Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 8:11 am

James von Brunn, an 88 year old Holocaust denying, Jew baiting, racist crazy shot and killed a security guard yesterday at the Holocaust Museum in Washington while wounding another.

Debbie Wilgoren of the Washington Post has the details:

The suspect, identified by law enforcement sources as James W. von Brunn, 88, of Annapolis, was said to be a longtime, “hard-core” supremacist whose Internet writings contain extensive, poisonous ravings against Jews and African Americans. The slain guard, Stephen T. Johns, 39, of Temple Hills, worked for the Wackenhut security company and had been employed at the museum for six years, the museum said.

Officials at George Washington University Hospital, where von Brunn, Johns and an unidentified victim with less serious injuries were taken, said Johns suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and died there. Von Brunn was shot in the face, and the bullet exited his neck, according to a high-ranking police source. He underwent surgery and was in critical condition last night.

Police recovered a notebook in the suspect’s possession that apparently contained a list of District locations, including Washington National Cathedral. Police bomb squads were sent to at least 10 sites.

Evidently, even though von Brunn is identified as a “right wing Christian,” he didn’t have much use for them either. Or Neocons. Or Bush.

Some “right wing” Christian.

According to the left, it’s the right’s fault - specifically, the tea party movement. Or “hate speech.” Or Christian fundamentalism. Or simply because conservatives enjoy killing people.

I don’t know about you but I am getting good and gol’ durned sick and tired of the left playing armchair psychiatrist after every political-type shooting. They way they tell it, von Brunn had a vision of the tea parties in his mind when he pulled the trigger.

They come to the dubious conclusion that it is the fault of conservatives by reading a story in a newspaper. They then diagnose the crazy’s actions as being influenced or even encouraged by conservative “hate speech.” That’s right, they come to a psychological conclusion of what was going on in this lunatic’s mind by reading about the killer in a newspaper story or two.

Reality based community? Give me a break.

They come to this brilliant psychological conclusion by “connecting the dots.” Shooter is “obviously” a conservative. Conservatives are “anti-govrenment.” Hence, the reason the shooter opened fire was because he was influenced by conservative harangues against government.

This kind of dot connecting is simple minded idiocy. If life was about connecting dots, we’d be born with pencils for fingers and a child’s puzzle book for brains. It is an abducto ad absurdum argument where the conclusion is pre-determined - conservatives are at fault - and “logic” is churned and churned, reducing an enormously complex thing like the motivations of a killer to a much too simple, biased, equation that any professional psychologist would dismiss as nonsense.

What was happening in this guy’s life that finally set him off? Was he clinically insane? Did he hear voices? Was he clinically depressed? What was the basis for his unreasoning hatred of Jews and blacks? How was his overall health? Did he recently lose someone close to him? (At age 88, the chances of that happening are pretty good.)

We must remember that when the left goes off on this track, it is not to illuminate reasons for the crime but rather it is done for the political purpose of trashing the opposition. That kind of biased thinking alone should discredit any attempt they make to seriously analyze the motivations of the killer.

Here’s the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center on the possible motivations of von Brunn:

“This is a longtime white supremacist and anti-Semite approaching the end of his life who may have decided to go out shooting,” said Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit group in Alabama that tracks right-wing extremists.

No mention of conservative hate speech or the tea party, or any anti-government rhetoric by the right. Why? Because it may very well be - and this is at least equally as plausible a reason von Brunn opened fire - that the killer wanted to kill himself by forcing the guards to defend themselves.

“Suicide by cop” is actually much more common than many people think. Unable to pull the trigger themselves, the unbalanced killer actively seeks out a confrontation with the police in order to have them help him commit suicide. This study (10 years old) discovered that as many as 1 in 10 shootings by LA county sheriffs alone were the result of suspects wanting the police to end his life.

In the absence of any evidence or psychological profile that could guide a rational analysis of this tragedy, it makes sense that the above motivation has equal - perhaps superior merit to the nonsense spouted by the left. But rational analysis does not take into account the political motivations of those who would stand on the backs of tragedy for the mundane purpose of scoring points against their political enemies.

