Anti-Semitic keyboard warrior becomes real-life terrorist

Anti-Semitic keyboard warrior becomes real-life terrorist

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Neo-Nazi rally / Photo by Thivierr, used under Flickr Creative Commons license
Neo-Nazi rally / Photo by Thivierr, used under Flickr Creative Commons license

OCALA, Fla., April 16, 2014 — Over the weekend, a 73-year-old man armed himself and set out to kill Jews. He targeted a Jewish community center and retirement home in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park.

The result was three dead Christians. One, Reat Griffin, was a 14-year-old high school freshman; he died alongside his grandfather, Dr. William Corporon. The third was a middle-aged woman who had been visiting her mother. The victims were essentially passers-by. Their lives ended all the same.

As the killer was being carried away from the scene, he cried out his support of Adolf Hitler. For years, he had been active on Vanguard News Network. Anyone with the stomach to look at his activities there might understand why this elderly Nazi became a killer.

VNN is a discussion forum which might make Stormfront regulars blush. The ringleader is Alex Linder, one of America’s foremost neo-Nazi activists. Linder has built a detailed profile as an anti-Semitic rhetorician bar none.

League of the South activist Hunter Wallace posted a VNN screen capture on his blog. It revealed that the Jewish center killer, under the screen name “Rounder,” voted in support of Linder’s aim “to attack Christianity and … advocate exterminating all Jews.”

In a separate posts, Wallace, a vociferous opponent of white nationalism and neo-Nazism, noted how “Vanguardists” and “Vantards” often commit acts of extreme violence. He also wrote of their movement’s dead end nature.

The influence which VNN had on “Rounder” cannot be underestimated. The man made over 12,000 posts in its various discussion rooms.

Over the last few days, media sources have made much over Rounder’s membership in the Ku Klux Klan. They have also focused on his role as a federal witness in the late-1980s sedition trials of terroristic white supremacists. Rounder himself would become a convicted felon for his antigovernment militancy, but he avoided the harsher sentences handed out to his comrades.

His cooperation with law enforcement led to him being estranged with many white supremacists. Nonetheless, he found a welcoming home at VNN.

Journalists should pay far more attention to his online activities. This would be useful for understanding what possibly inspired him to target random individuals. It is no secret that he was a proud neo-Nazi. What pushed him to domestic terrorism remains an open question, though.

In a Monday blog entry, Wallace theorized that Rounder’s “hero Alex Linder has consistently advocated his ‘principled solution’ of exterminating the Jews for 10 years now, so Glenn assumed that by acting to exterminate the Jews he would win the admiration of his peers at VNN Forum.”

Like no shortage of commentators have stated, the Overland Park tragedy is a morbid reminder of anti-Semitism’s potency; even in twenty-first century America. Few, if any, however, have recognized that it is also a gruesome example of how online chatter can lead to real-world carnage.

The keyboard warriors of today may move past their computers tomorrow. While such a thing cannot be prevented in all cases, surely solutions can be found to prevent an untold number from destroying the lives of others, along with their own.

A country of genuine social consciousness — where celebrity fundraisers don’t determine who lends a helping hand — would have been working on something to this effect long ago.

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