A response to today’s shooting at the Holocaust Museum

by on June 10, 2009 · 11 comments

in War and Peace

Today’s shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. is a stark reminder to those of us dedicated to equality and social justice that there are people out there willing to disrupt progress with violent acts – even if it puts their own life in jeopardy. These extremists are a small outlier amongst the general public, but as our society takes steps forward (electing a black President, for example) there will always be people unwilling to accept change. They are nothing more than terrorists, cut from the same mold as purveyors of racism and bigotry like James Earl Ray.

You can make a lot of assumptions based on breaking news reports. Reading CNN.com will tell you all about this man’s life, his history of neo-Nazism, a friendship with the author of the “The Turner Diaries”, etc. The truth is that the details don’t matter. All I care about, and what most people should care about, is that the shooter, James Von Brunn, is a violent ex-convict who had access to a gun. He walked into a museum dedicated to tolerance and education of one of the worst episodes of genocide in history, and shot people. I, for one, could care less what his intentions were, how many people he was trying to kill, and even whether or not he was a bigot or just maniacal. I don’t care if he had some kind of manifesto, or wrote out a long letter to a local newspaper, or was trying to kill Jews, or if he wanted a world audience for his swan song. This jerk’s main goal was to wreak havoc. He should not have had access to guns. Period.

Of course, as someone whose entire maternal side of the family was gassed or murdered in the Holocaust, this tragedy hits doubly close to home. Additionally, when you work at a Jewish-faith-based social service agency, an event like this puts everyone on full alert. I am probably more at-risk of violence at work than most other social workers at faith-based agencies, simply because of the name of my employer. But all of that is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. What makes me most concerned about a hateful, violent event like this is the sensationalism that gives it relevance. When the media gives the shooter more attention than the victims and inadvertently defines the event in terms of a violent bigot, he has accomplished his goal.

This event, like all other gun violence, could have been avoided if stiffer gun control policies were put into place – particularly policies that make sure that people who serve time in prison for offenses involving guns never get their hands on them. It is events like this that prove the Second Amendment is outdated, and something needs to be done to change it. We hear about how the border violence is fueled by drugs from Mexico, and weapons from America. Here’s an easy solution: legalize drugs and ban guns. I should be appointed border czar.

Do me a favor. If you ever hear of something positive happening that involves a gun, I’d like to know about it. I’m willing to bet money that won’t ever happen.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

bodysurferbob June 10, 2009 at 2:57 pm

WTF ! An abortion doctor gets it one week, then a couple of weeks later, this thing happens. these are signs that the violent and extreme right-wing is not accepting the democratic election of our president and the social change his election represents. They want a civil war. I’m going back and staying in the water.


Molly June 10, 2009 at 3:00 pm

thanks lane for being together enough to write that. i dont agree with all of it, but appreciate where you’re coming from.


mr fresh June 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm

here’s a little sample of the shooter’s work, originally posted in a Ron Paul forum at Yahoo (Ron Paul had nothing to do with this btw):

by James von Brunn

Remember, the un-Constitutional Federal Reserve Act (1913) gave JEWS control of America’s MONEY. Followed by control of America’s principal sources of information .

Early on, during the war-torn 20th Century, the only broadcast networks : ABC, CBS, and NBC — were JEW owned. Today, JEWS control ALL important sources of information (the major networks, Newspapers, Magazines, Book-publishing, Tin-Pan Alley, Music & Recording Industry, Hollywood, Encyclopedia Britannica, Public schools and Universities, the Catholic Church, etc.).

Bit by bit Liberalism ascended. Bit by bit the Constitution was re-interpreted. Bit by bit government institutions and Congressmen fell into JEW hands — then U.S. diplomacy, businesses, resources and manpower came under JEW control.
White men sat on their collective asses and did NOTHING — NOTHING BUT TALK. Never before in World history has a great Nation been conquered so completely, while offering NO physical resistance!

White talkers LOVE their Enemies.

Today, on the World stage, White men are LAUGHED AT, their women taken, raped, and bred by stronger men.

And America ?

America is a Third-World racial garbage-dump — stupid, ignorant, dead-broke, and terminal.

