Recently in Washington D.C., a tragedy unfolded that cost an innocent man his life when Mr. James von Brunn walked through the doors of the Holocaust Museum, and shot the guard who had just held the door open for this 88-year old man. Thanks to the quick actions of the other security agents, a worse tragedy was avoided.
Quickly, we learned a great deal about the shooter. We learned that he is a white supremacist, a holocaust denier and a 9/11 conspirator who maintained that “The Diary of Anne Frank” was a hoax. Mr. von Brunn was also the source of an anti-Semitic Web site he called “The Holy Western Empire.” He had hatred toward Jews, Blacks, Christians and the Government. In the 1980’s, he served 6.5 years in prison for attempting to carry out what he termed a “citizen’s arrest” against the “treasonous” Federal Reserve Board of Governors, who he was upset with over high interest rates and economic turmoil. Upon his arrest that day, he was found in possession of a sawed off shotgun, a revolver and a knife. He blamed his conviction on “a Negro jury, Jew and Negro attorneys, and was sentenced to prison for eleven years by a Jew judge.” He also notes that “A Jew, Negro and White Court of Appeals denied his appeal.” Beyond the Holocaust Museum, evidence found in his car revealed a list of other Washington D.C. targets including the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Post and a FOX News location. He was paranoid, hated liberals and conservatives alike. He was, by all accounts of civility, morality and decency, a complete loon.
Sadly, this is not the most tragic twist in this event. Equally horrendous in its implications, it took less than 24 hours for the American culture of the 21st century to devalue this tragic event into a debate over whether the killer was more influenced in his mind by liberal/Democratic or conservative/Republican thinking.
Pundits whose job should be to debate the finer points of our society and opinions for the public good, took it upon themselves, instead, to assign these points in a tragic fashion with shameful attempts to align one side or the other with Mr. von Brunn. From conservative whine radio to FOX News, from CNN to MSNBC and street level debates, the conversation that dominated was an evaluation which attempted to assign this man into one political and social camp or the other. I do not ever recall a time when the rantings of madmen were given greater growth due to the rantings of the media and public. What has become of us?
In a normal and healthy society, when presented with the actions of individuals, the healthy response is to view such a person as an abnormality that has tragically attempted to present themselves as heroic. It should bring about a united condemnation. Instead, it brought about a public debate over whether he was more of a liberal or a conservative. This sick approach to the thoughts and actions of a lunatic indicates to this author that our society has gone beyond partisan bickering, and advanced to a genuine desire to see the “United” eliminated from the United States.
“United” we stand was the rallying cry for a country struck on 9/11. Examinations of circumstances that led to 9/11 gave birth to normal (for us) partisan bickering to assign blame for missed signs and opportunities. However, today we have moved beyond an examination of circumstances, and, instead, are eager to find not just blame but an association. We seem to actually want to read the writings of a madman in order to present an argument as to why the opposition owns them.
I can only imagine what will befall this country when, next, an attack takes place on our shores. Will we come together (however briefly), and stand united as one country, again? Or will we take our new found need to hate one another beyond any reason, and try to assign a political party agenda to foreign terrorists?
It comes down to this, if your first thought upon hearing of this event was that the Mr. von Brunn was liberal-like or conservative-like in his thinking, then let that serve as an indication to you that you have stopped thinking.
Lloyd E. Flyer is a freelance writer and may be contacted through the “Tolucan Times” or at Alternateangle@pacbell.net.