The Holocaust Museum shooting: What’s happening here?


Another shooting with potentially far-reaching effects.

At least three people have been shot at the Holocaust Museum in Washington. The Washington Post is providing compelling coverage. It’s also set up a live blog here.

NPR’s Two Way blog is also providing updates. Twitter, breaking a string of performance on major stories, is providing little insight., with the exception of an observation from James Lileks, the Star Tribune columnist:

The fact that the Holocaust Museum has several armed guards tells you why we need a Holocaust Museum.

It’s far too early to know the motive for the shooting, but coming in the wake of two recent acts of domestic terrorism, the answer may spawn more introspection about what’s happening here.

Last month, Dr. George Tiller was gunned down at his church in Kansas, apparently by a man who objected to legalized abortion. The AP reported this week that the suspect in that case claims it’s just the beginning.

A day later, a Muslim man killed a military recruiter in Arkansas, apparently as a protest against the U.S. military.

Update 1:54 p.m. MSNBC reports that the shooter has links to white supremacists (an archive of his Web site here). And here’s a fine example of how this stuff spreads.

Update 3:12 p.m. Press release/statement from the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota:

Minneapolis, MN – Steve Hunegs, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) issued the following statement today in response to the attack at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.:

“This shooting is a stark and painful reminder that no place, not even a memorial of the Shoah, is a haven from violence and hatred. As long as such hatred exists, all people of good will must work to teach respect and to fight bias. We salute law enforcement for its swift response to this crime. Our thoughts and prayers are with the wounded security guard, his family, and those visiting the museum today. We call on all people of good will to unequivocally condemn this act of hate.

“As the local agency tasked with community security matters, in the wake of this attack, the JCRC has been in contact with relevant law enforcement agencies and with leaders of Jewish communal institutions and synagogues. We have high confidence in our law enforcement agencies and thank them for their attention to security concerns. We urge members of the Jewish community and our communal institutions to conduct business as usual while increasing vigilance and security.”

  • Bea

    Has anyone investigating this shooting yet determined how the perpetrator got the gun into the museum in the first place?

  • Heather

    Sounds like he was at the entrance — Washington Post says it’s unclear right now which side of the metal detectors he was on, but their current article states that he was confronted by security.

    I’ll be getting the rest of my coverage from the Washington Post website on this story. It’s a great paper, they’re right there, and their website is a breeze to use.

  • Lottie

    This fresh act of domestic terrorism is deeply disturbing. In light of all the instances outlined in Bob’s article, I wonder what measures we (or rather the government, president, etc) can take to avoid these things without negating the civil rights of non-terrorist citizens.


  • MR

    CNN and the WaPo are reporting that the guard who was shot has died.

  • bsimon

    A friend has been predicting this kind of violence from the far right for some time – which I’ve chalked up to mild paranoia and overreaction. But with a doctor being shot in his church last week, and now this, its hard to discount those fears.

  • Bob Collins

    This seems to be the narrative that is developing now. The far right described it would seem as a monolith.

    To my knowledge, the far right does not deny the Holocaust or believe that Jews should be killed.

    The far right, as far as I know, does not believe in killing military recruiters.

    That leaves us with the killing of Dr. Tiller and there, of course, one wonders about the inciteful rhetoric of the most ardent anti-abortion groups and its relationship to the motivation to kill.

    What we do have these last 10 days are philosophical assassinations. It would be unfortunate if that fact gets lost in the urge to pin something on political opponents.

  • Michelle

    I hope the role that religious beliefs played in these 3 terrorist attacks gets a hard look. The more likely thing is that people will take the polite route and discount the bigotry that comes along with religion.

  • Bob

    BC, I think “philosophical assassinations” is the ultimate oxymoron. There’s nothing reasoned or thoughtful about these senseless, murderous acts.

    As long as garden variety whack jobs are among us, we will occasionally suffer their gun-assisted outbursts.

  • Bob Collins

    They’re being assassinated over a philosophy. That’s what I mean when I say “philosophical assassinations.”

    You know, right up until the moment a plane hit the World Trade Center, “terrorist” and “white supremacist” were nearly synonymous in our lexicon.

  • Lottie

    It wasn’t that long ago that the growing American Neo-Nazi movement was labeled as the up and coming Amercian Hammas.

    Much like bsimon, I suspect that is still paranoia. Unless these philosophical insurgents find a common bond and unite, they will only continue to feed the media something to put on the ticker.