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Holocaust Museum Shooting Implies Deeper Domestic Terror Threat


Jill Garvey • Jun 11, 2009

Yesterday’s shooting was pre-meditated and foreseeable. Everything about the shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington was intentional. Even James Von Brunn’s age, 88, may have been meant to send a message. 88 is a number revered by Hitler-worshipers. The letter ‘H’ is the eighth letter in the alphabet. 88 is code for “HH”, or in neo-Nazi speak “Heil Hitler”.

Considering Von Brunn’s background, this number probably held special significance for him. A twisted sort of golden birthday perhaps or an inside nod to the white nationalist movement he was active in for several years.

Von Brunn’s attack is another in a series of major planned or executed attacks by individuals involved with white nationalist groups since Obama’s presidential win became reality last Fall.

The most gruesome attempted killing spree was planned by two teenagers in Bells, Tennessee. Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman were apprehended by the FBI hours before they planned to go on their racist rampage. They told police that they were planning to kill 88 people and behead 14 of them, and that after targeting a mostly black school they were going to attempt to assassinate then-presidential candidate Obama. The would-be killers had covered their car in racist slogans, including the numbers 14 and 88, a swastika and WWHD which stood for ‘What Would Hitler Do?’ The bumper had a sign that stated ‘Honk if you love Hitler.’

Less than a day after Obama was sworn in as President, a man in Brockton, Massachusetts went on a shooting spree that included the rape and murder of a young woman, the shooting of her sister, and the killing of a homeless man. In an interview with the Boston Herald, prosecutor Frank Middleton said the suspect, Keith Luke, intended to massacre individuals attending an event at the local Jewish temple because Luke was acting out “an evil plan of mass murder and rape targeting victims he identified as non-white.”

Just this past April a man engaged in a standoff with Pittsburgh police and murdered three officers.   The gunman was linked to white nationalist website Stormfront, and allegedly subscribed to anti-Semitic conspiracies.

“What we’re seeing is a movement of individuals who are convinced that racial revolution is the only solution to repel a multicultural democracy,” said Eric Ward, national field director at the Center for New Community.

The reality is white nationalism and racism are stubbornly entrenched in American culture. Organized bigotry has a history of manipulating American perceptions during hard economic times.

The poor economy is merely a tool for white nationalists as they amass support against an African American president and a rapidly shifting US demographic.

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