White supremacist kills guard at Holocaust Museum

posted at 4:39 pm on June 10, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

An 89-year-old white supremacist attacked guards at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC today, killing one guard before taking a bullet himself.  James Von Brunn, well-known in the lunatic fringe that is white supremacism, had attempted a similar attack in 1981 at the Federal Reserve, and had been on the radar screens of watchdogs for years:

The suspect in Wednesday’s shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is James von Brunn, an 88-year-old white supremacist from Maryland, two law enforcement officials told CNN.

Von Brunn served six years in prison on federal attempted kidnapping, assault and firearms charges after what he called a “legal, nonviolent citizens arrest” of members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

On his Web site, “Holy Western Empire,” von Brunn said he was “convicted by a Negro jury, Jew/Negro attorneys, and sentenced to prison for eleven years by a Jew judge.”

“He is in our files going back way into the 1980s,” said Heidi Beirich, a researcher for the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center.

“He has extremely long history with neo-Nazis and white supremacists. He’s written extremely incendiary publications, raging about Jews, blacks and the like.”

Yet again, we have a despicable attack based on hatred and political extremism, the third such attack in two weeks to result in fatalities.  Doubtless many people will try to find ways to score political points, like the e-mailer who waited a whole 20 minutes to blame conservatives for dismissing the DHS report on right-wing extremism for this tragedy. To that, I’d respond that our criticism was that the DHS report didn’t focus on known, specific threats, instead making generalized threats about abortion opponents and other vague and broad generalizations about conservative issues.  In fact, it never mentioned Holocaust denial at all, nor did it mention anti-semitism at all [see Update V below], either; those terms don’t appear at all in the report.  And despite being well-known as a threat since the 1980s, the DHS never bothered to identify von Brunn or his organization as a specific threat in the report — which, again, was the heart of our criticism.

Michelle notes that one prominent blogger on the Left is already twittering that the Tea Party movement is to blame for the attack, which is as nutty an observation as anything I’ve heard.  What do the anti-tax Tea Parties have to do with anti-Semitism? Only in the fevered imaginations of the most extreme on the Left can they imagine that groups calling for less government have something in common with neo-Nazis. And it certainly wasn’t a conservative talking about Jewish conspiracies in government earlier today.

People who commit crimes bear the entire responsibility for those crimes.  Assigning guilt, real or imagined, to groups rather than individuals for their own actions is one of the reasons we have to have a Holocaust Memorial at all.  It’s the kind of thinking that leads to genocide when allowed to run to run to its extreme.

Meanwhile, our prayers go to the family of the murdered guard and all who were traumatized by this shooting, which is where our thoughts should be, rather than political fingerpointing.

Update: Kathy Shaidle reports on von Brunn’s ideology, which was hardly “conservative” or even “right wing”.  He was also a Truther.  That doesn’t make all Truthers responsible for this attack, either.

Update II: As Mary Katharine Ham and Brian Faughnan said on Twitter, Godspeed, Stephen Tyrone Johns:

Update: My meaning was that white supremacism is lunatic fringe, but some people misunderstood it. I;ve rewritten the sentence for more clarity.

Update IV: Tommy Christopher:

Now, where does that leave Wright and Von Brunn?  While their actions are, by no means, equivalent, Wright’s comment betrays a bigotry toward Jews that would seem right at home in Von Brunn’s repertoire.  But, put to Clouthier’s voting booth test, how do we divvy these two up?

The answer is, we don’t.  If we do, we do so at our own peril.  While we waste time playing “pin the tail on the ideology,” we distract from the real enemies of freedom, who reside neither on the Right nor the Left, but beneath them.

Exactly.

Update V: I wrote that the report didn’t mention anti-Semitism, but it actually did.  It talked about anti-Semitic extremists.  I did a search on “semitism” and not “Semitic”, and I should have done both.  Sloppy work.  I apologize.

Update VI: Balloon Juice’s John Cole calls this the dumbest thing he’s read on the internet:

Anyone want to explain some of the many reasons why they might not have released the names of people under investigation by various federal agencies in an openly published DHS report (notwithstanding the central fact that identifying specific threats was not the intent of the damned thing in the first place)?

Gee, John, then why did the report on left-wing extremism actually name the groups that posed a threat?

(U//FOUO) DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines leftwing extremists as groups or individuals who embrace radical elements of the anarchist, animal rights, or environmental movements and are often willing to violate the law to achieve their objectives. Many leftwing extremist groups are not hierarchically ordered with defined members, leaders, or chain of command structures but operate as loosely-connected underground movements composed of “lone wolves,” small cells, and splinter groups.

— (U//LES) Animal rights and environmental extremists seek to end the perceived abuse and suffering of animals and the degradation of the natural environment perpetrated by humans. They use non-violent and violent tactics that, at times, violate criminal law. Many of these extremists claim they are conducting these activities on behalf of two of the most active groups, the Animal Liberation Front and its sister organization, the Earth Liberation Front. Other prominent groups include Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty; and chapters within the Animal Defense League, and Earth First!.

