A predominant characteristic of the behavior that I call evil is scapegoating. Because in their hearts they consider themselves above reproach, they must lash out at anyone who does reproach them. They sacrifice others to preserve their self-image of perfection.
M. Scott Peck, M.D.
People of the Lie
There was a time I feared looking up information at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Fear of confirming what I already know — there are people who hate and act on that hate. Back in the day, I kids calling the Virginia office of the KKK then passing the phone around so everyone could hear the recorded message perhaps just to confirm that they actually existed, that haters were too close to home, and we’d always have to keep top watch at all times. It’s a stressful way to live.
James Wenneker von Brunn is not a name I recognized until today – the 88-year-old gunman opened fire with his rifle inside the entrance of the Holocaust Museum located a block away from the Smithsonian American History Museum, the Department of Agriculture, the Washington Monument, and a U.S. Treasury Department Building. Von Brunn shot one security guard who is now dead. His name was Stephen Tyrone Johns, 39 of Temple Hills, MD. Johns was African American. Von Brunn, described by law enforcement officials as a a white supremacist and anti-Semite, more than likely intended to kill many more if officers hadn’t stopped him. Von Brunn is in critical condition in a DC hosptial.
At this point, I don’t feel the need to read von Brunn’s writings, link to his website or embed CNN and other news stories about his background, beliefs, or philosophy on this post. I’m sure Brunn is not the first or the last of his kind.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has been vigilant in their work since their founding in 1971 and still keep their offices in Alabama where they have no doubt been a target of the people and hate groups they investigate. They have kept it real. As unsettling as it is can be, we all need to know who, what and where the haters are.