19-year-old former LHS student linked to deer head incident

The attack on political speech induces fear among the LHS community


Ellie Connor and Emilie Croteau

Freedom of speech is a right held by the American people, yet voicing political opinions in this divided nation is an action accompanied by fear and hesitation. Recent events in Lake Oswego show how some people want to silence those with opposing beliefs.

Over a month ago, on Oct. 29, two deer heads were found next to political and racial justice signs in Lake Oswego, Oregon. One was found at the intersection of Greentree Road and Campus Way, while the other was placed on the front lawn of a nearby home. 

Thomas Austin Jakmuah, a 19 year-old former Lakeridge High School student, was later charged with two counts of second-degree disorderly conduct and two counts of offensive littering by the Clackamas County District Attorney’s office. According to Oregon Live, authorities said that Jakmuah had gone deer hunting on the day of the incident and decided to leave the deer heads because he did not support Biden. His expression of this opinion left a lasting impression on the residents of Lake Oswego.

 “It makes me sad that just expressing your opinion can make you more of a target. You shouldn’t be afraid to speak out for what you believe in,” said Amelia Bohls, a sophomore at Lakeridge High School.

This event was sparked by the signs posted in support of Joe Biden and Black Lives Matter, which are heavily debated topics. The tension surrounding these issues is evident, but it was still a surprise to many that something like this would take place in Lake Oswego.

Others, such as junior Summer Holman, were not shocked to hear of the incident. She found it especially unsurprising when the family involved caused it to be considered an act of racism.

“I think it wasn’t surprising something like this happened because Lake Oswego has an extensive racist history, but it makes me upset that this happened to someone who was harmlessly expressing their opinion,” Holman said.