Free Markets, Free People

Prepare To Be Smeared

Stephen Tyrone Johns lost his life today at the hands of a deranged man who terrorized the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC:

A Holocaust Museum guard died after being shot Wednesday in the crowded attraction and a gunman was seriously wounded in return fire, authorities said. The incident left panic-stricken visitors dashing for exits, witnesses said.

“Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns died heroically in the line of duty today,” a late-afternoon museum statement said. “There are no words to express our grief and shock over these events.

“He served on the museum’s security staff for six years. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Johns’ family.”

If you are of the type to be deemed “right wing” by anyone who considers themselves not to be right-wing, then after saying a prayer for Mr. Johns and his family prepare yourself for the onslaught of comparisons that will be made between you and Mr. James Wenneker von Brunn:

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier believes the suspect was acting alone when he entered the museum just before 1 p.m., raised his rifle and began shooting. The suspect started shooting before going through metal detectors, Lanier says.

Von Brunn is said to be affiliated with white supremacist web sites.

Federal law enforcement sources tell WTOP Von Brunn is a convicted felon. He had been convicted of bringing weapons into the Federal Reserve and served time in a federal penitentiary.

A Web site apparently linked to Von Brunn contains Anti-Semitic and racist writings and promotes a book written by Von Brunn. The biography section of the Web site says Von Brunn was born in 1920, was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserves and a captain of a patrol torpedo boat during World War II and received four battle stars.

After a career in New York City as a copywriter and art director, Von Brunn now lives on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where he is an artist, according to the Web site.

Because Mr. von Brunn was associated with anti-semitic and neo-nazi hate groups he will automatically be deemed “right wing” just like you. Nevermind that he also seems to have supported other, not-so-right-wing causes as well, or that just today a famous anti-semitic buddy of the President’s resurfaced with a timely quote. As someone labeled “right wing” you will now be forced to carry the von Brunn albatross around your neck.

Moreover, Gaia help you if you squawked about being lumped in with such extremist nutjobs when that DHS report came out, because that only proves their point that you, too, are a right-wing hater who approves of all such vicious murders. And no, there is nothing ironic about the fact that the non-right-wingers are now doing the same thing to you that the DHS report did because you complained about the DHS report doing it. Nothing wrong with that at all, nosiree.

So be prepared, because the caterwauling is coming. Indeed, as Legal Insurrection notes, it didn’t take very long at all for this meme to start up:

Although the shooting is only hours old, numerous blogs already are attempting to tie the act of violence to conservatives and criticism of the Obama administration’s overly broad definition of those who are “extremists.” Posts such as “this looks like the latest episode in what is looking like the spate of right-wing violence we’ve been predicting” or “the right wing has lost whatever restraint it had” or “perhaps it’ll be time to revisit all that criticism of the DHS report” are highly irresponsible attempts to take political advantage of this apparently lone-wolf tragedy.

Ed Morrissey takes on the DHS angle:

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, either; those terms don’t appear at all in the report. [ed. – my emphasis] 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.

To be fair, I have come across one sane “non-right-winger” who seems to understand that a nut is a nut (internal links omitted):

The suspect, James Von Brunn, appears to be a neo-Nazi/white supremacist. This is not an extension of the Republican Party’s, or religious rights’, ideology. There is no question that Tiller’s suspected murderer, Roeder, had direct connections to rightwing propaganda — I drew those connections in this post.

Von Brunn is different. This kook is a neo-Nazi conspiracy theoriest with no connection to the mainstream right. As evidence, here’s his Internet paper trail: an archive of his website “”. (The reference to the Germanic Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages should be obvious.) Explore his website if you want (I’m not wasting my time), but keep two questions in mind: Do you see links to mainstream rightwing sites? And did any mainstream rightwing websites pay attention to him. Perhaps I need to do more research before answering these questions, but after a cursory look at Von Brunn’s website — as well as trolling rightwing blogs for ages — I think the answers to these questions are no and no.

Tensions are running high and it’s easy to try making a connection between the GOP and people like Von Brunn, but that connection just isn’t logical. Neo-Nazis stand apart from the rest. Let’s not confuse the two.

