In The Day Essay

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In the day-after-Christmas beating of a teenage girl by three others on a MAX train, a shaky video possibly shot by a member of the assailants' cheering section offers a glimpse of a thoroughly intimidated public. Nobody on the train witnessing the beating called 9-1-1. Nobody on the train stood up and yelled for the attackers to leave the girl alone. And nobody, save one girl apparently aligned with the attackers, came forward to shield and then render aid to the victim. Physical intervention might be a lot to expect. At least one Green Line rider did hit the train car's red emergency intercom button, signaling the driver there was a problem. The driver immediately called TriMet's central command, and police arrived in 8 minutes. But by then it was over and the thugs gone. Four suspects were arrested late last week -- three girls facing assault charges and the mother of two of them, suspected of hiding the girls from police. Centennial Middle School classmates of the victim, 14-year-old Karley Buckland, recognized the assailants in the video and told police. But this mess is far from over. It will ask much of us as a community in which decency should rule. Was the beating lethal in intent? It doesn't appear so, despite minor injuries to Karley. The assault has the look of schoolyard teens gone wild and delivering the message: We could kill you but choose not to. That's called intimidation. Were the losers who cheered Karley's beating as responsible as the suspects? While they may be off the hook legally, they seem to us perfect cowards: inciters of violence confusing life for some killer video game. In their dancing about, in their thrilling to the assault, they made themselves partners in intimidation. [pic]TriMet beating Police are investigating the beating of a 14-year-old girl on a MAX train, but wish someone had called 9-1-1 when the incident

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