Of course, rationality makes little difference to the left. Everything they can use as a tool to bash the opposition - even scurrilous, nonsensical memes like this - are fair game. So let them make idiots of themselves by playing armchair psychiatrist. Serious people don’t pay any attention anyway.

This blog post originally appeared in The American Thinker.


  1. Good piece… and points that are well made. We were all talking about the “suicide by cop”/martyr angle on this.

    Comment by Andrew Ian Dodge — 6/11/2009 @ 8:23 am

  2. You’re right. These conclusions are simple-minded and unhelpful. But, BUT, it’s equally unhelpful to ascribe this kind of thinking to “the left” as if “the left” is some kind of monolithic entity. It would do us all some good not to over-generalize like this.

    I suppose you’re right. And I usually take a little more care and am not so indiscriminate.

    But frankly, is there anyone on the left writing anything differently? I haven’t seen it yet and my piece was a reaction to the universal connection made by lefty bloggers (see Memeorandum and click a few links) to the idea that this is the fault of conservatives.


    Comment by yazi — 6/11/2009 @ 8:55 am

  3. ed: “[I]s there anyone on the left writing anything differently?”

    Well, it’s kind of like proving a negative, right? A lot of “lefty bloggers” aren’t saying anything about any “connection” b/c there’s nothing to say. Crazy person did crazy things. I have not gotten the impression from what I read that most people are drawing a connection between teaparty-like rhetoric and this guy. Because a few do doesn’t mean all are.

    There is another point of course, which is that the DHS report talked about an uptick in “right wing extremist” violence and there is a certain fringe of the right that is, aside from anything else, racist and extremist. I’m quite sure this is the part of the right that you would strive to disassociate yourself from. But it exists and the fact that the report observed it correctly should be noted. And the report was pretty careful about its terminology, Michelle Malkin’s misreading notwithstanding.

    Finally, I would agree that it would be better to grow our vocabulary a bit so that the term “right” doesn’t encompass feelings of anti-government and racial separatism equally.

    The report was withdrawn by DHS after they admitted it was badly written. That’s not a right wing fantasy but rather an admittance by the Department itself that their definitions were drawn too broadly.

    And perhaps a few conservatives were questioning the danger of extremists but what I was worried about (and even many liberals to their credit echoed this) was that the language in the report could be construed to include those who simply held contrary views on immigration and abortion. It was very undiscriminating between legitimate protestors and those who might very well act out in a violent manner.


    Comment by yazi — 6/11/2009 @ 9:13 am

  4. “Of course, rationality makes little difference to the left. Everything they can use as a tool to bash the opposition…is fair game.”

    That’s in contrast to the right, of course, whose banner carriers would NEVER make irrational claims to bash liberals or liberal ideals for every little problem they see in their rose-colored world. I mean, that’s not like the foundation for the careers of Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, O’Reilly, Beck, Malkin, and countless bloggers. No sir.

    From the 3 Pittsburgh cops killed recently by a nut worried about Obama taking his guns to the muder of Dr. Tiller — and now the museum nutjob — there’s a core of paranoia, anger and violence at the base of conservativism today. And it’s typical for the right to blame the “liberal media” bogeyman instead of the fear-inducing rhetoric of the right-wing talking heads.

    I would say “typical liberal idiocy” to equate anything von Brunn believes with conservatism. Your ignorance of conservatism is appalling - as any rational, reality based analysis would tell you.

    Again - you are not interested in rationality - simply spouting talking points you read somewhere else developed by someone far smarter and much more clever than you are.

    Btw - The Pittsburgh cop killer made a phone call to his best friend 10 minutes before shooting the cops telling him he wanted to die. How anyone can twist that into anything except “suicide by cop” (a point you didn’t bother to address in your comment) I am at a loss to say.

    You can’t spout as you do above without offering any evidence. And since you offer none, I can say with equal certainty that it was space aliens that made von Brunn kill that guard. and it would have exactly as much legitimacy as your nonsense.


