Feature

Investigating James von Brunn

Was the Holocaust Museum shooting the kind of attack a Homeland Security memo warned about?

Maybe it's time to give that Homeland Security memo on right-wing terrorists another look, said Benjamin Sarlin in The Daily Beast. James von Brunn -- an anti-Semitic white supremacist -- was identified as the suspect in Wednesday's Holocaust Museum shooting within days of the murder of late-term abortion doctor George Tiller, allegedly by anti-abortion extremist Scott Roeder. Both attacks "closely mirror" potential violence described in the controversial memo, which warned of a possible surge in extremist activity linked to the election of the first black president and hard economic times.

It was not domestic political change or financial hardship that led to this attack, said conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel in her blog. James von Brunn "has been on this planet for 89 years, and he didn't feel comfortable shooting up a Holocaust museum until now." It was the radical Muslims who attacked the U.S. on 9/11 who emboldened "anti-Semites of all stripes to no longer be afraid to come out of the closet."

Whatever the cause, said Matthew Yglesias in Think Progress, we can at least agree that the memo warning of right-wing domestic terrorism was not an attempt to malign mainstream conservatives. "I hope that everyone who mau-maued the Department of Homeland Security for expressing concern about this kind of thing feels appropriately ashamed of themselves."

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