Although the shooting is only hours old, numerous blogs already are attempting to tie the act of violence to conservatives and criticism of the Obama administration's overly broad definition of those who are "extremists." Posts such as "this looks like the latest episode in what is looking like the spate of right-wing violence we've been predicting" or "the right wing has lost whatever restraint it had" or "perhaps it’ll be time to revisit all that criticism of the DHS report" are highly irresponsible attempts to take political advantage of this apparently lone-wolf tragedy.
It never was disputed by conservatives that neo-Nazis with (or without) histories of violence properly were deemed extremists and security risks. Those seeking to make political hay out of this shooting by invoking the DHS report are working a version of the strawman argument.
But there is a voice for sanity (probably more than one voice, this is just an example), at Comments from Left Field:
This kook is a neo-Nazi conspiracy theoriest with no connection to the mainstream right. As evidence, here’s his Internet paper trail: an archive of his website holywesternempire.org”. (The reference to the Germanic Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages should be obvious.)On the very day when Rev. Jeremiah Wright is quoted as saying that "them Jews aren't going to let him [Obama] talk to me," we should keep in mind that anti-semitism is not merely a neo-Nazi phenomenon.
Explore his website if you want (I’m not wasting my time), but keep two questions in mind: Do you see links to mainstream rightwing sites? And did any mainstream rightwing websites pay attention to him. Perhaps I need to do more research before answering these questions, but after a cursory look at Von Brunn’s website — as well as trolling rightwing blogs for ages — I think the answers to these questions are no and no.
Tensions are running high and it’s easy to try making a connection between the GOP and people like Von Brunn, but that connection just isn’t logical. Neo-Nazis stand apart from the rest. Let’s not confuse the two.
And someone who would walk into an abortion clinic, or museum, or military recruiting station [added, or church] and start shooting are not representative of any of the mainstream political or social movements in this country. Let's not confuse criminals with political opponents.
UPDATE: Michele Malkin and Donald Douglas are following blog reaction as well. More good posts:
- Kathy Shaidle: Holocaust Museum shooter von Brunn a 9/11 'truther' who hated 'neo-cons', Bush, McCain and James W von Brunn hated Bush family and Bill O'Reilly
- Wonkette (yes, Wonkette): "Maybe we should just thank James von Brunn today for shooting a human at the Holocaust Museum, because look at all the political points he’s allowing liberal bloggers to score immediately today!"
- Gay Patriot: We Must Refrain from Politicizing Holocaust Museum Shooting
UPDATE: Here are some more of the posts seeking to take political advantage through the DHS strawman argument (and otherwise):
- Washington Monthly: "The Republican hysteria over the DHS report -- which was, by the way, initiated by a Bush administration official -- was always based more on a partisan scheme than reality, but the incessant complaints look especially misguided today."
- Matthew Yglesias: "Not a great deal more to say about this right now, but I hope that everyone who mau-maued the Department of Homeland Security for expressing concern about this kind of thing feels appropriately ashamed of themselves."
- The Daily Dish: That DHS report doesn't look so iffy any more, does it?
- TPMMuckraker "And it may be not just hardcore Neo-Nazis on the right who liked Von Brunn's work. A recent screed he wrote about President Obama's birth certificate was posted on Free Republic, the conservative site." Think Progress has a similar post.
- Shepard Smith at FoxNews bought into the DHS report strawman argument, which is being used to great advantage by Media Matters.
- Taylor Marsh: "We have a real escalation of domestic terrorism unfolding in the United States. Something Janet Napolitano warned about in her homeland security report, for which Republicans eviscerated her. She was ringing the warning bell, which as we’ve seen lately was fully warranted."
- Sam Stein at Huffington Post: "... it is worth revisiting the DHS report that was deemed by conservatives to be so controversial."
- Alex Koppelman as Salon.com: Right: DHS extremist report was "crap." Really?
Follow me on Twitter and Facebook