    Comment by Barry — 6/11/2009 @ 9:17 am

  5. “is there anyone on the left writing anything differently?”

    If the writer is “on the left”, then they are a political writer. The subject of their writing is politics, and so if they discuss the topic at all its going to be politically related . . . as in, “its the other team’s fault”. Same as those “on the right”.
    All three of the shootings in the past two weeks, and you haven’t broached the topic of whether inflammatory rhetoric is an issue of concern or not. I gotta admit, I’m suprised.

    Comment by busboy33 — 6/11/2009 @ 9:18 am

  6. If life was about connecting dots, we’d be born with pencils for fingers and a child’s puzzle book for brains.

    The human brain organizes and catalogs all information by connecting dots. Conscious thought and memory would not be possible without connecting dots. Neural networks are massive collections of organized and interconnected dots.

    While some connections are obviously forced, one only needs to look at your analysis of the car dealers to see a clear example of attempting to connect dots. I can understand the anger and frustration of watching others attempt to associate these events with your politics. However, you might consider another, less hypocritical, approach in exposing the non-connection between this shooting and your team.

    How is it “hypocritical” when I shot down the dealer closing meme by showing that in this case, the dots did not connect?

    The problem isn’t dot connecting. It is people making psychological evaluations without a clue.


    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 6/11/2009 @ 9:31 am

  7. People are responsible for their actions. The murderer was responsible for what he did.

    The criticism I’ve seen among moderates at least has to do with the hysterical overreaction on the right to the DHS warning. I think that criticism is looking increasingly valid, and the right’s kneejerk rejection of the warning is looking increasingly foolish.

    People are also responsible for their rhetoric as rhetoric. I think the wall I’d build is between those who say and believe stupid things, and those who act on those beliefs. The 1st amendment protects idiots. It does not protect murderers.

    But that wall between idiot and killer comes with a door. There are times when the rhetoric goes beyond stupid into incitement and then we have to look a little more closely.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 6/11/2009 @ 9:50 am

  8. If von Brunn had any functional brain cells still working - suicide by cop would be my guess. But blaming Rush Limbaugh or the Tea Party movement for this shooting is as insane as blaming Daily Kos for the shooting of Pvt. Long!

    Let’s get back to blaming the ACTUAL perp for such crimes. The Left is always ready and willing to blame anyone but the actual “doer” - it’s illogical as hell. Kind of like blaming blacks and Jews for our nation’s troubles! Makes no sense and is completely off the wall nutty!

    Comment by Gayle Miller — 6/11/2009 @ 10:12 am

  9. I would note however that we are very delicate about blaming a broader culture or ideology for this kind of terrorist nut and very, very quick to indict an entire billion-person religion for another kind of terrorist nut.

    I would agree with that wholeheartedly. The “All Mooslims are bad” meme has infected far too many on the right and is if possible, is even more idiotic than the left blaming the entire right for the actions of some nut case troglodyte.


    Comment by michael reynolds — 6/11/2009 @ 11:51 am

  10. [...] Moran has a sensible piece on this heinous [...]

    Pingback by Dodgeblogium » Jew-haters of all ilks… — 6/11/2009 @ 12:01 pm

  11. Well, you can argue whether or not white supremacism is a right-wing movement (Michelle Malkin gives a link to a post trying to prove that it’s in fact “left-wing”), but it’s quite obvious that the fact that the shooter chose Holocaust museum for his “suicide by cop” has a lot to do with his political beliefs.

    Anyway, certainly, real right-wing crazies are mostly lone wolves, but they are out there, it’s inevitable. When Rush Limbaugh says that Obama is more dangerous than Al Quaeda and “gotta be stopped” or when Glenn Beck compares Obama to Hitler, some of the people listening to them at the moment are insane people. The fact that they seem not to think about this says something about their character.

