Some stray thoughts on James von Brunn, the execrable Holocaust memorial shooter:
His new housemate also soon showed that "he was big into the Hitler thing," Aulbach said.
At times, they would be watching television together, "and you'd just hear '88.' And I didn't know if the guy maybe had Alzheimer's or something, maybe he was losing his mind a little bit. I kept asking Eric, 'Eric, what is he saying?' Finally, he said, 'H is the eighth letter of the alphabet and 88 is HH. Heil Hitler.' And that's what he told me."
So, did von Brunn want to make a last bid for immortality while 88? When is his birthday, anyway?
[A troubled aside - I would have promised that I had blogged on "88" in response to a James Taranto "Best Of" piece a few years ago. Is memory an unfaithful servant, or am I betrayed by Google? Hey, go with Bing! Google can't even find the Taranto piece, but Bing puts it at the top. Doesn't explain my Epic Fail of a memory, though.]
2. Was von Brunn attempting a suicide-by-cop? According to the Times (which describes a note that does not really read like a suicide note) he took his .22 rifle to the Memorial and left the heavier 30/30 at home. I have a hard time believing von Brunn expected to survive his attack at the Memorial. That said, I also have a hard time believing he went with the lighter weapon because he hoped to spare others. One guess - as a convicted felon, von Brunn could not legally buy rifles; the Times speculates that he bought both weapons before his 1981 incident at the Federal Reserve. Do 30/30 rifles not age well? Perhaps someone with more knowledge of rifles can shed some light on the weapons choice here.
3. Von Brunn claims his Social Security had been recently cut. That should be easy to verify.
James W. von Brunn was growing despondent.
John de Nugent, an acquaintance who describes himself as a white separatist, noticed the change when they last spoke two weeks ago.
"He said his Social Security had been cut and that he was barely making it," de Nugent said. "He felt it was the direct result of someone in Washington looking at his Web site."
Was his Social Security cut with no legal proceeding because of his website? Sounds like paranoid lunacy, but if it is true, the denials and cover-up will be comedy gold.
Well, the guy was a nutjob, so guessing at his motivation may be hopeless. That said, economist Paul Krugman is a sufficiently insightful psychologist to know that von Brunn was set off by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the Republican Party, even though the Buchanan wing of the party has been given the heave-ho.