Shots at D.C. Holocaust Museum Echo in South Florida
The big story of the day is this afternoon's shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., that claimed the life of a security guard and left the shooter, who had ties to the white supremacist movement, wounded.
South Florida has its own Holocaust Center and Museum, just as it has the headquarters for one of the nation's leading white nationalist websites, Stormfront.org, run by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Don Black from his West Palm Beach home.
Rositta Kenigsberg, the Hollywood center's executive vice president, heard the news while driving back to the center from a meeting. She was glad to see Hollywood police cruisers at the center when she arrived.
The center's Harrison Street building is still under construction, and the voice-mail message indicates that it's open only for scheduled tours. For obvious reasons, Kenigsberg couldn't tell us any more about the security measures it's taken -- except that whatever they are, today's events in Washington underscore their necessity.
"It puts us on notice about the world we live in," says Kenigsberg, whose center stresses education as the means for overcoming bigotry. "That's why the work we do here is even more important today than it was yesterday."
Meanwhile, the pages at Stormfront.org are very slow to load, surely a result of the sudden spike in interest. The messageboard thread on the D.C. shootout offers fascinating insight into the reflexes of its white nationalist members. They seemed to draw the same quick conclusion after hearing word of shots being fired at the Holocaust museum: that it might be one of their own. Several posters express hope that many in their community may have had: that the shooter would prove to be a Muslim.
Even if the alleged shooter, James von Brunn, had more extreme views than the majority who visit Stormfront, the white nationalists know they've got an image problem, the kind that can't be fixed with a Details profile of Derek Black (called the next David Duke, he doesn't consider it a backhanded compliment). Remember, Pittsburgh cop-killer Richard Poplawski also had ties to the movement.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.