What does one say at a time like this?
Or maybe I should say “in times like these”—thinking back on the murder of Dr. Tiller, this past Sunday’s sermon on Obama as the anti-Christ, the series of horrendous shootings in April…
According to a follow-up article on NPR, the “Museum Shooting Suspect Has Long Trail Of Vitriol”—but more specifically of anti-Semitic and white supremacist vitriol, of the kind that I discuss briefly in End of Days II. One website advertises a book by someone presumed to be the suspect, James von Brunn, that is described as a “hard-hitting expose of the JEW CONSPIRACY to destroy the White gene pool.” The suspect also apparently quit studying art because the art department was dominated by “Marxist/Liberal concepts.”
As the Guardian notes in its piece on the shooting:
The shooting was the third in the US in recent weeks that appear to have been motivated by political hatred. Last week a man opened fire outside an Army recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas, killing one soldier and wounding another. Late last month, an anti-abortion extremist killed Kansas physician George Tiller at his church.
Alongside the coverage of America’s latest foray into hate-mongering violence, you can find an article on the recent EU elections asking the question, “Is fascism on the march again?“—from which one can at least take the very limited—very—solace that this racist, right-wing insanity is not confined to the United States.
The New York Times has a lengthy piece on the shooting here. A separate piece in The Lede is reporting that “traces of gunman’s online life begin to vanish.” Presumably alerted by the media interest, various websites have begun expunging traces of the alleged shooter’s activities from their sites and systems—even if in some cases this seems misguided and unnecessary, as with Wikipedia’s apparent nuking of von Brunn’s biographical entry on the site. (The bio did have racist/anti-Semitic hate stuff in it that might have justified removing it, but doing it just now is, frankly, weird and stupid.)
NYT grabbed a copy of von Brunn’s Wikipedia bio before it was removed. Among its tired and hackneyed rants about a conspiracy of “Marxism-Multiculturalism-Judaism,” it also mentions that von Brunn was president of his college’s chapter of the SAE fraternity.
You can read about SAE (Sigma Alpha Epsilon) on the fraternity’s website or on Wikipedia. It is perhaps not entirely coincidental that this neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic racist’s fraternity is also the only fraternity in the “Greek” system that was founded in the antebellum South. Googling SAE and racism turns up more than 5000 hits, including one for a 1982 article in NYT detailing the suspension of the fraternity’s chapter at the University of Cincinnati over a racially demeaning party held to “celebrate” the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.
The book Violence on Campus details one of the many racist episodes in which Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapters have been involved, this one on the Arizona State University campus:
Several members of the all-white Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity mistakenly identified two passing black students, with a white student friend, as those who had been involved in a verbal altercation between one of the fraternity members and a white female student a few days earlier [they all look alike, you know]…. After misidentifying the passing black students, several fraternity members shouted racial epithets, including “nigger” and “porch monkeys,” and some spat at them. [here]
For more on the Greek system and racism, you can check out the Southern Poverty Law Center’s 2000 report, “Hate Goes to School.“