Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
It’s rare that a major story we cover comes to such a complete and sudden end, as in the case of the U.S. Holocaust Museum shooting last June.
James von Brunn, the outspoken racist who was shot by museum guards in the attack and charged with the murder of one of the guards, has died in a prison hospital. It’s unclear if his death was a result of his injuries. He was 88 years old, and spent much of those years spewing hatred against Jews.
So there will be no trial in the murder of Stephen Johns, the guard who courteously held the door at the museum before he was shot to death. Museum security had been reviewed and undoubtedly enhanced. Johns has been buried and his story will, unfortunately, fade from our collective short memory. A sad chapter closed.
Von Brunn will take to his grave any insight into how an educated man, Navy veteran and former advertising executive became the crazed extremist who tried to take hostages at a federal building in 1981 and later spent his time obsessing over and publishing Holocaust revisionist theories. We’ll also never know what about today’s hateful climate may have prompted his final rampage. Maybe there are no answers to such questions.
But his death also spares us the possibility that he would use his trail as the forum for Holocaust revisionism and other conspiracy theories that he always craved.