Prepare to die, White America — you deserve it.

Heil Hitler !

James von Brunn


annagrace June 10, 2009 at 7:49 pm

What does it say about us as a democracy when “lone” psychopaths/sociopaths can emerge from the fetid shadows, commit murder, and be exonerated, even cheered on by the good folk who bring us “fair and balanced” news? Check out their response to the Homeland Security Report about right wing extremism and antisemitism as reported by Joan Walsh “Can right wing hate talk lead to murder? http://www.salon.com/opinion/walsh/?last_story=/opinion/walsh/politics/2009/06/10/von_brunn/ and Ellen Goodman writes about “The myth of the lone shooter.” http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/06/05/the_myth_of_the_lone_shooter/

The issue is about more than gun control. It’s about someone feeling that he is at risk for going to work at a social service agency- a Jewish faith based social service agency. It’s about a woman feeling that she is at risk by going to a woman’s health clinic- that provides abortions. No gun has to be leveled at any head. Just the POSSIBILITY of that not quite random act of violence does unconscionable damage to innocent people. This is of course the intent of terrorists. And it is one of the ways that fascists keep people in line.

If the rule of law is not followed, and that often means on a local level where these sociopaths operate, then the message is that this kind of criminal behavior is tolerable. Both James von Brunn and Scott Roeder, the alleged murderer of Dr. Tiller, have significant rap sheets and ongoing associations with right wing extremist groups.

We have heard from Limbaugh, Gingrich et al about what is tolerable- or not. Now I want to hear how these murders play out under the rule of law.


Dave Sparling June 10, 2009 at 9:43 pm

What we need to do is distinguish between your every day right wing nut, and the well organized CIA covert soldiers of fortune. For years the latter operated all over the world, but not in America. Since 1963 that is no longer true. So before you chalk the latest nut as a old fashion home grown nut, you have to look at who most benefits from the publicity. Remember we now live in a world where governments are not necessarily looking out for the best interests of the masses.


doug porter June 10, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Apocalyptic aggression is fueled by right-wing pundits who demonize scapegoated groups and individuals in our society, implying that it is urgent to stop them from wrecking the nation. Some angry people already believe conspiracy theories in which the same scapegoats are portrayed as subversive, destructive, or evil. Add in aggressive apocalyptic ideas that suggest time is running out and quick action mandatory and you have a perfect storm of mobilized resentment threatening to rain bigotry and violence across the United States.


lane tobias June 11, 2009 at 8:43 am

one of my main complaints is that the big news outlets who ran the story did not adjust their coverage upon finding out that the security guard had died from his wounds. They continued to post more and more information about the shooter. You can argue it was out of respect for the family of the deceased, but I can’t see how it benefits people to know more about an extremist’s life history and rap sheet than the life of a security guard who was killed while protecting a high risk location in our nation’s capital.

Recently a man who was “brainwashed” while living in an Islamic state also committed a similar act of “domestic” terrorism, killing an army recruiter on his way to work. All three of these acts were similar in that the main purpose was to scare people into thinking that nobody is safe: a high profile doctor and abortion rights activist, an army recruiter walking to work in his safe zone (the deep South, where it probably isn’t as hard to recruit someone into the army as it is in say, Brooklyn) and a security guard working at one of Washington’s most visited tourist destinations.

i for one bought into it, thinking that I had to be extra cautious at work yesterday. so guess what? these murderers have accomplished their goals.



mr fresh June 11, 2009 at 9:36 am

well, the department of homeland security DID try to warn us…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL7iY5uarA8&feature=channel


jon June 11, 2009 at 10:36 am

This sickens me. And what sickens me more is the way the Republican right wing nuts appear to be escalating this great cultural divide. It’s terrorism plain and simple. If we really are at war with “terror” and not Islam, why isn’t the CIA infiltrating these hate groups and detaining domestic terrorists in places like Gitmo?


Dave Gilbert June 11, 2009 at 1:49 pm

“I should be appointed border czar.”

You got my vote Lane!


Dave Sparling June 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm

I just wrote about this kind of stuff on iReports,



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