by J J Cohen
Most ITM readers will have heard that yesterday afternoon a man double parked his car in from of the the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, quickly entered the building, and shot a guard in the chest. Stephen T. Johns died later in the day at the GW hospital. The attacker would have killed more people had he not been fired upon by other guards. The museum was filled (as it is every summer day) with tourists and school groups. The marble floors were, in the wake of the shootings, streaked with blood.
James W. von Brunn, the murderer, is described in most media reports as a hard core white supremacist who even at eighty-eight years of age was posting rage-filled screeds against Jews and African Americans on the internet.
I don't have much to say about this event other than it breaks my heart. I keep thinking of Stephen Johns, who died because he was near the door of a space that should not need such protection. I spent yesterday writing about Matthew Paris's narration of the Hugh of Lincoln story, a narrative in which nineteen Jews are gruesomely murdered for a crime they clearly did not commit. I wondered what could cause a person to be possessed by such hatred of those whom they live among that they could convince themselves that their murder should be accomplished by their own hands. I wondered how you can look upon someone you do not know with such animosity that even their pain, their dying blood, will not move you to compassion.