The victim:

“Colleagues called Stephen T. Johns “Big John,” for he was well over 6 feet tall. But mostly friends recalled the security guard’s constant courtesy and friendliness.

“A soft-spoken, gentle giant,” said Milton Talley, a former employee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where Johns was killed yesterday in the line of duty — shot, authorities said, by an avowed white supremacist who entered the museum with a rifle. (…)

“There are no words to express our grief and shock over these events,” the museum said in a statement, describing Johns as “an outstanding colleague who greeted us every day with a smile.”

Johns, a 1988 graduate of Crosslands High School in Temple Hills, lived in an apartment in the Temple Hills area. Friends said he had a son.”

My thoughts are with his family. May he rest in peace.

The shooter:

“When his ex-wife met him in the mid-1960s, he was a wine swiller consumed by hatred.

“[It] ate him alive like a cancer,” said the 69-year-old woman, who did not want her name used. “It’s all he would talk about. When I questioned him, he would get angry and abusive.

“He would talk about what the world would become in 20 or 30 years, that most of the country would be governed by black governors and that the Jewish people owned the media.”

TPM has a profile and some of his postings, if you have the stomach for them. And this article makes me wonder why he wasn’t under surveillance: he wrote a post saying his readers should not expect to hear from him again, gave away his computer, and wrote: “It’s time to kill all the Jews.”

For the life of me, I cannot understand people like this. It’s not just the completely insane beliefs, and the willingness to kill people, but letting your entire self become warped into pure hatred. As his ex-wife says: this sort of thing eats you alive. And he let it.

As a result, a good man was killed, and a child will grow up without a father.

The most surreal comment I’ve read, from a white supremacist who knew von Brunn:

“De Nugent called von Brunn a genius but described the shooting as the act of “a loner and a hothead.”

“The responsible white separatist community condemns this,” he said. “It makes us look bad.””

Words fail.

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