Despite the reasonableness above, the insanity is already gathering a good deal of speed. By tomorrow night I expect there to be major news reports about the life of von Brunn, how he was connected to neo-nazi groups, how he hated Obama, as well as deep probing questions about how we stop the rising tide of right-wing hate. I would also venture to guess that there will be speculation about whether Dr. Tiller’s murder, von Brunn and that guy from Pittsburgh knew each other, or whether they were in any way affiliated. Their guilt would be further extended to anyone who possibly uttered a conservative idea that sounds vaguely like one expressed by one of the nutjobs, especially if it has a general anti-government flair. In fact, don’t be surprised if Tea Parties are somehow made to blame for all of it.

All because two mentally challenged individuals killed two people. I guess the old Michael Moore-ish pooh-poohing of the fight against terrorism because there is so little chance of your actually dying from it has gone out the window. Of course, if the “non-right-wingers” getting on their collective high horse now had shown even an inkling of the same interest in fighting terrorism as they are exhibiting in their zeal to combat right-wing extremism, then the chances of being killed by a terrorist might be too small to measure.

Nevertheless, extremists have killed and you will be blamed. Consider yourself warned.

UPDATE: As of June 11, 2009 at 12:30 AM ET, Memeorandum has the Rev. Wright story as the lead post to the entire discussion of the Holocaust Museum murder. Hmmmmmm …

* Correction: Originally, the post identified the victim by the last name of Jones. It has been corrected to show the victim’s last name as Johns.

29 Responses to Prepare To Be Smeared

  • Don’t forget about the obligatory calls to ban guns.

  • If they want to play games it seems to me a better connection could be made between Obama and Reverend Wright to this incidence.  

    • Well, there you go being all rational and stuff.  That’ll never fly in the “reality based” community.

      • F**k ’em then, and the pale horse they rode in on.

      • You rightly conclude that these are the actions of lone nutbags.

        After you suggest that it would be foolish to cast these nutbags as having any kind of connection to the right-wing, Brown comes in here and states that a better connection could be made between Obama and Wright “to this incident.”
        To which you call “rational.”


        Let’s see it.
        How is it “rational” that Obama is connected to this incident?

        • I guess you weren’t privy to Rev. Wright’s offerings today (or any other day for that matter):

          Asked if he had spoken to the President, Wright said: “Them Jews aren’t going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter, that he’ll talk to me in five years when he’s a lame duck, or in eight years when he’s out of office…

          Wright also said Obama should have sent a U.S. delegation to the World Conference on Racism held recently in Geneva, Switzerland, but that the president did not do so for fear of offending Jews and Israel.

          “Ethic cleansing is going on in Gaza. Ethnic cleansing of the Zionist is a sin and a crime against humanity, and they don’t want Barack talking like that because that’s anti-Israel,” Wright said.

          The fact is, none of this has anything to do with Obama, but if the howlers are going to follow their own logic, then Rev. Wright is just as culpable and “right-wing” as the nutjob who offed a security guard.  After all, he’s out there spreading the same nonsense as the murder here.

          • Well it’s good to read that you don’t believe Obama has any connection to this.  And I assume that the whole “rational” bit was a taste of your dry humor.

            I did hear what Wright said.  I do have an AM radio in my truck.  And no, I wasn’t privy to that information, as it was widely discussed in many o’ medium.
            Unless your use of the word “privy” was more of your brand of dry humor.

            Really, … really, dry.   😉

            Wow.  For some reason I’m very parched right now.


        • If they want to play games it seems to me ….

          Just in case you missed that part.

        • Wow.  For some reason I’m very parched right now.

          Here, Pogue, this oughta help:  Balvenie Doublewood 12yo

        • Context is important. The clause you cite was preceded by “IF THEY WANT TO PLAY GAMES…”, followed by the conditional ” …could be made…” That makes a difference. Your bias is showing.

          • Your bias is showing.

            Well that’s embarrassing.  I usually check my zipper when I come here.

            No.  Me?  I’m an equal opportunity assh*le.

            You should know that tim.

  • Oh geez.  He was a right wing kook.  There are right wing kooks and left wing kooks out there.   If you look at the report that DHS issued warning about the far right, it’s accurate.   This is an example of what they were warning about.  If people on the right want to think that ‘right wing extremism’ defines them, that’s ridiculous.  Just as there is a difference between warning about left wing terrorist organizations in the past like the Simbonese Liberation Army and the Weathermen and people who are generally quite liberal or social democratic, there is a huge difference between right wing extremists and conservatives or libertarians who consider themselves on the right.   I think you should simply agree to condemn right wing (and left wing) extremists who would resort to violence, and embrace the fact that you are not one of them.  It’s weird paranoia to think that the DHS report would apply to conservatives and everyone on the right.  Sheesh.