    Comment by Nikolay — 6/11/2009 @ 1:14 pm

  12. The Left used to LOVE comparing George W. Bush to both Hitler and a chimpanzee. And it wasn’t confined to a few lone wolves either! Is that acceptable? I think not.

    Comment by Gayle Miller — 6/11/2009 @ 1:17 pm

  13. Simply put, this guy was right-wing like Adolf Hitler was right-wing. It is a totally different, though historically accepted definition of right-right.

    Comment by KevinD. Korenthal — 6/11/2009 @ 2:23 pm

  14. uh-oh.
    you’ve returned to ranting about “The Left”.

    Comment by HyperIon — 6/11/2009 @ 2:53 pm

  15. So exactly what is the strategic importance of the Holocaust Museum ?

    At least on 9/11 al Qaeda went after the Pentagon, and the New York financial center, but attacking the Holocaust Museum seems on par with hijacking a bus.

    Comment by Neo — 6/11/2009 @ 5:19 pm

  16. Lone nuts are just that. Jodie Foster did not cause John Hinckley to shoot Ronald Reagan even if her movies incited fantasies in Hinckley’s sick mind. Likewise, James von Brunn may have imagined that some right wing sources encouraged his actions (we don’t know this, not claiming this as a fact), but even it turns out to be demonstrably true, his imaginings were just as sick as Hinckley’s ever were. Conservatism certainly has it’s faults, but “causing” this act is not one of them.

    And being a good liberal, I have to again say that the vast majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent or dangerous. Correspondingly, the vast majority of violent, dangerous people are not mentally ill.

    Comment by still liberal — 6/11/2009 @ 6:46 pm

  17. I notice you didn’t say much about Dr Tillers murderer, in that particular case and in the other shooting at the Unitarian Church there were very strong links between extreme right wing labelling and the choice of victim. O’reilly repeatedly called Tiller a murderer of innocents for profit,and the shooter in the other church shooting wrote a manifesto acknowledging that his reading of anti liberal best sellers made him want to kill leading liberals.

    Comment by yoyo — 6/11/2009 @ 8:16 pm

  18. It’s interesting to see that the piece pretty much is self-contradictory in itself. First the author accuses the “left” for blaming the conservative movement for this particular incident without actually providing a shred of evidence, while I haven’t seen any major or minor media outlet ever accusing or attaching the “tea party” to it, then shoots himself in the foot by employing the same concocted psycho-analysis he just hurled at the supposed lefties. What gives Rick? Was this entry a trigger-happy reflexive reaction just to close the doors shut for any possible criticism?

    Comment by Elizho — 6/11/2009 @ 8:24 pm

  19. This seems to be the “line of reasoning” expressed by some:

    1. Von Brunn is (reportedly) linked to anti-government Tea Party protests. (Note: I’ve yet to see evidence of this alleged link, but let’s assume it’s true.)
    2. Von Brunn is a anti-government murderer.
    3. Therefore, Tea Party rhetoric incites people to murder.

    That makes no sense. Neither does applying the same logic to last month’s foiled bombing of a synogoge in NYC. (http://news.aol.com/article/plot-to-bomb-new-york-temple/493070)

    A. Four men are arrested plotting to bomb a synagogue and shoot down planes.
    B. The men are converts to Islam and bent on a “Holy War” against America.
    C. Therefore, Islamic teachings incites people to violence.

    Both arguments are faulty but are used because they appeal to people’s prejudice. No reasonable person would conclude either:

    1) Anti-tax Tea Parties encourage people to murder
    2) All (or even most) believers in Islam are violent.

    Von Brunn has more in common with these four arrested men than with talking heads. They are extremists and crazies.

    Every large group has its wackos. We could apply the same faulty reasoning to environmentalism and the Unibomber, the pro-life movement and Tiller’s murder, marital infidelity and Democratic politicians, gays who riot after losing at the ballot box, corrupt Congressmen of either party, lying politicians of any party, and so on. Ultimately, such exercises are a meaningless distraction from the significant issues.

