooting in Portland on Saturday. It is upsetting to read. This article is very helpful. The rest of my post is a summary of the information I have gathered today. Some of this is in print. Some is not.
Her name was June Knightly. I didn’t know her, but friends of mine did. She was 60 years old, a cancer survivor, beloved of her wife and son. Known to her friends and comrades as “T-Rex,” she had bright red hair and used a cane for walking support. She was a “corker” for Black Lives Matter marches, meaning she would stand at cross-streets, halting traffic so the people marching would be safe from cars. She was often called on to calm people who were angry about the marches; she would explain the purpose of the march, she would assure people that they would not be delayed for long, she would put them at ease and sometimes even leave them laughing. She was skilled at de-escalation and said proudly to her friends that she was “born to cork.” She and the others who were shot were unarmed.
The man who is alleged to have killed her and injured four others is Ben Smith, age 44. He is reported to belong to white supremacist groups and he follows on Youtube a right-wing extremist named Andy Ngo. Smith uses racist and misogynist slurs in his social media. He is a member of the “furry community.” He is not a homeowner, though he does reside near the park where the event was held. He is currently hospitalized, and the Portland police have not yet released his name.
The shooter appeared to be preparing to fire additional shots into the crowd when he was shot by an armed antifascist. He was not killed, but because he was wounded, he was unable to harm others. There are reports that the antifascist turned himself in to the Police and surrendered his weapon. He is not thought to be in custody.
My main photo and two extras are of the informal memorial in a covered picnic area in the park near where June was killed. People are leaving cards, flowers, and candles, and some are making chalk drawings. Some antifascists are camping in a tent behind the picnic area, to protect the memorial from vandals. The Go Fund Me has reached its original goal of $100,000 and the goal has now been doubled because some of those who survived the shooter are very seriously injured and need expensive treatment which, as you know, is not available in the USA to those who cannot pay for it.