Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Holocaust Museum shooting - unreal reality

I try to avoid scanning the headlines during the day. It breaks my concentration and makes it difficult to get my head back in the writing game. But when my RSS reader spat out news of the shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, I couldn't maintain focus on what I had been working on.

I'll apologize in advance if I claim to not understand how gun culture works, how it seems to weave its way into the very fabric of an otherwise great nation, or how the "right to bear arms" argument - which made a whole lot of sense in an age when you hunted and fought real enemies and couldn't just pick up an order at Whole Foods - has been perverted as it has.

Maybe I'm too Canadian. Maybe I'm too much of an artsy wimp who clings idealistically to an unshakable belief in the power of the pen. Whatever, when someone - an 80-something white supremacist, no less - walks into a museum, a Holocaust museum, at that, and opens fire, it becomes plainly obvious that there's a higher-order issue at play here.

I'll spare you my perspectives on the Holocaust. I'm a Jew who was raised with the phrase "Never Again" ringing in my ears. My wife and I are raising our children with similar lessons and messages, because it's never been easy growing up as a minority amid those who would just as soon roll over you for being different. I simply can't understand how a place designed to educate current and future generations, to reach across the misunderstandings that incubate the kind of hatred that spawned the Holocaust, itself becomes a place of wanton violence.

I'm sure I'm not alone in praying for the victims of today's shooting. And I'll keep praying that somehow a nation that got it wrong in the gun department figures out a way to turn the tide.

Your turn: Thoughts?


Dianne - Bunny Trails said...

Oh my gosh. I hadn't heard about this. I can't even begin to wrap my brain around it. There just aren't words to adequately respond to such a horrific action any more than there are for the Holocaust.

lissa said...

Friend of mine called me while I was out tell me in advance of my seeing it on TV...I cannot understand this either, and now with details coming out about the shooter's white supremacist background (and a Vet too!!!), I'm even more sickened...

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Ugh. Nice to know my membership is supporting good security...

We, too, are raising our kids to believe that being different is good. It's not easy, especially when the kids see their mom shunned for exactly that reason. Being different from all the rest.


Let's keep fighting the good fight, shall we?

spwriter said...

No additional thoughts. Just a sad sigh of agreement. You probably don't want to know about the church that's inviting members to bring their guns to church for a 4th of July celebration. Yeah, I don't want to know about that either.

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt in my mind that the hate messages from the likes of Gingrich, Limbaugh,O'Reilly and others enflame these supremacists, anti-abortion freaks and other misfits to acts of violence. Their remarks have helped these shootings become to, in the minds of the domestic terrorists, an acceptable alternative what used to be the peaceful demonstrations of the past.

Janice said...

Yes, I couldn't agree more with you. I am also Canadian and have lived in the US for 20 years. I have heard that "Right to Bear Arms" arguement drummed into my head many times and after taking American History classes in college, I completely understand where it stems from and the freedom it symbolizes. The argument is also for a the "people" to overthrow their government if needed. However, the use of firearms on innocent people is what they are mostly used for, that and target practice. This is my opinion as a Canadian in the US.

David Edward said...

I suggest that the IDEAS that this man held were much more dangerous than his gun. more later must cut big wood into smaller pieces for a deck project.

Anonymous said...

"There is no doubt in my mind that the hate messages from the likes of Gingrich, Limbaugh,O'Reilly and others enflame these supremacists, anti-abortion freaks and other misfits to acts of violence."

That's about the stupidest comment I've ever heard.

Unknown said...

I am stunned and sickened at the idea that an elderly man would carry a gun into the Holocaust Museum and open fire.

I am a Christian (and I don't mean a cultural Christian). I became a Christian when I was nineteen, having been born a Gentile.

After reading the comment about the church and bringing guns to their July 4th celebration, it scares me as much as it does you. Please be assured that not all people who attend church are truly Christians. A true Christ follower who understands scripture can never be anti-Semitic. I have been in churches recently where in the front of the church there is an American flag on one side and the Israeli flag on the other. I am hoping at some point my church will do the same.

Anonymous said...

this guy tried to put the federal reserve under ctizens arrest in 1981.

Unknown said...

Funny thing is, this guy was in jail and had a bad history .. now, WHO in thier right mind let this guy buy a gun?

Anonymous said...

This guy should be executed immediately, in fact If I was one of the security guards I wouldve put a few extra bullets into non-critical parts of his body to ensure he died a slow and painful death

Anonymous said...

I think Foxnews should take some responsiblity for this....Rush,Beck, Hannity, and O'Rilly kept spewing hateful talk until it finally boiled over

bobbie said...

The gun culture in certain parts of our country is more frightening to me than guns carried by known criminals.

The strange arguments from so-called Christians to inspire hatred of Jews, and by white supremists to do the same towards black people absolutely boggle my mind.

The bigots on FOX are definitely responsible for much damage in the U.S. How thinking people can even listen to them is beyond my understanding.

Bob said...

Janice wrote: "The use of firearms on innocent people is what they are mostly used for." Not true. Every year, people in the United States use a gun to defend themselves against criminals an estimated 2,500,000 times – more than 6,500 people a day, or once every 13 seconds. Of these instances, 15.6% of the people using a firearm defensively stated that they "almost certainly" saved their lives by doing so. Only 1% of US firearms will ever be used in the commission of a crime and less than 0.004% of firearms are used in a murder each year.

