On 14 June I decided to send a press release to media re the Von Brunn story and the killing of the guard at the USHMM. I messed around with it and the next day I sent a draft of the release to three men who I count as primary advisors. Here is the draft of the release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bradley R. Smith
Desk: 209 682 5327
15 June 2009
James W. Von Brunn, the man who shot and killed a guard at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, is reported to be a Holocaust “denier.”
If we are to keep score, American Holocaust “deniers” are responsible for the killing of one innocent civilian in this century.
At the same time, if we are to keep score, American Holocaust “believers” are responsible for the killing of tens of thousands of innocent civilians in this century.
It can be argued that American Holocaust “believers” did their killing – in Iraq and Afghanistan -- for what they believe to be a “greater good.” According to stories in the American press it appears clear that Von Brunn did his killing for what he, too, believed was a “greater good.”
If it is wrong for a Holocaust “denier” to kill an innocent civilian for what he sincerely believes is a “greater good,” and it is, why is it not wrong for Holocaust “believers” to kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians for what they sincerely believe is a “greater good?”
THE BIG QUESTION: What is the primary difference between an American Holocaust “denier” and an American Holocaust “believer?”
Bradley R. Smith
PO Box 439016
San Ysidro, CA 92143
Desk: 209 682 5327
Cell: 619 203 3151
Advisor One replied: I understand the rhetorical intent, but you would make a massive concession to the other side if this were to go out ("Leading Holocaust denier admits deniers responsible for Holocaust Museum murder").
Advisor Two wrote: I think the biggest problem is that your release suggests that we accept von Brunn and are somehow associated with him. I never heard of him until the news story. While this guy may have read revisionism, his own revisionism was “cut and paste” from the works of others. We don’t want to be associated with him in anyway.
Advisor One wrote: While I doubt that the specifics of the crime will figure in the shaping of any eventual hate crime law, I fear that by your associating yourself and other revisionists with Von Brunn will not be counterbalanced in the media by invoking the fire-bombing of Tokyo or the post-WWII hunger blockade.
It would be better to stress the irenic and open-minded nature of revisionism (Von Brunn's act and the unbalanced attack on Elie Wiesel a couple of years ago are the only such acts that I can think of by persons calling themselves revisionists), contrasting that with the (far more relevant to the issue than Hiroshima etc.) physical attacks on revisionists and revisionist centers, as well as state repression of revisionist research and speech elsewhere.
From what I've read in Von Brunn's magnum opus, he is a pretty much an anti-Jewish cutter and paster who has added revisionism to a standard list of grievances, expounded in catechical style. In any case, his actions Wednesday harmed revisionism as grievously as anything that's happened in years.
I think Von Brunn's act needs to condemned in an explicit way, without cloying apologies, of course. I would contrast Von Brunn's crazy Custerism (good lefty word) with the revisionist way, say, Faurisson confronting Berenbaum and sundry revisionists studying the USHMM's exhibited evidence with gimlet eye, including SR's and your preoccupation with the delousing chamber door, etc. It's that kind of revisionism that the USHMM and Holocaust industry fear--much more than the Von Brunns and all their weaponry.
Advisor Three wrote: I too am inclined to not touch this matter except perhaps in the sense of condemnation of von Brunn. Here are a few observations.
"If we are to keep score, American Holocaust ‘deniers’ are responsible for the killing of one innocent civilian in this century."
If we read this literally things start to get complicated. If an American H denier murdered his wife to avoid the financial ruin of a divorce, then the literal content of the statement is false. Moreover, Timothy McVeigh and a few other murderers may or may not have been considered H deniers; I don’t know.
My main point is that motivation is central to the question you are dealing with. Before I proceed on the question of motivation let me note that the restriction to “American” seems arbitrary.
How would a H denying motivation explain what von Brunn did at the USHMM? I simply can’t figure that out. It seems dangerous to me to concede, implicitly, that H denial provides a motivation for the murder at the USHMM in the sense that impending financial ruin provides a motivation for the wife-killer.
In your attachment you ask:
“If it is wrong for a Holocaust ‘denier’ to kill an innocent civilian for what he sincerely believes is a ‘greater good,’ and it is, why is it not wrong for Holocaust ‘believers’ to kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians for what they sincerely believe is a ‘greater good?’”
Alas that could be read by a future von Brunn as providing justification for a murderous rampage!
It’s odd, but we were in some kind of disconnect. Intellectuals vs. the artist. My inclination was to jump on my horse and ride out into the middle of the media fray, a writer on the loose as it were, and keep a record of what went down. My advisors, being serious men and more sober of character than myself, had in mind to keep the boundaries of revisionism safe from the marauding media hoards and the Holocaust Marketing Industry.
I couldn’t ignore them. I decided yesterday to rewrite the press release. I went over and over it until the text was one hundred words longer and the whole too pedestrian to show to the world. When Hernandez came in this morning I did show it to him. He liked it. But I wasn’t convinced. While I am publishing the original draft here in this post, it will not go to the press. When you are aware of the fact that your advisors are smarter than you are, you can’t just ignore them.