Blogger Cites Von Brunn's 'Long History' of Hate
Here is some excerpted discussion on James Von Brunn from today's live online chat with Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch Blog:
Fairfax, Va.: Are any of his mentioned credentials legit or is this hateful person a wannabe?
Heidi Beirich: He's definitely legitimate. Von Brunn has a decades-long history of extremism and he went to prison in 1981 for trying to kidnap members of the federal reserve that he thought were involved in an anti-Semitic conspiracy.
Vienna, Va.: Is this guy really 88 years old? At that age a lot of malefactors are sent home from prison because they no longer constitute a threat. How unusual is this?!
Heidi Beirich: It's the first such case that I know of.
Jackson, Miss.: Is the more correct term for this man a "Neo-Nazi" than "white supremacist?" I see a Holocaust denier and Hitler worshipper more than a Klan type. While undeniably opposed to blacks, he seems fixated on AntiSemitism. And a big shout out to Mark, a wealth of information whom I did not know was at SPLC.
Heidi Beirich: I'll send the shout out alone. The truth is with this guy that he melded many ideologies in one--neo-Naziism, Holocaust denial and guttural racism. It was a nasty stew that he celebrated.
Franconia, Va.: How typical is this man? Specifically he seems to be "all talk" and essentially nonviolent for years or decades at a time, then he does something very criminal (convicted for the would-be kidnapping at the Federal Reserve in early 1980s, now this, "allegedly"). I would have thought a person would be more consistently violent or consistently "just" a talker but that isn't the pattern here. Are there a lot of potentially violent guys in their late 80s and early 90s who are likely to do the same, or is his age unusual for someone to actually commit such a crime?
Heidi Beirich: His age makes him an outlier. But we do have many examples of people who looked like talkers for years until they exploded in rage. A good example is Eric Rudolf, the Olympic bomber, who was a raging anti-Semite for most of his life and who then decided to become violent.
Washington, DC: Is the alleged shooter in this case someone on SPLC's radar or just some random hater with a gun?
Heidi Beirich: We've know about him for years--he has a really long history in the hate movement.
June 10, 2009; 5:32 PM ET
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