    • I think …

      While I dispute the premise, I also wonder who gives a f*** what you think? 

      • You can’t answer the content of my post.  You are a blogger.  I have an MA from Johns Hopkins SAIS and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, and I teach young minds daily.  I don’t think you really understand the issues at hand (I know you don’t).  I will help educate you, if you show the will to learn.  Of course, in blogoworld, it’s emotion and irrationality that rule, so I guess you can persist in your delusion.  Thank god you don’t teach!  You make arrogance easy.  Now, change the tone of your response, and I’ll change the tone of mine, and we can communicate.  Or you can be dismissive, and I can dismiss you — with authority!

        • Oh, Ott Scerb, you’re being really unfair to … oh wait.

          Fact is, Professor, I don’t really care about your credentials (as they were) and I don’t expect anyone to care about mine.  The reason you don’t get a response to the “content” of your post is because, as per usual, you’ve added nothing to conversation that I started.  Instead you intend to hijack the discussion towards your own rather egotistical ends.  I don’t care about your ego, and I certainly don’t care what you think I should or should not do.  If you want to play here, then have the courtesy and wherewithal to at least stay on topic.  Until you earn it, there’s no reason to lend any credence whatsoever to your utterings, regardless of how many young minds you warp.

          • “I don’t care about your ego”

            The crux of the matter. If you don’t care about feeding his ego, you are irrelevant. If you insist on committing acts of lese majeste, you are an unlettered fool.

        • Wow.

          If your sh*t was half as good as you think it is, you wouldn’t be stuck at a backwoods teacher’s college posing as a ‘University”, nor would you be spending so much time on the internet, hiding from the real world where you and your ‘credentials’ are probably laughed out of the room.

          Those of us who have acquired a little experience in reality know that credentials don’t mean sh*t.  Published any peer-reviewed Poly Sci. papers lately? Is your work cited by others?

          Isn’t SAIS where that Cuban spy taught? I don’t suppose he was your mentor there, hmmm?

          And really, “You are a blogger”? That is supposed to be some sort of insult?

          On the other hand, this comment sounds so much like Joe that I was actually stunned for a minute or two.  The arrogance shines through like a supernova. Joe, please assure me that it isn’t you.


    • “Oh geez. He was a right wing kook. There are right wing kooks and left wing kooks out there. If you look at the report that DHS issued warning about the far right, it’s accurate. This is an example of what they were warning about.”

      I don’t recall the DHS report mentioning anything about Holocaust denial or anti-semitism… can you point that part out for me please?  And what views did he espouse that are right wing?  I get that he doesn’t like the Federal Reserve, but that’s because he thinks its a Jewish plot to steal all our money… is he on record anywhere making a case for small government or free markets for their own sakes?  And I know he was at Free Republic at some point ranting about Obama, but he also doesn’t seem very fond of Bush, or “neocons”, or Bill O’Reilly, or Fox News, or much of anyone really… the only person he seems to really like is Adolph Hitler, who by the way was a socialist in case you forgot.

  • After reading Liberal Fascism, its really hard to think of Nazis as right wing anymore.

  • This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 6/11/2009, at The Unreligious Right

  • so the day after it’s always nice to compare the reality of how the main stream news media reported the event to man-child mikeW’s angry, paranoid post.  another fail.  mikey is a child, his responses to scott above are just another log on the fire. i don’t understand why q and o allow this boy to post, he’s pathetic.

    • i don’t understand why q and o allow this boy to post, he’s pathetic.

      I’m sure they do it just for you, pedro.  A piñata they hang high above your head to watch you swing aimlessly, amusingly.

      Too bad you don’t have a bigger peter, pedro.  You just might hit something.

    • “i don’t understand why q and o allow this boy to post, he’s pathetic.”

      pedro, I have thought the same of you for years… have you ever noticed that lots of conflicting opinions get posted here?

  • Obviously the DHS report on right wing threats was accurate.   There is a real threat to the health of America’s political discourse, and good conservatives and Republicans should recognize that the radicals on the right are their enemies and condemn them, just as the left should condemn radicals who would shoot army recruiters, and use the rhetoric of Rev. Wright.  More on this: Poisoning the Discourse.

  • Let me see… If I say something bad about Jews, I’m anti-Semite.  If I say something bad about minority races, I’m a racist.  If I say I hate neocons, I’m a right wing conservative.  

    Makes sense to me.