In our gun happy culture, it’s no surprise that a convicted felon would gain access to guns and use them to kill someone. That’s precisely what James Von Brunn, who attacked the U.S Holocaust Museum earlier this week and killed an African-American security guard, did. As such, he had no legal right to own any weapon (as I understand the law). So how did he do it?
Thanks to M.J. Rosenberg for pointing me to this CNN report that reveals he used a Winchester rifle (!) made sometime between 1908 and 1920. How’s that for an antique? We shouldn’t be surprised that a man who served in World War II and who espoused views that would make him at home in Nazi Germany circa 1933, owned a weapon about as dusty as his ideas. Clearly von Brunn, at least in this particular, managed to circumvent the law.
But he also owned another weapon:
Mr. von Brunn brought a .22-caliber rifle and a .30-30 rifle when he moved into an apartment in Annapolis, Md., two years ago, according to the affidavit. The police recovered the .30-30 as well as ammunition for a .22 from his bedroom after the museum attack.
While it seems hopeless to topple the gun lobby in this country, at least we can demand that authorities trace these weapons and punish anyone stupid enough to sell one to a violent thug and felon like von Brunn.
I’m also distressed to find that embarrassed websites and web hosts are erasing many vestiges of von Brunn’s sojourn online. His website, Holy Western Empire, has been taken down by its host. von Brunn’s Wikipedia account and biography have been scrubbed clean. In these instances all I can say is thank God for the Internet Archive and Wikileaks. TPM Cafe has also uploaded many of his writings for the record.
It is interesting that before someone commits murder you can’t get a web host to do a thing about the hate they post to websites (we’ve had that problem with Masada2000 and its webhost, Dreamhost). Nor can you get the police to investigate their threats and other activities (just ask the Seattle Police Department and FBI about defenestration and genital mutilation threats sent to me which they refuse to investigate). But then after haters do strike and the damage is done, they rush to obliterate the killer’s identity and existence. A bit hypocritical I think.
Some Comment is Free commenters noted that Abe Foxman did not, as I predicted, tie the shooting to Iran or the vast Islamist conspiracy. No, that honor goes to Jennifer Lazlo Mizrahi, director of the Israel Project who actually had the self-promotional cahones to write a press release in which she claimed that the Maryland police would’ve stopped von Brunn had they only investigated him when he allegedly distributed hate flyers on her doorstep. She goes on:
Today we are talking about Iran – and the possible re-election of a man who denies the Holocaust and has said he wants to see Israel wiped off the map.
We need to keep the lessons of history in our minds. Even if that memory is from just yesterday – when an innocent man was murdered in cold blood.
I am pleased that President Obama has spoken out forcefully about the culture of hate in the Arab world – and the senseless act from yesterday.
Thanks to Ali Gharib for catching this. Abe, I owe you an apology on this one. We’ll catch you another time. The credit for such sky-is-falling exploitation of tragedy for political advantage goes to the Israel Project this time.
And if we want to go even farther afield in the universe, we can always catch Debbie Schlussel orbiting out there somewhere around planet [Pam] Geller. Here’s what Deb writes:
…The shooter…at the U.S. Holocaust Museum is not a Muslim but a White guy, James W. Von Brunn, who is a neo-Nazi.
But that is a distinction without a difference. In fact, it is because of Muslims–who are the biggest contributor to the worldwide rise in anti-Semitism to Holocaust-eve levels–that neo-Nazis feel comfortable–far more comfortable!–manifesting their views about Jews. Until 9/11 and our resulting new tolerance for Islam, the neo-Nazi types were marginalized and howling at the wind. We know who has been targeting Jewish museums and centers affiliated with Jews in recent years. And it hasn’t been, in general, 89-year-old White guys…
Can you imagine there are actually people in the world who admire this woman? In my opinion, she von Brunn and bin Laden were made for each other. The views of one are more paranoiac and pathological than the other.