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Murder in Overland Park

Murders routinely happen here in Kansas, as they do everywhere, and it’s always a tragedy, but the ones on Sunday in Overland Park were especially appalling. A sick, twisted man gunned down a 14-year-old boy and his 69-year-old grandfather outside a Jewish Community Center, then drove to a nearby assisted living community called Village Shalom and fatally shot a 53-year-old woman. The boy and his grandfather were Methodists, and the woman a Catholic, but if there was any doubt that the locations were chosen because of a hatred of Jews the shooter erased it by shouting “Heil Hitler” as he was taken into custody.
The Missouri man made no secret of his anti-Jewish sentiments, and had been a “Grand Dragon” in the Ku Klux Klan and a founder of something called the White Patriot Party, so his crimes are clearly the latest in the bloody history of the oldest hatred. All decent people will offer only sympathy to the victims and their families and friends, as well as the intended victims, but others will inevitably use the tragedy to score the usual political points.
Had the murders been committed by Muslim terrorists, such as the ones Secretary of State John Kerry has lately been pressing the Israel government to release from its prisons, the prevailing rules of political discourse would discourse would require an admonition to not draw conclusions about anyone or anything other than the individual involved. When it’s an old white guy from the middle of America, especially one obliging enough to use the word “Patriot” in his perverted political activities, the reader is invited to extrapolate to his heart’s content. There’s an ever-present eagerness among the press to portray all people with conservative notions of constitutional restrains as gun-loving, government-hating terrorists itching to kill, even on the far more frequent occasions when the murders do turn out to be the work of Muslim terrorists, and cases such as this provide an irresistible opportunity.
Modern conservatism’s emphasis on limited government and free markets and individual liberty are the antithesis of National Socialism, of course, but somehow they will be conflated by the term “right-wing.” Modern conservatism is also distinguished by its steadfast support of religious freedom and affinity for the state of Israel, both of which are increasingly disparaged by the same liberals who slur the conservatives for their supposed intolerance, but the old charge of prejudice will once be made. That the killer was finding inspiration for anti-Jewish hatred in such a venerable leftist publication as The Nation will go unmentioned, as will the fact that almost all of the conservative media routinely accused of “hate speech” are outspokenly philo-Semitic.
We wish everyone in Overland Park well at this time of mourning. It’s a pleasant little suburb of Kansas City where most of the folks work hard, obey the law, and get along with all their neighbors, and the many conservatives among them don’t deserve to be slandered as complicit in a crime that has shocked their sensibilities.

— Bud Norman

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