Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Shooting at the Holocaust Museum

It is difficult to understand how anyone can deny the Holocaust. Where did all those people go? And what about all the facts and pictures and videos? I would be hard to convince my Uncle Bill, a soldier with some of the first American troops who marched into Dacau concentration camp to liberate the prisoners there. The scene was so horrific that even now, sixty-four years later, he still won't talk about it.

When a maniacal James von Brunn went to the Holocaust Museum last week and shot a guard, with the intention of shooting more - one has to wonder how a person can be so consumed with hatred. The thirty-nine year old guard simply opened the door for the man. The other guards opened fire on von Brunn before he could hurt or kill anyone else. James von Brunn's son, Erik, issued a heart felt statement that was reported on Daily News, saying his father's actions were "unforgiveable:"

Erik von Brunn said father James von Brunn's racist and anti-Semitic views had tormented his family.

"His views consumed him, and in doing so, not only destroyed his life, but destroyed our family and ruined our lives as well," he wrote in a statement obtained by ABC News.

"For a long time, I believed this was our family's cross to bear. Now, it is not only my families' lives that are in shambles, but those who were directly affected by his actions, especially the family of Mr. Johns, who bravely sacrificed his life to stop my father."

The son had a message for those who sympathize with his dad: "What he did was an act of cowardice."

"To physically force your beliefs onto others with violence is not brave, but bullying. Doing so only serves to prove how weak those beliefs are. It is simply desperation, reminiscent of a temper tantrum when a child cannot get his way."

I thank Erik for his thoughtful statement condemning his father's actions. It is sad that there are people like his father who are so bigoted, so angry. It is a pathetic way to live your life. Even sadder is that he then went out and did something that destroyed another family. My thoughts and prayers go out to Stephen Johns' family.

To deny something as harrowing as the Holocaust and to take a gun into a memorial of the Holocaust is so beyond cruel and evil. To deny something that is such a devastating part of history that murdered millions of people is not only an insult to the Jewish population, but to all humanity. As James von Brunn lays in critical condition, I realize and respect the fact that doctors have to try and save everyone - but in this case, one has to wonder why.

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