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An Open Letter to the Editor of Slate, David Plotz

October 21, 2009

Dear Mr. Plotz,

I happened this afternoon across your site’s article today on top “80 Over 80” – your list of the most powerful octogenarians.  Your list contains many luminaries, statesmen, and inspirational people who have contributed to be a better society and a better world.  Many of these people in their older age continue to contribute positively to society – which you acknowledge.  One person on that list did not: James Von Brunn.

What on Earth possessed you to ok the inclusion of the U.S. Holocaust Museum shooter in the list is beyond me.  The man is a neo-Nazi thug.  A murder.  The only list he belongs on is a court docket.  I find it repugnant that you would dare include a violent Holocaust denier on a list that includes Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

 What is worse is that you name him as an activist and a religious leader.  Christian Identity is a religion, but not one that is supported by any decent person.  It believes in the supremacy of white Protestants over all others.  To call him a religious leader over-states any influence he has ever had in the neo-Nazi, white supremacist community.  But to call him activist is without question even worse.  The action this man took was to take a loaded gun into the Holocaust Museum and MURDER Officer Johns. He did not organize rallies, he did not motivate, inspire or bring change, he murdered in cold blood.  Luckily the museum guards acted quickly and prevented further bloodshed.  But to call this man an activist is to make murder heroic, something to be proud of.

You, and any other staff who approved Von Brunn’s inclusion in this article, should be deeply ashamed.  Mr. Von Brunn caused tremendous pain in the local DC community, as well as the greater Jewish Community.  Responsible publications do not glorify murderers, nor do they make light of a deeply sinister action brought about by an evil individual.  But it is not too late to make things right.  Remove him from the list, and apologize to the thousands, if not millions, of Americans who were hurt by Von Brunn’s homicidal actions.

I hope you will do the right thing.


Rachel Kahan

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