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Who’s to Blame for Insanity?

James von Brunn, an 88-year-old nut, attacked the Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D.C., yesterday and murdered a security guard. Information is still coming to light about Mr. von Brunn, but the one thing we know for sure is that he is an anti-Semite.

What is most striking about von Brunn’s despicable attack is the man’s age. It is rare for men to be violent after around age 40; it’s hard to think of many precedents for a murderer in his late 80s. It’s a testament to the depth of his bigotry or mental illness.

Various media sources are referring to von Brunn as a “right wing” murderer, more or less as they refer to people like us as “right wingers.” This is a dubious characterization, to say the least: anti-Semitism is overwhelmingly a phenomenon of the Left in today’s world, and Leon Wolf, at RedState, points out that Mr. von Brunn’s political views are typical of those commonly expressed at the Daily Kos. No surprise there.

So is the Daily Kos to blame for von Brunn’s insane murder? Earlier today I got an email with a link to an article claiming that Barack Obama is to blame, since Obama has legitimized hatred of Israel. Is that fair?

I don’t think so. As hateful and misguided as many liberals may be, if they aren’t actually advocating violence (like Randi Rhodes, say) they shouldn’t be blamed if a lone nut takes their ideology to the extreme. Vigorous political debate is legal–as is bigotry, for that matter; murder is not. That’s a very bright line, and all that needs to be said on the subject. Who is to blame for murder? The murderer.

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