Commentary: Speaking out against hate

The tragic shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in the nation's capital brings more distressing evidence of the hatred that simmers behind such acts of violence.

A gunman, allegedly a man with venomous and longstanding anti-Semitic views, entered the museum and opened fire. James von Brunn was charged Thursday with fatally wounding security guard Stephen T. Johns.

The 88-year-old von Brunn, who was shot by guards and remains hospitalized, is well-known to authorities as a Holocaust denier and as a white supremacist.

The St. Louis native and World War II veteran once tried to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve board. He served prison time in the 1980s for that foiled plan.

More recently, von Brunn associated with white supremacist groups, openly decried "the browning of America" and contended there is a Jewish conspiracy "to destroy the white gene pool."

The shooting at the Holocaust Memorial, coming on the heels of the murder of George Tiller, a physician who performed abortions, inevitably raises questions about what, if anything, can be done to anticipate and prevent acts of hate-driven violence.

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