I am moved to jot down a few thoughts about the murderous rampage against Jewish people in Kansas City by the 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller (aka Cross), a well-known KKK hater.
This isn’t my usual kind of topic, but I just saw a speech that Obama gave at his prayer meeting at the White House this morning. Of course, my first reaction was to search high and low for that separation of church and state we were promised, but I didn’t find it.
Here’s what Obama said about the anti-Semitic murders: "No one should have to fear when they are at their place of prayer." However, the victims were not at a synagogue: they were at a community center and at a retirement home. This isn't about prayer. And why does the President seem to imply that death at prayer is worse than death at a community event? (Later edit: At least two of the victims turned out to be devout Christians, ironically.)
This does seem to have been a hate crime, however. Isn’t that bad enough? Many sources say that the murderer stopped to ask people if they were Jewish before he shot them. He yelled “Heil Hitler!” as he was taken away in a police vehicle.
According to the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper:
In a 2010 interview with Howard Stern, the radio shock jock, who is Jewish, Mr. Miller was asked who he hated more, Jews or African-Americans. Mr. Miller answered 'Jews. A thousand times more. Compared to our Jewish problem, all other problems are mere distractions.'
He claimed Jews controlled the federal government, mass media and the Federal Reserve Bank. 'And with those powers, they’re committing genocide against the white race,” he said.
In the same interview, he called Adolf Hitler 'the greatest man who ever walked the earth.'
The newscasters keep calling this man elderly. He’s 73 – scarcely elderly. What they don’t note is that he is a male, he is white, and he is a terrorist? Can you imagine if his name was Laila or Ahmed? The headlines would be very different. This Frazier Glenn Miller has long been tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors these hate groups. Unfortunately, SPLC points to a record high number of white supremacist groups nowadays.
The murderer apparently had a shotgun, an assault rifle, and a handgun. No one is pointing to his free access to weapons, despite his long history as a senior KKK officer and member of other white supremacist groups. No one is talking about the right-wing encouragement of hate permeating our society.
Male, white, racist, armed-and-violent: these are the markers of most of the exhausting stream of purposeful murderers in the public spaces of this country – from schools to malls to retirement homes. These are the markers that should be highlighted. The gender and race of perpetrators only seem to be headlined when they are not male and white.