Jewish Journal


June 10, 2009

The Shooter Von Brunn: Not Just a Jewish Problem


James W. von Brunn did not act alone.

That’s the key idea to remember in thinking about the attack on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial June 10 that left a security guard dead and another man wounded.

When Von Brunn, an 88 year old white supremicist, leveled a shotgun at the two closest victims, and pulled the trigger, he capped a long life devoted to senseless hatred with a senseless act of violence.

He may have been the lone gunman, but he found support for his cockamamie theories in some of the most respected and surprising places.

“The Holocaust Museum shooter is a promoter of the same Illuminati/Federal Reserve conspiracy theory,”  researcher Rachel Tabachnick e-mailed me. “ This conspiracy is NOT limited to white supremacists as it would appear watching the news.  Von Brunn is an extreme case, to be sure, but the basis of his conspiracy is being widely disseminated through many ‘mainstream’ sources.  ‘Prophecy versions of the Illuminati/New World Order/Federal Reserve conspiracy theory, sometimes with the overt white supremacy component omitted, are being disseminated by military chaplains, evangelists like John Hagee, and prophecy experts like Paul McGuire.”

A quick tour of Google (founded by two JEWS, of course) bears out Tabachnik’s research. Von Brunn was obsessed with the idea that the Jews were out to control the world via a secret society of Illuminati. But that same theory is amplified, albeit from a weird pro-Zionist perspective, in Pat Robertson’s 1991 book, “The New World Order.”

In a review of this book, Ephraim Radner writes that “Lind and Heilbrun show how Robertson took over—in some cases word for word—well-worn theories of a Jewish conspiracy.”

Robertson relied on the drivel peddled by Eustace Mullins and Nesta Webster, who appear prominently on the web page of The American National Conference for Freedom, Properity and Unity along with, yes, James Von Brunn.

But it gets worse.

As Tabachnik points out, those same conspiracy theories, beloved of some of Israel’s most ardent Christian Zionist supporters, also have cachet among some members of the US military.

A 2005 radio interview with a well respected military chaplain, Maj. James Linzey,  demonstrates the extreme nature of this paranoid conspiracy.  Tabachnik forwarded me a transcript of the interview.

“This guy has been broadcast on both television and radio and he is also very well connected in the Pentecostal/charismatic community,” she wrote. “ His uncle was a big name evangelist in the Latter Rain healing movement in the 1940s and 50s.  Linzey published a book endorsed by college and seminary theologians.  His mother, Verna Linzey’s bio states that she is also an evangelist, military chaplain, and an author of a book endorsed by people like Vinson Synan, major Pentecostal leader and professor at Pat Robertson’s Regent University.  Linzey’s father is a retired Navy chaplain.  All of that to say that Linzey is not a fringe white supremacist, and he is peddling the exact same conspiracy theory but to a much wider audience than white supremacist groups can possibly access.”

“The press is talking only about the white supremacist nature of this without exploring the well known and wide spread conspiracy theory that is behind this man’s writings and is rapidly spreading throughout society.”

That means Von Brunn is part of an internet fanned group of deranged conspiracy theorists who hate Jews, gays, non-whites, the U.N.—likely in that order. 

All of which makes me think of Scott Roeder.

He is the man who shot Dr. George Tiller, the Kansas abortion doctor, and who many were quick to denounce as a single deranged hater.

But he too, like Von Brunn, lived in world of extremist hate that stopped just short of violence. The rhetoric he was bathed in left very little to the imagination—especially the twisted imagination—of someone who wants to glory in taking his thoughts, and the hate speech of others, to the logical conclusion. 

Von Brunn could have spray-painted a swastika, yelled an obscenity as he drove by (which the Jews over at the ACLU would defend his right to do), continued to post his dull drivel on his web site, or even thrown a Molotov cocktail, but if you really pay heed to these paranoid theorists out there, the only solution to the problem of Jews is murder.

Should Jews run for cover?  Of course not.  The worst reaction to this crime is over-reaction.  It is safer to be a Jew in America than to be a Jew anywhere in the world—including Israel.  Yes, there are conspiracy theorists out there that we need to expose, no matter what their title or their political clout.  Unfortunately, they have found one another through the magic of the Internet (developed by a Jew at UCLA).  And their number has been joined of late by those on the far Right and Left who use Israel as an excuse to pick up where David Duke left off (and no, not all criticism of Israel is anti-semitic, but, like porn, you know it when you see it).

But overall this attack will and should change nothing about how Jews pray, work and gather in America.  We have not survived 6,000 years to cower when an octgenarian nutter finally gets to act on Millenialist fantasies.

All we can do—must do—is reach out to help the family of Stephen Tyrone John,, 39, the security guard who was killed, make sure justice comes down like an anvil on von Brunn (and pray for the sake of delicious irony that his defense attorney is excellent, and a Jew) and call out whoever peddles these lunatic theories, whether they are lone gunmen, military chaplains or right reverends.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) is Editor-in-Chief of The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles and www.jewishjournal.com

To help the family of Stephen Tyrone Johns, click here.

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