Arsonist rumor spreads hate, fear

In Friday’s TGIForum, one of your readers posted a letter to expose the “radical left-wing groups” he claimed have been setting fires in California and Oregon. Can we please get beyond name-calling? What has happened to our compassion and Aloha spirit? People have lost their homes and their lives.

Are we able to return to some semblance of “news normalcy” we had before calling the entertaining opinions of both extremes “news”?

Whenever I hear something dramatic that bashes a group of people or incites fear, I do my best to check it out. On September 13, NPR reported, “Oregon Officials Warn False Antifa Rumors Waste Precious Resources For Fires.” From that report I learned:

Ashland (Oregon) Police Chief O’Meara said, “There’s no reason to believe that this is politically motivated. And anybody that is speculating in that direction is being reckless and not working toward solving this problem or any other problem. It’s irresponsible for anybody to engage in that kind of speculation. There’s absolutely no basis for it.”

I understand that there are people who don’t trust NPR as an unbiased news source. Others may think that the rumors are started by Russian operatives. What to believe?

Some of us used to believe the FBI. The Agent who runs the Portland field office, said, “FBI Portland and local law enforcement agencies have been receiving reports that extremists are responsible for setting wildfires in Oregon. With our state and local partners, the FBI has investigated several such reports and found them to be untrue. Conspiracy theories and misinformation take valuable resources away local fire and police agencies working around the clock to bring these fires under control.”

I am not writing this to prove whether these rumors are right or wrong. I am writing to urge each of us to share information as much as possible from first-hand experience rather than speculation, or at least to cite a credible source of that information.

Perhaps most important, I am offering a prayer that we shift our focus from blaming to uplifting each other. How? By spreading love and aloha, not hatred and fear.


Marian Head is a resident of Kapa‘a.

  1. KauaiFarmMan September 22, 2020 4:18 am Reply

    More leftist complaining. Do your research and you can find videos of police talking about and arresting people for recent fires on west coast. I suppose radical leftists have burned down buildings in 48 out of 50 of America’s major cities but they decided to spare California forests. To think no arsonists are responsible for any of these mass fires is just naive.

  2. Hanapaa September 22, 2020 6:26 am Reply

    Internet search for arsonists on west coast

    Arrested For Arson
    Fires September 2020
    9/13/2020 Domingo Lopez Jr – Portland, OR | Brush Fires
    9/12/2020 Natalie Deshazer – Sweet Home, OR | Sweet Home Fires
    9/1/2020 – Elias Newton Pendergrass – Mapleton, OR | Sweet Creek Fires
    9/8/2020 – Robert Karlinski – Hannibal, OR | Structural Fire Marion County, OR
    ​9/9/2020 – Christine Comello – Spokane, WA | Multiple Grass Fires Spokane, WA
    9/11/2020 – Anita Esquivel – Salinas, CA | Highway 101 near Boronda Road Monterey County, CA
    9/9/2020 – Jeffrey Acord – Puyallup, WA | Grass fires SR 512 | Pierce County, WA
    9/9/2020 – name not listed | Grass Fires SR 167 | Pierce County, WA
    9/11/2020 – Jonathan Maas – Springfield, OR | Dexter Fire Lane County, OR
    9/11/2020 – Michael Bakkela – Phoenix, OR | Alemeda Fire, Jackson County, OR
    9/11/2020 – Andrew Lee – Sonora, CA | Attempted Arson, Columbia, CA
    (for updates see )
    **There are many more active fires with unknown causes not listed below**
    Almeda Fire | 1 arrested Confirmed Human-Caused (under investigation)
    Ashland, Oregon | 600 homes destroyed 3,200 acres 70% contained
    Apple Acres | Under investigation
    Chelan, WA | 5,753 acres 97% contained
    Brattain | Confirmed Human-Caused
    Paisley, OR | 30,151 acres 0% contained
    Cold Springs | under investigation

    Omak, WA | 188,852 acres 34 homes destroyed 50% contained
    Customs Road | Confirmed Human-Caused
    Curlew, WA | 2,208 acres 2 homes destroyed 60% contained
    Echo Mountain Complex | Under Investigation
    Lincoln City, OR | 2,435 acres 100 homes destroyed 25% contained
    Evans Canyon | Under Investigation
    Naches, WA | 75,817 acres 6 homes destroyed 90% contained
    Fish Fire | Under Investigation
    Enumclaw, WA | 141 acres 30% contained
    Grizzly Creek | Confirmed Human-Caused
    Ashland, OR | 325 acres 25% contained