— (U//FOUO) Anarchist extremists generally embrace a number of radical philosophical components of anticapitalist, antiglobalization, communist, socialist, and other movements. Anarchist groups seek abolition of social, political, and economic hierarchies, including Western-style governments and large business enterprises, and frequently advocate criminal actions of varying scale and scope to accomplish their goals. Anarchist extremist groups include entities within Crimethinc, the Ruckus Society, and Recreate 68.

Again, had the DHS focused on actual threats, then von Brunn — who had already committed a violent attack on the Federal Reserve and who was well known to the SLPC — and his organization might have been highlighted.  Not to mention that the report is supposed to help law enforcement identify actual threats, not have them play guessing games and encourage them to spy on normal political activity.


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So they can have a cocktail weenie with the rest of the Liberals at the party.
kingsjester on June 11, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Same self-destructive behavior as some Catholics then – maybe some people are just too stupid to vote.

dpierson on June 11, 2009 at 12:43 PM

And that is a shame.

kingsjester on June 11, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Don’t burn another brain cell on this one…

ladyingray on June 11, 2009 at 12:49 PM

ladyingray on June 11, 2009 at 12:49 PM

I won’t. That’s why I disengaged from Theo last night. He had his opinion and we were entitled to it.

kingsjester on June 11, 2009 at 12:56 PM

kingsjester on June 11, 2009 at 12:56 PM

I saw that…I was cheering you on.

ladyingray on June 11, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Loxodonta on June 11, 2009 at 12:07 AM

Thank you very much for that link about Private Quinton Ezeagwula.

baldilocks on June 11, 2009 at 1:15 PM

I couldn’t take the time to read through 6 pages of thread comments. I’m too busy clinging to my Bible and guns…..

44Magnum on June 11, 2009 at 2:13 PM

Well, well, well, look who is actually a REGISTERED DEMOCRAT, in Maryland!

http://macsmind.com/wordpress/2009/06/10/james-von-brunn-like-most-holocaust-deniers-are-from-the-left-not-the-right/

I guess that confirms he’s “Rightwing”, Huh?

Yeah, that’s it….

Dale in Atlanta on June 11, 2009 at 2:44 PM

Oh snap.

Well it makes sense, Democrats hate Jews and Israel.

SouthernGal on June 11, 2009 at 2:53 PM

Wait, so the report doesn’t count because it doesn’t identify specific individuals? That’s on par with the left having a fit because all the airlines weren’t shut down because of a nonspecific threat prior to 9-11. You are better than this, Ed.

Even worse, there seem to be commenters trying to make this a left wing issue and attempting to deflect it. Nazism is a right wing ideology.

There’s some bad crazy going on with the American right, right now. You’d best get a handle on it.

Krydor on June 11, 2009 at 3:06 PM

People who say Nazism is left-wing are just projecting. It’s a defense mechanism.

SouthernGal on June 11, 2009 at 3:13 PM

SouthernGal on June 11, 2009 at 3:13 PM

This from someone who regularly projects onto political opponents and uses defense mechanisms to protect political allies.

Loxodonta on June 11, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Nope.

SouthernGal on June 11, 2009 at 3:21 PM

Nazism is a right wing ideology.

There’s some bad crazy going on with the American right, right now. You’d best get a handle on it.

Krydor on June 11, 2009 at 3:06 PM

Day late and a Dollar short, Leftwing Nutbag, you and your Anti-American kind have lost that argument from the first page on this thread!

Nazis…Leftwing….Socialist. End. Of. Story. You. Lose!

Dale in Atlanta on June 11, 2009 at 3:26 PM

People who say Nazism is left-wing are just projecting. It’s a defense mechanism.

SouthernGal on June 11, 2009 at 3:13 PM

NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS PARTY…

oh yeah that sounds real ‘right wing’ :rolleyes:

do you think the name of the nazi party was all part of some conspiracy to hide the ‘truth’???

you’re either a liar, or incredibly ignorant.

right4life on June 11, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Even worse, there seem to be commenters trying to make this a left wing issue and attempting to deflect it. Nazism is a right wing ideology.

Krydor on June 11, 2009 at 3:06 PM

more stupidity.

explain how a party with SOCIALIST as part of its name is some ‘right wing’ party…this should be good….

right4life on June 11, 2009 at 3:31 PM

right4Life,

As soon as you explain how a nation with the word ‘Republic’ in it actually isn’t one (People’s Republic of China).

If that is the argument “they have SOCIALIST in their name”, then you are not worth my time. How about you look at the economic program of the Nazi Party of Germany?

At one point, conservatism was a haven for the intellectual. Now, all that is left is rabble. Good luck with that.

Krydor on June 11, 2009 at 3:37 PM

It seems everyone wants to “blame” a wing. This guy hated just about everyone. He was a nut case and the guards deaths are a tragedy.

Bevan on June 11, 2009 at 3:42 PM

As soon as you explain how a nation with the word ‘Republic’ in it actually isn’t one (People’s Republic of China).

