I just got back from the Jeremy Christian trial where cell phone video clearly shows Micah Fletcher violently throw him into a seat before Jeremy stabbed him. The video matches the version of events that Jeremy personally gave me at the jail a long time ago while we were doing time together. The video was shot by a young woman that testified today. The audio from the recording featured a lot of off-color, rude, and antagonistic statements made by Jeremy Christian, but noticeably absent from the audio were any racist remarks or any demands that the Muslim passengers on the train "go back to Saudi Arabia."
Jeremy has stated to several people including mental health experts and myself that he only said people should go to Saudi Arabia if they do not like free speech. The was a lot of stuff along the lines of "if you don't like free speech get out of America," but nothing to support the accusations that he singled out two Muslim passengers with an anti-Muslim rant directed just at them. It seems more likely that they heard parts of what he said about going to Saudi Arabia and inferred that they were directed at them because they were the only obvious Muslims on the train.
Other evidence shows that Micah Fletcher admitted to police right after the incident that he recognized Jeremy from the free speech rally a few weeks earlier in which Jeremy managed to piss off just about everyone in attendance. The defense says that Jeremy got death threats after that rally and there was not way for him to know the intentions of the three men on the train. They make a good point. Their point is consistent with what Jeremy has been saying since I was first in the housing unit with him in July of 2017 and when I was put in with him again just over a year later.
The only thing about the video that is bad for Jeremy is that he threw some shoves of his own before Micah threw him into the seat. I think whether or not Jeremy can claim self defense to the shoves depends on whether or not other video shows him becoming physical first by knocking the phone out of Taliesin Namkai-Meche's hand before the three "victims" entered his personal bubble. The 9th Circuit defines simple assaults to include a showing of force likely to cause reasonable apprehension of harm, so was that force in response to words about religions or was that showing of force in response to Jeremy going out of his way to smash a cell phone. If he smashed the phone was it being shoved in his face?
Answers to those questions are the real facts of the case that a jury is theoretically supposed to look at. Those facts include Jeremy's diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. This is another consistency in Jeremy's statements. Before my release in November of 2018, Jeremy told me he was being evaluated by an Asperger's specialist. I though he might have been playing to my ear because he already knew that I have Asperger's Syndrome. I told him that I though he had it based on the psych eval that I read and my observations since knowing him. He had so many things in common with AS that I would have been shocked to hear if he did not have it. That also further supports my belief that this is at most a manslaughter case. Like Jeremy, I've struggled with anger management when I've felt threatened and I have done violent things before my mind had the amount of time it needed to process everything right. That comes as a surprise to people that know my IQ score is high. It was not really a problem for me until after I was diagnosed with PTSD in my early 20s. Jeremy has that dual diagnosis also. The result is someone that is normally a law abiding citizen until they feel threatened. Then they flip out before really realizing what they did. Finally they realize what they did and regret it while at the same time blaming whoever set them off for doing something that they were predisposed to react a certain way towards. Sometimes there is legitimacy in victim blaming, especially if someone knew of your diagnosis and provoked you on purpose. That obviously was not the case here.
The idea put forth by prosecutor Jeff Howes today was ridiculous. He claims that Jeremy created a confrontation to give himself the right to defend himself and that you can't claim self defense if you intentionally cause a physical confrontation. Even if Jeremy were the first one to do anything physical in this case, that does not mean that he boarded the train intent on stabbing people. The footage from him ranting about cutting off heads the day before does not mean that he ever really intended to try to cut anyone's head off. Maybe, like other people with AS and PTSD, he thought that making himself look scary would keep anyone from attacking him if he continued to exercise free speech in ways he knew would anger a lot of people.
It is also likely that Jeremy did not realize just how angry his comment made people. People like us do not experience empathy much and we are really bad at putting ourselves in other people's shoes. Empathy comes so naturally to most that it is hard for "normal" people to understand how some people can't empathize without trying to. People like us find it funny to see people get offended because we are not so vulnerable to becoming offended. We also tend to observe the world from a somewhat detached point of view and are quick to point out hypocrisies in others. A person with AS would view confrontations between groups like Antifa and Patriot Prayer as a clash of the hypocrites because of similarities in their tactics. Tactics like claiming to support free speech only to take steps against people for exercising free speech.
Jeremy Christian is not a monster. He is just a misunderstood person that has struggled his entire life with a disability that he can only now begin to understand. I am fortunate to have been diagnosed over 15 years ago, but even then at age 20 I was considered a little old for a diagnosis. It took a traumatic experience for me to see a therapist and get diagnosed. AS was not a recognized condition until 1994, so our generation did not benefit from childhood therapy like kids have today. I would not know Jeremy if I didn't have AS. If I didn't have AS I probably would not have threatened someone online in 2012, would not have slapped a halfway house worker in 2014, and would not have thrown spicy chips at a deputy in 2017. I had the misfortune of being in federal court where you can't use a diminished capacity defense in violent cases. Jeremy can use that defense in state court. There is little to no doubt in my mind that Jeremy was either defending himself or felt the need to defend himself because he has AS and PTSD. A normal person would have just made for the exit even though Micah Fletcher had no legal right to tell him to get off the Max. People with AS are overly principled and Jeremy's principles, kind of like mine, include a focus of free speech. If he thinks he has a first amendment right to do something he will not go quietly if you get in his way. I was lucky because eventually a psychologist convinced the United States Attorney's Office that I only committed assaults because of my environment and that the only way to protect corrections staff from me was to let me go. I came really close to getting sentenced as a career offender in the feds because they only require two prior offenses involving violence or a threat of violence to categorize you as such.
I wonder what Micah thinks about Jeremy having AS. Micah is also on the Autism spectrum, but his interests seem more focused on goals shared with Anitfa. This is starting to look like the tragic result of two people on the same end of the Autism spectrum and opposite ends of the political spectrum. Two equally stubborn individuals whose stubborn behavior can be traced to the same developmental disability. Their only difference is that the public labels one as far right and the other as far left.