Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shooting at U.S. Holocaust Museum


In response to the shooting today at the U.S. Holocaust Museum by a suspected white supremacist, Sam Stein at the Huffington Post writes:

A heavily criticized Department of Homeland Security Report on right-wing extremism that was released in April warned precisely of the type of violent anti-Semitic activity that occurred at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

Stein continues:

In April, the Department of Homeland Security issued a draft memorandum warning that the current economic and political landscape created dangerously ripe conditions for a resurgence in radicalization and extremist recruitment. In it, federal officials warned specifically about an upswing of anti-Semitic behavior.

“Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cable of Jewish ‘financial elites,’” the report read. “These ‘accusatory’ tactics are employed to draw new recruits into right-wing extremist groups and further radicalize those already subscribing to extremist beliefs.”

Is it just a coincidence that while holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is locked in a neck-and-neck race against reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi in Iran, the NY Times reports minutes ago:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A gunman exchanged fire with security guards inside the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday.

U.S. Park Police Sgt. David Schlosser said the gunman walked into the museum with what he described as a ''long gun.'' The gunman and a security guard were shot. Both were taken to the hospital, but the extent of their injuries wasn't immediately known.

U.S. Park Police initially gave slightly different information, saying three people had been shot. Fire department spokesman Alan Etter told CNN a third person was hurt after being cut by broken glass. Several witnesses said they saw the security guard on the floor and bleeding.

The museum normally has a heavy security presence with guards positioned both inside and outside. All visitors are required to pass through metal detectors at the entrance, and bags are screened.

Schlosser said park police SWAT teams were doing a secondary sweep of the building, but they didn't believe there was another gunman.

The museum, located just off the National Mall near the Washington Monument, is a popular tourist attraction. It draws about 1.7 million visitors each year.

Roads surrounding the museum have been closed and blocked off with yellow tape. Several police cars and officers on horses surround the area.
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