Bob said...

The CNN headline shouts: "Holocaust Museum Shooter is a White Supremacist!"

After the shooting at a Little Rock military recruiting center that left one soldier dead and another wounded, we never saw this headline: "Recruiting Center Shooter is a Muslim!"

Why not? What's the difference?

How is it that after some evil person shoots an abortion provider or another evil person shoots up a Holocaust museum, there are a million (right-wing) fingers on the trigger, but when some Muslim kills innocent people he "acted alone." The hate-filled rantings and ravings of thousands of Muslim leaders and their left-wing supporters had nothing to do with it.

kenju said...

I didn't know about it yet either, Carmi. It's just sick. I have been to that museum and it is a place of honor, education and hope for the future. That this could happen there is unthinkable.

Jeannette StG said...

Read somewhere that the shooter is a Vet - there a lot of vets with PTSD running around that never got treatment! Anything could set them off - they're like a ticking time bomb. That combined with his supremacist background, he could shoot anyone that is not Caucasian.

Mojo said...

I heard about this through an email alert from a couple of different progressive organizations who are pointing to it as ammunition to support a new resolution before the US House of Representatives. Apparently, despite the tightening of restrictions on firearm sales there is and has always been a glaring loophole that excluded sales at gun shows, and this is how the two disturbed individuals that committed today's atrocity and the Tiller murder last week came to have the guns they used in these crimes.

But in this latest case, perhaps the Holocaust museum was serving its purpose in some way. It exists to teach, to remind us what happens when hatred overtakes reason and this heinous crime - especially considering who committed it - underscored the lesson in a broad, shining red line. But I still weep that the line was painted in the blood of innocents.

I only hope that some god will come of this and that the House will see it as reason enough to pass HR 2334. It will still not keep guns out of every pair of crazed, hate filled hands, but it will make it more difficult.

I wasn't raised Jewish, but I was raised in an atmosphere of tolerance and compassion. so consider my voice added to the outcry, and the prayers.

me said...

I shudder to think how I would explain this to my 4 year old.

Here's a shout out to the "powers that be". Please stop this crazy hate crap before he is old enough to understand. Love me

Anonymous said...

The comment from Anonymous regarding Limbaugh, O'Reilly etc. is on the mark. THe right wing in the U.S. spreads hatred and negativity,to cover up their own insecurities, blaming others for the ills of society. While they may not come right out and blame a certain group, they couch it in euphamisms.Artistic=gay,Welfare Mom=black,Muslim=terrorist,Kind= weak.they don't like anyone who isn't a fat wealthy old Bible thumping white man.If you're anything but ONE OF THEM, you're on a list of people they are fearful of.
If the loonies hear the general tone of putrid bile that is expoused, then they see the cause of all their problems, even if they have to make it huge stretch to reach a common thread.

Bradley B.

David Edward said...

to the Anon who said "there is no doubt in my mind", I think that there also may be no original thought in there also. Congrats on correct use of the talking points.
To those who criticize fox news, but see nothing wrong with what vulgarity Olberman or Letterman use to hold their pitifuly small ratings; I say the hate is alive and well on the left as well.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I saw this when I turned on the news at 5:15am today. It made me sick to my stomach.

Anonymous said...

David Letterman is just like Fox news? Riiiiggght.
Telling Jokes and interviewing mindless celebrities is exactly like promoting a narrow minded, one sided political agenda.
Taking those in power to task in a humorous way is identical to being against anything that isn't approved by the political party you mindlessly follow.
Yeah, that's the ticket!

As a matter of fact I'm sure Dave is the puppet master behind Dick Cheney.Dance Dicky Dance. Bwahhh-Haaa-Haaa, Bwaaa-haa-Haaa!

Anyhoo, I think the point the original writer was trying to make, is that you can raise a society,like a child,with kindness and an open heart, instead of bitterness and fear, you will reap what you sow.
All you supporters of evil sure are touchy.

Bradley B.
yet again

Anonymous said...


David Letterman's hate is as old as some ancient Hebrew prophets.
Speaking of anti-Semitism, it's Jerry Falwell and other fundy leaders who've gleefully predicted that in the future EVERY nation will be against Israel (an international first?) and that TWO-THIRDS of all Jews will be killed, right?
Wrong! It's the ancient Hebrew prophet Zechariah who predicted all this in the 13th and 14th chapters of his book! The last prophet, Malachi, explains the reason for this future Holocaust that'll outdo even Hitler's by stating that "Judah hath dealt treacherously" and "the Lord will cut off the man that doeth this" and asks "Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?"
Haven't evangelicals generally been the best friends of Israel and persons perceived to be Jewish? Then please explain the recent filthy, hate-filled, back-stabbing tirades by David Letterman (and Sandra Bernhard and Kathy Griffin) against a leading evangelical named Sarah Palin, and explain why most Jewish leaders have seemingly condoned Palin's continuing "crucifixion"!
While David, Sandra, and Kathy are tragically turning comedy into tragedy, they are also helping to speed up and fulfill the Final Holocaust a la Zechariah and Malachi, thus helping to make the Bible even more believable!
(For even more stunning information, visit MSN and type in "Separation of Raunch and State" and "Bible Verses Obama Avoids.")