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June 11, 2009

Makeshift Memorials and Memory


by guest blogger Cara Finnegan

The U. S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. is closed today in the wake of the shooting yesterday that killed security guard Stephen T. Johns, who leaves behind a wife and young son. This photo captures well how layered collective memory can be: a poignant, makeshift memorial left at a place formally (and fiercely) dedicated to remembering the very worst effects of human hatred. The presence of security guards in the background only heightens the sense of tragedy and vulnerability.

After the shooting, Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a statement that said in part, "It is deeply disturbing that one of America's most powerful symbols of the memory of the Holocaust was selected as the site of the attack just days after President Obama accompanied Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel to the Buchenwald death camp." Indeed, it is hard not to wonder if the incredibly human, moving, and yes, empathic images of Obama and Wiesel were what set this guy off.

(image: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Serr8d

    Indeed, it is hard not to wonder if the incredibly human, moving, and yes, empathic images of Obama and Wiesel were what set this guy off.

    Seriously? You wonder what trigger a crazy man needed to set him off? Was it your Dear Leader, maybe? You certainly would like to make this political, wouldn’t you?
    You know this guy hated Bush, right? And was a Registered Democrat?
    I’d say he was a far-left Democrat. Really.

  • mcc

    “Indeed, it is hard not to wonder if the incredibly human, moving, and yes, empathic images of Obama and Wiesel were what set this guy off.”
    Just for the record, there is evidence he had been planning this for over a week, before Obama’s trip began.
    This said a note found in his car does seem to indicate that he considered himself motivated by some sort of imagined Obama-related slights.

  • caraf
  • Progressive Mom

    Hey, BAGnews Notes …. Welcome to the “real” world of the blog-o-sphere….your very first poster on this topic is a troll-based, don’t-blame-us-because-someone-got-shot, it-must-be-Obamas-fault, quick-let’s-get-our-meme-out-there with a website that calls the first lady a “garden ho” and the president “The One.”
    Let’s see: a man walks into the national Holocaust Museum after leaving a trail of hateful speech toward Jews, blacks, the Federal Reserve and the president and — somehow — it’s BAGnews that making “this political.”
    BAGnews must be on the troll circuit now. Sad in many ways, but a trophy moment in others.

  • Paula

    Talk about vulnerable. The union for (DC area?) guards were insisting that, particularly for sensitive sites like the Holocaust Museum, security employees wear bulletproof vests. The contractor refused.
    Further more, for the job he did, Johns deserved more than $20 an hour. I hope his family is well taken care of.

  • ids

    Prayers for the dear man and his friends and family . . .
    The platic bottle reminds me of the seemingly everyday mourning this country does for another almost seemingly random victim of anothers’ brutal violence.
    I also think how no civilians were killed. Also, besides reasons of efficiency, Nazis used gas because the soldiers couldn’t mentally take all the shooting and how maybe more lives would be saved if more prisoners forced Nazis to use bullets (just a thought) rather than gas, and how the killer here needed to shoot a bullet at someone before he goes dies, however wasteful. How now Holocaust museums change. And how sad it must be for the two guards pictured.

  • Serr8d

    Hey, “The One” as Title was given to O! by none other than Oprah Winfrey.
    He hasn’t done much to deny it, either.
    As for “garden ho”, blame Obama himself for that. If he hadn’t annoyed the Brits by sending back the statue of Winston Churchill (given as a gift just after 9/11), the British media wouldn’t have compared (unfavorably) M’Chelle Obama to the lovely and gracious Mademoiselle Sarcozy.
    There are consequences, ya know.

  • g

    “He hasn’t done much to deny it”
    What? Are you saying the president of the United States should “deny” what a TV personality said about him? Are you saying it’s OK to call Michelle Obama a “ho” because…well, you’re not making much sense, but I think you’re saying it’s OK because she gardens (Oh ha ha, very funny!)or maybe because Britons didn’t like a gift.
    Are you particularly concerned over what Britons think of gifts? Are you concerned about a gossip-column-manufactured rivalry between two First Ladies? Is that your big political issue? Are these the things that keep you awake at night?

  • Serr8d

    “It is a great advantage to a president, and a major source of safety
    to the country, for him to know that he is not a great man.”
    –Calvin Coolidge
    What keeps me awake at night?
    A recession chart: Where we are right now. on Twitpic

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