If that is the argument “they have SOCIALIST in their name”, then you are not worth my time. How about you look at the economic program of the Nazi Party of Germany?

At one point, conservatism was a haven for the intellectual. Now, all that is left is rabble. Good luck with that.

Krydor on June 11, 2009 at 3:37 PM

in other words, you can’t answer, no surprise.

as far as a ‘republic’

(1): a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president (2): a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government b

so by that definition, any country can call themselves a ‘republic’ doesn’t mean much ..but socialist on the other hand…

one who advocates or practices socialism

1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

and thats what nazi germany was all about…thats what fascism is all about…

fascism is just another name for socialism…the government runs everything and has private owners in name only…how dumb are you???

oh you’re a lib, so I guess that explains it…loser.

right4life on June 11, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Why, after all the batshit insane, anti Conservative, anti Christian, drivel that Charles has posted as of late, is LGF still linked to this site?

Seriously, is there some secret deal we’re not aware of?

You-Eh-Vee on June 10, 2009 at 7:01 PM

For the same reason that drunk slob Hitchens is frequently linked to. It’s teh atheist brotherhood.

Aristotle on June 11, 2009 at 4:20 PM

People who say Nazism is left-wing are just projecting. It’s a defense mechanism.

SouthernGal on June 11, 2009 at 3:13 PM

By your illogic, if fascism is right-wing then so is socialism, (they’re nearly identical), and HotAir is a left-wing blog.

So even by your logic you still can’t separate yourself from the lefts own history.

FloatingRock on June 11, 2009 at 5:34 PM

As soon as you explain how a nation with the word ‘Republic’ in it actually isn’t one (People’s Republic of China).

Krydor on June 11, 2009 at 3:37 PM

If you only consider the names and the context of reality you might have a point, but the reality is that the NAZI party actually was, factually, fascist. This is widely recognized by all but the most extreme nutcases on the fringe. Fascism is factually, by it’s very definition, a variation of socialism, so unless you’re going to argue that socialism is right-wing as well, your argument is simply preposterous.

FloatingRock on June 11, 2009 at 5:39 PM

If you only consider the names and ignore the context of reality you might have a point

FIFM

FloatingRock on June 11, 2009 at 5:40 PM

How about you look at the economic program of the Nazi Party of Germany?

Krydor on June 11, 2009 at 3:37 PM

Please do, you’ll find we’re absolutely correct.

FloatingRock on June 11, 2009 at 5:41 PM

It seems everyone wants to “blame” a wing. This guy hated just about everyone. He was a nut case and the guards deaths are a tragedy.

Bevan on June 11, 2009 at 3:42 PM

I agree, however the only way to honestly refute the point that the guy was right-wing is to explain why he’s not, and I don’t know how that can be done without acknowledging where he would actually fall into the political spectrum, if anywhere.

When I began this argument yesterday I didn’t know much of anything about the shooter except that he had ties to neo-Nazis, (so I chose to discuss Hitler instead), but all the evidence that’s come out since then only bolsters my argument in the current case.

FloatingRock on June 11, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Krydor,they can’t very well use the Peoples Oppressive Communist Regime of China.Their dogma requires the lie,just like modern “progressives” don’t go around calling themselves the commie statist’s that they are any more.The nazi’s actually had the truth in advertising in their title.
SouthernGal,any totalitarian leaning form of gov is by def. leftist.See my poorly executed link on page 4 of this thread for the breakdown of the forms of government left to right.

McBride on June 11, 2009 at 6:00 PM

Hmmm our President flirts with a holocaust denier in Iran who plans for the destruction of Israel and this guy does this…. I think he found support in the actions and words of Obama and the democrats.

CWforFreedom on June 11, 2009 at 7:32 PM

Ok enough already…. we righties will take responsibility for this one. / sarc

Of course if we did then the left would have to take responsibility for the following deaths:

# 65 million in the People’s Republic of China
# 20 million in the Soviet Union
# 2 million in Cambodia
# 2 million in North Korea
# 1 million in the Communist states of Eastern Europe
# 1 million in Vietnam

CWforFreedom on June 11, 2009 at 7:36 PM

The killer is left wing

* He hates Bush.
* He hates the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
* Hates Jews and blacks.
* Holocaust denier.
* Hates Christians, especially Catholics.
* Doesn’t think Hitler went far enough.
* He is a 9-11 Troother.
* Anti-Illuminati.
* Eugenicist.
* Perhaps most importantly, ex-military.
* Alternately, perhaps most importantly, is a Nirther.

CWforFreedom on June 11, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Please do, you’ll find we’re absolutely correct.

FloatingRock on June 11, 2009 at 5:41 PM

Yes, because private enterprise is a lynchpin of socialism… I don’t know who started the meme that Nazism was of the left, but I know why they did it.

What the heck is happening to you people? At one time, this blog was not part of that Bircher/Freeper mass hysteria. Stop normalizing the fringe and for the love of whatever it is you worship, read a book not written by one of the darlings of the right. This echo chamber feedback loop is rotting your minds.

Krydor on June 12, 2009 at 10:02 AM

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