Before blood stained the Holocaust Museum floor an extremist killed an abortion practitioner in church. Before that, a depressed, laid-off Binghamton resident killed thirteen people in an upstate New York immigration center. Before Barack Obama took the presidency, two white supremacists in Tennessee planned his assassination. They are all examples of radical, fanatical violence and the incidents have hate group researcher Mark Weitzman worried.
"I think it is true that we're going to see more of this, and I hate to be that kind of a prophet because it's a scary thought," stated Weitzman.
Weitzman agrees with a Department of Homeland Security threat assessment that warns of a rise in American hate group activity. In the unclassified report, analysts declare the dismal economy including "real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit - could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists." The April 2009 assessment goes on to declare: "White supremacist lone wolves pose the most significant domestic terrorist threat."
"Certainly, when you have a time of severe economic distress," said Weitzman, "a lot of people are looking for someone to blame - scapegoats, someone, some explanation."
James Von Brunn's philosophy seems to include lots of scapegoats. In his manifesto, "Kill the Best Gentiles," he hisses not only at Jewish Americans but also African Americans. The accused Holocaust Museum killer also opposes American-style democracy. "The United States," Von Brunn says, have been forced into Democratic governments, thereby surrendering their White families to the mercy of numerically superior and mentally inferior Negroes."
Weitzman says the fact that the U.S. president is an African American no doubt inflamed Von Brunn's dissent.
"President Obama's popularity is not dropping, which means for these people, they see less chance of him or his policies from being defeated, which increases their feeling of powerlessness and that's one of the keys to violence."
A number of conservative columnists, pundits, and bloggers have criticized the DHS report on domestic extremism. When the report emerged two months ago, they said it unfairly warned returning military veterans might join radical groups and use their combat skills to carry out acts of violence.
Von Brunn is an 88-year-old veteran of World War II.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun