Opinion Piece: Hatred in America
Earlier this week brought another in a series of examples of hatred being expressed in America by someone from one group or another against some other group. We've seen our share of hatred through our Nation's history and across the globe.
Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered because of hatred of Blacks. His killing was not so much for political reasons than it was for the ignorance of one man, James Earl Ray. It is said that Nichols and McVeigh attacked the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 to lash out against the Federal Government.So, James Von Brunn is not the last and certainly was not the first to act out in anger and hatred. Von Brunn's hatred of the Jewish people is as irrational as many others who simply blame their sorry lives on a targeted group of people. The papers and media have been strewn with theories and claims that he was pushed to his act of violence at the Holocaust Museum by conservatives or liberals or the acts or words of certain individuals.
But Von Brunn had a history of hate
"The Holocaust is a lie", the note read. "Obama was created by Jews. Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do. Jews captured America's money. Jews control the mass media."
Brunn was so good at his hatred that at one point he "had his own file with watch groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. He wrote an anti-Semitic text and maintained his conspiracy theories on the Web site."
Of great concern is that both polarized sides of the political rhetoric spectrum, the so-called "liberal" left and the equally so-called "conservative" right blame the other for Von Brunn. One article in the Fox Forum exclaims "Left Blames Holocaust Museum Attack on Conservatives" while the other side of the spectrum at the Daily Kos claims that Von Brunn "was also one of a growing number of people with a misguided, conspiratorial view of the world," and then proceeds to assert that people like Limbaugh and Gingrich and conservative bloggers in general have dragged political discourse to the extreme right. The real problem with that is that too many people will accept that view and adopt it as their own.
What can be another view? James Von Brunn was an avowed Holocaust denier. That "belief," however aberrant in the face of truth and reality, is more widely held than many would like to think. There is a man who refused to see the movie "Schindler's List" because he felt that it was a work of fiction. Luckily, that man's ignorance was not passed to his children. So Von Brunn went to the Holocaust Memorial to play out his hatred of Jewish people. How ironic is it that Von Brunn would go to a place memorializing a tragically historic event that he contends never happened, but seeks to kill more people out of his hatred. To those on either of the polarized spectrum who seek to push blame for Von Brunn's hatred on the other, perhaps they should realize that Von Brunn's brand of hatred is neither "right" nor "left." It is simply ignorant.
One of the immediate results of the shooting is that every museum in Washington DC is now reassessing the visibility of their security forces. Of course, in the face of an irrational act like Von Brunn's it is appropriate (moreso) to look at policies and procedures to ensure the safety of visitors. But logically, if the concern is another Von Brunn, then the museum of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is more vulnerable than the Air and Space Museum. In similar fashion, more diligent security at the Smithsonian's Anacostia Commnity Museum that focuses on African American history and culture would be indicated.
Hatred in America comes in many shapes, sizes and colors. Some of that hatred is directed toward religious groups (like people of the Jewish faith) or toward racial groups (like American Blacks). Historically, hatred has spewed against newly arrived immigrant populations. In many ways, these, like the bias toward Italians and the Irish, abated and passed with time. Unfortunately, the hatred and bias against Jews and Blacks lingers. Finally, there are those who believe that people supporting strong immigration laws and security along our Nation's border with Mexico translates to a bias against Mexicans and Hispanics in general. There is a difference, at least in this opinion, between support of the rule of law and hatred toward a group of law abiding people. Regardless, sadly, there is no accounting for ignorance.