First, the news about the shooting:
An elderly gunman known to authorities as a white supremacist fatally shot a private security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in downtown Washington today before being wounded by guards who returned fire, officials said.
The security guard, who was identified by police as 39-year-old Stephen Tyrone Johns of Temple Hills, Md., and the gunman were both taken to George Washington University Hospital.
Johns died at the hospital, authorities said later, and the gunman was reported to be in critical condition. A third person sustained minor injuries in the incident, according to police.
Museum officials said in a statement that Johns had worked at the museum for six years. The museum said it would be closed tomorrow, and lower its flags to half-staff, to honor Johns’s memory. “There are no words to express our grief,” the statement said.
Indeed. Please remember the family of Stephen Tyrone Johns in your prayers tonight.
A law enforcement source identified the gunman as James W. von Brunn, 88. On an anti-Semitic Web site he apparently maintains extolling a “Holy Western Empire,” von Brunn says he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, worked for 20 years as an advertising executive and film producer in New York and then became “an artist and author” living in Maryland.
A woman who opened the door at von Brunn’s apartment, in a neighborhood outside downtown Annapolis, declined to comment.
Neighbors, who asked that they not be identified, said that they recently invited von Brunn to their home for a drink and that he unexpectedly brought up his belief that the Holocaust did not occur.
“He didn’t believe the Holocaust existed. It was just off the wall,” one of the neighbors said.
One thing we’ve learned about James von Brunn is that he was apparentely a ‘birther’, one of these folks who claims that Barack Obama is not the legitimate president of the United States because he is not a natural born US citizen (this is all the ‘where’s the birth certificate’ nonsense).
The great majority of the people who’re into this stuff are just harmless wingers and nutballs. But this stuff has clearly also permeated the extremist fringe. We’ll be putting more up on this soon. But this is clearly of a piece with rising right-wing extremism and fringe violence that — uncomfortably as it is to say — is rising in tandem in the early months of the Obama presidency.
“Uncomfortably as it is to say” my a$$. I’m sure the left was just hoping and praying once they heard about this tragedy that they could blame it on “extremist right wingers” – and once the AP gleefully reported that the shooter was a “white supremacist,” that’s all lefties like Josh Marshall needed. Let’s forget for a second that, in addition to being a “Birther” von Brunn is also a … drumroll … Truther (via Capt. Ed), a conspiracy group right wingers strongly condemn. He hated “neo-cons,” too (via MM), another group that left wingers despise. Not only that, but, yes, Von Brunn is also a Holocaust denier, and last I checked, the left has more of a problem with Jew haters than the right does. He also wasn’t particularly fond of Christians, another issue that lends itself to being more “left wing” than “right wing.”
But – please – let’s not let the facts get in the way of a full-scale red meat rant againt the “Reich wing,” ok? Let’s just ignore the fact that this guy was an anti-Semite of the worst kind – those who use violence to “get their point across.” Let’s also ignore the fact that this guy is a Holocaust denier much like Iran’s president is – you know, the Islamofascist thug who our President pledged during the campaign to meet without any pre-conditions?
This murderer sounds like a mixed bag, but one whose “anti” tendencies tended to line up more with left wing kooks than right wing kooks. But the mediots have found their white supremacist “buzz words” on von Brunn and the lefties are following suit, and are marching on with the “right wing extremism” theme. It’s a calculated tactic used under the guise of “concern” but of which the real purpose of using is to put conservatives all in one big paint bucket. Forget the broad brush. It’ll be a full-blown dunking.
This is how it’s going to be all summer, I suspect. Just like the one summer a few years back where the media made it sound like there was an escalation in the numbers of kidnapped children (we saw pictures of cute little blonde children on the news every week) when there really was no “epidemic,” and the one recent summer where the media falsely implied there was an “escalation” in the number of shark attacks happening to an unsuspecting public. The media have unofficially declared this as the “summer of right wing extremism” and rest assured from here until school starts back they’ll be scouring stories of random shootings and killings to find out if they have any connection – no matter how thin – to “right wing extremism.”
Gird your loins.