A man police identified as an 88-year-old white supremacist shot and killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Two other guards returned fire and wounded the man, who was taken to to a hospital in critical condition. Police said the gunman—identified by several sources as James von Brunn—simply walked in carrying a rifle and started shooting. (The New York Times)
What the commentators said
James von Brunn's ex-wife described him as an alcoholic whose hatred of Jews and blacks "ate him alive like a cancer," said Rich Schapiro in the New York Daily News. The woman, who asked that her name not be published, said von Brunn vowed to act on his views one day, saying that "he was going to go out with his boots on."
This shooting is a reminder, said Pierre Tristam in About.com, of "how far the West—for all its sobering memorials and pledges to be more enlightened than its bleak past—has to go to live up to its ideals." This fresh tragedy is "not so much an aberration as the continuation of a compulsion for hate with a long and unresolved history in the West, and one that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Middle East."
The rats really are scuttling out of the woodwork," said PZ Myers in Science Blogs. "Last week, it's a right-wing anti-abortion hater gunning down a doctor, and this week, we get a white supremacist opening fire in the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C." Maybe now the authorities will wake up to the fact that the most immediate terrorist threat in this country isn't "people with funny Arabic names: They're homegrown."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The essential techniques that every home cook should know
- 4 strategies for organizing your money, based on your personality
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- Even critics of the euro didn't see this coming
Subscribe to the Week