    Comment by Northwestdoug — 6/11/2009 @ 9:19 pm

  20. [...] RELATED STORIES: GATEWAY PUNDIT: Holocaust Museum Killer Von Brunn Targeted Weekly Standard Mag & FOX News… Is a Socialist SAYS UNCLE: Is he really a right wing extremist if he hates everyone? RIGHTWING NUTHOUSE: MUSEUM SHOOTER INFLUENCED BY RIGHT WING RHETORIC? [...]

    Pingback by Has Anyone Checked to See if the Holocaust Museum Shooter had a DailyKos Account? — 6/11/2009 @ 10:20 pm

  21. There have been unconfirmed reports that James W. von Brunn was registered as a Democrat in the state of Maryland

    Comment by Neo — 6/11/2009 @ 11:58 pm

  22. Sorry, but I disagree.

    While the Lunatic Fringe will always be with us (get Richard Hofstadtler’s book); new is the 24 hour news cycle and the internet.

    One merely has to turn on Fox news to get constant barrage of subtle criticisms and attacks on President Obama and the ruling Democrats.

    I recently joked with a Fox news viewer that if the “re-education” camps that Hannity warned about were being set up; I wouldn’t mind a rural vacation in one. I wondered if the same things were being said about the CCC Camps during the New Deal.

    A constant diet of falsehood; biased information; and right wing propaganda is al that’s needed to set off the “lone wolves” to act; leaving their support systems intact. One need merely to go the websites of the rabid anit-abortion groups to see this in action.

    As a Jew and a historian; I’m all too familiar with this.

    Just read the new book (I’ve forgotten the title) about the history behind “Protocols.”

    This a movie I’ve seen repeated many times before.

    Comment by Commie Stooge — 6/12/2009 @ 5:24 am

  23. There are unconfirmed rumors in the blogosphere that the wacko Holocaust Museum shooter is a registered Democrat in Maryland. Are there any intrepid citizen journalists out there who want to take a crack at confirming or denying this story, with incontrovertible evidence?

    And if proven, how would this affect all the blame Limbaugh, blame O’Reilly rhetoric. Look I’m not a fan of either of them. But blaming the SHOOTER who has been a demented hater all his life (or at least since 1968 when a lot of you political theoreticians were still in utero and I was already working on my second college degree - accounting - a bum move if ever I’ve made one)blaming the shooter makes a lot more sense to me.

    Whatever happened to: We are born with FREE WILL and it is our responsibility for what we do - for good or ill!

    Comment by Gayle Miller — 6/12/2009 @ 8:57 am

  24. Gayle Miller said:

    Are there any intrepid citizen journalists out there who want to take a crack at confirming or denying this story, with incontrovertible evidence?

    Sounds like some possible dot connecting to me.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 6/12/2009 @ 9:05 am

  25. @northwestdoug:

    “. Von Brunn is (reportedly) linked to anti-government Tea Party protests. (Note: I’ve yet to see evidence of this alleged link, but let’s assume it’s true.)”

    Sure there’s evidence that “The Left” is pushing this — Rick linked to a Tweet from the founder of the Daily Kos that’s pretty unintelligible, but mentions the shooter and has the words “Tea Party” in it — that’s pretty strong evidence “they” are trying to make a link, right?

    p.s. — read the above with a helping of sarcasm.

    Comment by busboy33 — 6/12/2009 @ 10:19 am

  26. #22

    Have you paying any attention to the last 8 years? You think one of Olberman’s rants served “to get constant barrage of subtle criticisms and attacks on President Obama/Bush and the ruling Democrats/Republicans”.

    Unless you were jumping up and down complaining about the left’s unhinged attacks on Bush you’ve got nothing to say of any importance now.

    As to the guy being a Dem, I don’t see how that makes a difference one way or the other. Don’t the Dems have a former Kleagle in the Senate? I believe they do. If you can spin THAT away who thinks that von Bunn being a Dem is going to dissuade the left from blaming it on the right?

    Comment by EBJ — 6/12/2009 @ 11:15 am

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