    Holiday Farm | Under Investigation

    McKenzie Bridge, Oregon | 165,023 acres 6% contained

    Inchelium Complex | Under Investigation

    Inchelium, WA | 18,940 acres 48% contained

    Manning Road | Under Investigation

    Colfax, WA | 2,685 acres 3 homes destroyed 90% contained

    North Cascade Complex | Under Investigation

    Mollala, OR | 2,060 acres 0% contained

    Paterson | Under Investigation

    Paterson, WA | 1,300 acres 100% contained

    Riverside | Under Investigation

    Estacada, OR | 134,575 acres 33 homes destroyed 0% contained

    Summer Grade | Under Investigation

    Waller, WA | 494 acres 2 homes destroyed 65% contained

    Thielsen | Under Investigation

    Diamond Lake, OR | 5,973 acres 0% contained

    Whitney | Under Investigation

    Davenport, WA | 125,123 acres 10 homes destroyed 65% contained

  3. nothings free September 22, 2020 8:56 am Reply

    Thank you for your heart felt letter. You’re trying hard to smooth the ugly ripples in our Society that have done more in the past several months to destroy our Country than any loosely organized groups in our lifetimes. The fact remains that there are riots in Democrat controlled cities that have spiraled out of control. They have become a magnet for the evil among us to tear down the good that others have lived and died to build. Those fires were not caused by “global warming”, lightning, or anything else of a natural source. Almost all of them were caused by arsonists feeding off of the hatred and destruction that they are perpetrating and seeing on the 24 hour news cycle. Rioters think they’re becoming celebrities! One man was arrested in Oregon for starting, or attempting to start, 32 fires! He is a liberal loon Democrat hiding in a black mask and pretending to be doing something big and important in his tiny little shriveled up world. Any thinking individual can recognize that this manner of “activism” is a way for useless people to feel important! The Democrat Party is full of these Marxist/Socialist losers. They are acting out because of their artificially created “race card”/”Police are bad” excuse! Open up your eyes people and let’s solve this problem! Mass arrests, incarcerations, severe punishments, and re-electing President Trump are the only things that will stop this “war” on America the liberals have started!

    1. Pete Antonson September 22, 2020 3:31 pm Reply

      Not a single fact here, not one. He can’t even get the name of the Democratic Party right! Just a waste of time to take on so many errors.

  4. Jordan Shaw September 22, 2020 11:39 am Reply

    Having been in Washington State before and during the fires and involved with and raised in Fire Country I can say unequivocally and without prejudice that there is absolutely Extremist involvement in the fires. Let’s be clear every year there are fires in the West Coast. It’s a natural process. As a child we had horrendous fires, but nothing like what is currently being experienced. This is not natural and it follows on the heal of months of unrest and lack of leadership by the politicians. Your article is in some ways correct, but it matters not what the political point of view of the Arsonists are, and there is ample evidence to suggest that the Arson was real in many cases (not all). However, I like to refer to them as criminals and that’s what they are. We used to hang horse thieves where I am from. Arson was and is a form of Warfare. To say that suggesting an arsonist is this or that is ridiculous. Let’s call them what they are OUR ENEMIES.

  5. Rampartview September 22, 2020 2:50 pm Reply

    I cannot believe anyone seriously wants to defend the extreme leftist from a multitude of named groups that take over places, incite riots, burn businesses down and even ambush the very officials and first responders trying to help people…ALOHA SPIRIT! My word the meaning has certainly changed. These are bad people whose aim is to hurt all of us. Supporting them has nothing to do with Aloha…it has to do with being nuts!

  6. Lawaibob September 22, 2020 4:51 pm Reply

    Trump / Prison 2020!

  7. Peter September 22, 2020 6:27 pm Reply

    You want to stop rumor mongering ? Make people sign on to message boards and groups with their real names which they have to verify with their driver’s license. Problem solved.

  8. J.D. September 23, 2020 4:42 am Reply

    The fires magically stop at the Canadian border.

    1. Thomas Owen September 24, 2020 11:38 am Reply


  9. Thomas Owen September 24, 2020 11:55 am Reply

    It won’t really matter to the fools who believe what they want but…

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