Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Tragic Loss Is Also A Victory

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust adds its voice to the chorus of those wishing to comfort the friends and loved ones of Steven Tyrone Johns, of blessed memory, pictured at right.

Mr. Johns died violently, an innocent victim caught in the crossfire between a known white supremicist and the target of the murderer's obsessive hatred. His passing undoubtedly broke the hearts of all those who knew him and loved him.

Today was a tragic loss, but also a stunning victory. Today good triumphed over evil, completely the opposite of what happened during the Holocaust. There evil triumphed over good; the innocents were imprisoned, tortured and murdered, while the evil Nazi perpetrators flourished. Mr. Johns is not just a hero to the Jewish people or the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, but to mankind.

The history of Mr. Johns' murderer was known to law enforcement and private watchdog groups such as the Anti-Defamation League. He had been imprisoned for previous anti-Semitic acts, and actively engaged in white supremisist acts for decades. These facts only underscore the simple irony that instead of dying, the evil he represents will itself kill when given the slightest opportunity.

The perpetrator's evil flourishes when good people do nothing, as they did too often during the Holocaust. Mr. Johns and his fellow guards at USHMM responded as they should have. But brave and quick-acting security guards are only the proximate protectors of good. Each of must do something, today and in our own homes, in our schools, our places of worship, and our communities, to make sure virulent hatred may never have another opportunity to kill.

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