Since the June 10th shooting/murder perpetrated by James Von Brunn at Washington, D.C.’s U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, many eyes have been focused on Stormfront, the white supremacist web forum, which has left the group’s leaders concerned. Their concern is understandable, because, while they didn’t load Von Brunn’s gun or pull the trigger for him, they are still in large part to blame for what happened.
When James Von Brunn walked into the lobby of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, he had one mission in mind and that was to kill as many people as he could, thereby bringing terror to the Jewish community, a community which he despised. As a result, an African-American museum security guard named Stephen T. Johns was fatally wounded, while attempting to save others during the attack.
Von Brunn is well past his prime at 88 (a number which incidentally is code for “Heil Hitler”), but his violent obsession with Jews and blacks has driven him to do the unthinkable. In truth, he has professed this anger for a number of years. In March 2005, on his website Holy Western Empire, he declared, “Never, never, never trust a JEW. Heil Hitler.” And in 2002, in the preface of his book, entitled Kill the Best Gentiles!, he wrote of a Jewish plot to destroy America. He stated, “At this moment we are engaged in a deadly war with the HISTORIC ENEMY to determine whether or not our Nation will endure.”
It appears that the shooting was Von Brunn’s way of defending his country from the above, what he refers to in his book as an “age old CONSPIRACY.” He took a similar tone, when he previously attempted to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve Board at gunpoint, in December 1981, for what he called their “treasonous” behavior. His punishment was a six-and-a-half year prison sentence.
If law enforcement is correct, at the Holocaust museum, Von Brunn was a lone gunman. However, there are many like him who vocalize his same hate, providing him a basis for his actions. One group in particular, Stormfront, an online white power forum, is a global leader in this type of bigotry.
Stormfront (SF) was founded in January 1995 by Don Black, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Today, tens of thousands flock to the site to spew their venom and report on the latest farfetched conspiracy.
Since the museum attack took place, SF members have made conflicting statements regarding Von Brunn. Some have called into question his judgment. One, (screen name) TimHawne, even criticized him for what type of gun he used, stating, “[W]hy take a rifle unless it is a semi-auto with a large magazine capacity?... I would have thought a couple of pistols would have made more sense. Easier to conceal, less easy for opponents to take off of you, less cumbersome, etc.” And some have openly supported Von Brunn. The latter have caused the administrators of the group to go into damage control.
On the day of the shooting, Stormfront’s Editor and Chief of Staff, (screen name) Jack Boot, whose icon is a neo-Nazi version of the Celtic Cross, wrote, “[W]e will review these threads, we will review the deleted responses, and we will rid ourselves of these toxic members. Anyone condoning what Brunn did is not welcome here. You’re entitled to your opinions, yes... elsewhere.”
As well, on that day, in a forum thread where one Stormfront member referred to Von Brunn as a “modern hero of our race” – unlike real heroes such as Stephen Johns – SF Moderator, (screen name) Johnny Yuma, wrote, “I guess everyone here should realize this thread was re-opened to try to add to the supposed connection between what this nut did, and Stormfront... I am locking this thread.”
Besides calling him a hero, Stormfront, in March 2004, lauded Von Brunn as a “White Racialist Treasure” and a “gentleman” and, in February 2008, as a “visionary” who “deserves our utmost respect.” So when SF leaders denounce him, it looks more than hypocritical and suspicious.
Indeed, the same moderator who labeled Von Brunn a “nut” has a signature line for his posts which mocks U.S. Presidents, depicting them wearing yarmulkes (skull caps) whilst praying and/or speaking at Jewish functions and holy sites, and complained, only two days after the museum attack, that Jews “are the only ones who are allowed to have a nationality, according to them, authorized directly from G-d.”
Of course, when it comes to Stormfront, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Every given moment brings another violent, hate-filled posting. The targets are almost always blacks and Jews. The type of rhetoric that is presented is provocative and dangerous.
While the vast majority of the posters are not involved in crimes – at least none that are known to the public – the atmosphere is ripe for the molding of such individuals. James Von Brunn was not created in a vacuum. As this is the case, Stormfront needs to take partial responsibility for what occurred. In the very least, an investigation on the group must commence, especially given the fact that SF members appeared to be in contact with Von Brunn.
One member, (screen name) celticpitdog, wrote in February 2003, “You can e-mail [Von Brunn] at Vonbrunn@goeaston.com. I have never met Mr. [sic] vanBrunn but hope to meet him maybe the end of the summer. I have heard many great things about this am[a]zing man from his son who I be-friended when he was living in Florida.” Another, (screen name) Coldstar, the individual who described Von Brunn as a “hero,” (see above) posted an e-mail from him onto SF about how Google was created by Jews.
Whatever the case, Stormfront needs to be held to account. Free Speech does not include incitement to commit crimes. As long as SF members think it does, future James Von Brunns will be well on their way.