Three summer tragedies reveal Oregon’s dark side.
By M. Martin
As if it weren’t enough to see Oregon’s precious Gorge go up in flames from careless youths; after 18 hours of firefighting, one crew member returned to find his fire station looted. The thieves stole $100,000 worth of goods, including personal gear, a bike, a Jeep and a fire station pick-up truck.
This “hero gets looted” scenario is similar to the Max train stabbing incident this summer. Ricky Best was stabbed while heroically protecting two women from a knife attack aboard a Max train. As he lay bleeding and dying on the ground, another man, George Tschaggeny, stole Ricky’s backpack, wallet, and even his wedding ring. Tschaggeny was caught by police wearing the dead man’s wedding ring.
A third tragedy was unveiled this summer when the Oregonian ran a front-page story about Portland Public School high-school teacher, Mitch Whitehurst, who sexually harassed and abused teen students for 35 years. Women were victimized from school to school, each victim ignored or lied to along the way. Multiple schools failed these women by ignoring them, lying to them about “investigating their complaints,” or hiding their complaints to prevent other school officials from knowing about Whitehurst’s actions.
Stealing from firefighters who put their lives at risk, robbing a dying hero’s wedding ring, and protecting a teen sex abuser, all point to Oregonians among us with a new low in moral standards. It reminds us how critically important it is that we work to protect ethical standards in our community. We can see now — that the bottom is deeper than we wish to see.
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