Thursday, June 11, 2009
"A Man is But the Product of His Thoughts"
Mohandas Gandhi once wrote, “a man is but the product of his thoughts - what he thinks, he becomes.” On Wednesday, June 10th, James von Brunn actualized Gandhi’s famous quote. Von Brunn - an 88-year old self-identified, “white supremacist” - walked into the U.S. Holocaust Museum fueled with a heart of hatred and opened fire, fatally wounding a security guard and sending visitors fleeing from one of the National Mall’s most popular sites before he was finally shot.
We at PFLAG are both saddened and dismayed by yesterday’s tragic act of violence, which occurred at an institution symbolizing peace, remembrance and respect. Our thoughts and gratitude go out to the family of the brave security guard, who sacrificed his life in order to protect the many tourists visiting the museum. Yesterday’s terrible tragedy highlights for us the need to continue our work at advancing the Matthew Sheppard Act in the US Senate (S. 909). While this bill cannot prevent vigilantes like von Brunn from executing such cruel acts of hatred and violence, it can help local law enforcement officials devote the resources necessary to prosecute and bring such offenders to justice.
This legislation alone, however, will not change the hearts and minds of people like James von Brunn. The critical work that our PFLAG chapters continue to accomplish in communities all across the country enable us to dispel misinformation and also educate and empower new allies to join the cause of expanding civil rights to our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender loved ones. This important grassroots work cements the foundation for real change that will reflect the kind of peaceful society most of us strive to create. Let us all be the product of our peaceful thoughts and build a more respectful and peaceful future.
- Rhodes Perry