Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Holocaust museum shooter identified

The suspect is a Holocaust denier who once tried to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve Board (something he calls "citizen's arrest"). James Von Brunn managed to kill a guard before being shot himself, and is currently in critical condition.
He is described as a "frustrated artist," who angrily stomped out of a gallery that wouldn't show his work. On his website he describes a childhood bully, service in World War II and many problems he blames on Jews and other minorities.
Because he was caught early in his rampage, and is currently in no condition to explain himself, it's difficult to tell exactly what Von Brunn's motives were. His rhetoric and choice of location suggest an ideologically motivated assault, but, going into a federal museum with little effort to hide his weapons, and killing the first person he encountered with security everywhere guaranteed that he would be caught almost immediately. The sheer amount of his arms also guaranteed that security would feel impelled to use force, so was this an attempted "suicide by cop," as many mass murders have ended? In addition to racist anger that the Jews are "undermining" the white race with the "browning of America," Von Brunn's website describes various perceived personal hardships, the kind that can lead an unstable mind to mass murder culminating in suicide. I think psychologists have said that this level of hatred in an individual can be traced to a projection of self-loathing, at least in some cases. But Von Brunn isn't talking right now, and at the moment, all we have to go on is his self-aggrandizing website and the details of an appalling but poorly executed crime.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Suspect in Dr. Tiller's murder held;_ylt=AjSM8xOQdCHG6BZAkb560Nqs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTJrM3Iwams1BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkwNjAxL3VzX3RpbGxlcl9zaG9vdGluZwRjcG9zAzMEcG9zAzEwBHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcnkEc2xrA3N1c3BlY3RqYWlsZQ--

A man tangentially affiliated with the disgusting anti-abortion group Operation Rescue has been arrested, but not formally charged, with the murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. Dr. Tiller was shot in church, which makes the crime particularly appalling. While I'm not fan of organized religion, someone goes to church (usually) to achieve a certain type of peace and spiritual solace. Also, if these "prolife" types are all about upholding the laws of God, wouldn't shooting someone in a church violate the sanctity of "God's house"? Under Kansas law, the man who reportedly made veiled threats against Dr. Tiller on Operation Rescue's website can be held for 48 hours before charges have to be filed.
I have been of mixed opinion on Barack Obama's presidential actions so far, but I felt his response to this event was appropriate and, as is characteristic, quite eloquent (paraphrase): "No matter how we differ on the complex subject of abortion, these conflicts cannot and should not be resolved through heinous violence." While one Operation Rescue spokesperson condemned the killing as "vigilantism," the group's founder, the truly reprehensible Randall Terry, refuses to show any sign of sympathy for a man killed while sitting in church, referring to him as a "mass murderer" and "evil." I thought these people were trying to support every human being's "right to life." I guess those principles don't apply to killers who act on the anti-abortion agenda, at least to Terry, who has openly advocated hate and intolerance. Check some of his past speeches if you don't believe me.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tiller's family and friends remember him fondly as a good man devoted to the right to choose for women, and he will be another victim of assassination who, instead of furthering the assassin's cause, becomes a martyr and rallying symbol for the values the killer wanted to destroy.