In Memory of Stephen T. Johns

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Yesterday security guard Stephen T. Johns was killed at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.   The suspected shooter was James W. von Brunn, an 88 year-old man.     According to news reports (e.g., here):

Von Brunn is said to have been a leading writer in the white supremacist fringe for many years. He also appears to be the author of a recent Internet posting suggesting that President Obama’s background is being hidden from the public.

His online book, “Kill the Best Gentiles,” contains hundreds of pages of conspiracy theories that include Holocaust denial, the ancient hoax of the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” and wild webs of fantasy about Jewish plotting against white people. ***

On a rambling, racist and bitterly anti-Semitic Web site, a man who identifies himself as James W. von Brunn says he is a former World War II PT boat captain who was decorated for his conduct in battle and was an advertising executive and film producer in New York.

He says he is a member of Mensa, “the high-IQ society,” and acknowledges being convicted in D.C. Superior Court for a 1981 attempted attack on a government building. He was “convicted by a Negro jury, Jew/Negro attorneys, and sentenced to prison for eleven years by a Jew judge. A Jew/Negro/White Court of Appeals denied his appeal,” the site says.

He describes himself as an artist and author. Neighbors in Annapolis, who asked not to be identified, said that they recently invited the suspect to their home for a drink and that he unexpectedly brought up his belief that the Holocaust did not occur. “It was just off the wall,” said one of the neighbors.

Stephen Jones died doing his job.   He died because of his association with the Holocaust Museum.   The Museum’s mission is to educate, serve witness, research, remember (see here):

With unique power and authenticity, the Museum teaches millions of people each year about the dangers of unchecked hatred and the need to prevent genocide. And we encourage them to act, cultivating a sense of moral responsibility among our citizens so that they will respond to the monumental challenges that confront our world. Today we face an alarming rise in Holocaust denial and antisemitism:even in the very lands where the Holocaust happened:as well as genocide and threats of genocide in other parts of the world.

Anti-semitism hurts all of us.

For Stephen T. Johns, may he be written in the book of life.

מאי הוא יהיה כתוב בספר החיים

-Bridget Crawford

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