June 12th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Hate in America

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/06/12/holocaust.survivors.museum.reaction/art.holocaust.memorial.cnn.jpg caption= "A makeshift memorial sits outside the Holocaust museum in Washington on Friday."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight, we're bringing you a special edition of 360°: "American Radical: The Lone Wolf." We think it's important to talk about the wave of terrorism that's largely gone unnoticed here in the U.S. These are shootings and bombings on Americans, by Americans.

The latest attack was Wednesday at Washington's U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Police say Stephen Tyrone Johns, 39, a security officer at the museum, was killed by an 88-year-old white supremacist.  Stephen, at six foot six, was known as a "gentle giant."  He was so kind to others, sadly, one of his last acts was to hold the door open so the elderly man who authorities said would shoot him could come inside.  The reality is there have been many attacks in the U.S. this spring by so-called "lone wolves", those who are filled with so much hate they act along and not as part of a group.

Tonight we'll look at what's fueling the hate. Could it be the election of America's first African-American president and even the rocky economy? Our experts weigh in.

You'll also hear from a former skinhead. Who inspired him to change his life for the better? Don't miss his remarkable story.

Plus, Erica will have all the day's other headlines. We're waiting to see who won the presidential election in Iran. And, an American accused of murder in Italy takes the stand in her own defense.

Join us for all this and more starting at 10pm ET.
See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • T1 • The Buzz
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Mary

    I think that anyone who feels the need to blame someone else for their own misfortune is just uninformed. The media in general "runs" with things before they really have thought out the impact on society. We need to be accountable, each one of us, for our actions. We do not have the right to blame someone else because we feel that we deserve more than what we have worked for. I would love to travel Europe, walk the Roman road, I am not able to at this time, that does not mean that I should condemn everyone that can. I think we need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. Hatred is selfish and self serving. No good comes of it for either side.

    June 13, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  2. Shawn M

    The year is 2009, you'd think we could all just get along by now.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:50 am |
  3. Friedrich N.

    Because we have a black President? Hate is on the rise? I can't help but think far too many people in the media have no sense of the history of humankind. I would challenge anyone to point out a time in history when hate wasn't present. Let me add a little philosophy, love and hate are eternally linked. There is no good without bad; it is impossible. Think of the most pleasurable thing a you can expirience and imagine it continuing indefinetly. Even sex becomes irratating if done for too long. People even become bored with happiness; feelings do not stand still. The greater good becomes, the greater evil becomes; of course both are just the false perception of the time. Take a man from ancient Greece, bring him to this time, and the only "progress" he could see is in science; not the human spirit. Quite possibly he would say we have gone down, as evolution does not mean elevation, nor survival of the fittest. The weak always prevail because they have always drastically out numbered the strong. Add that to better medical care, which quite simply preserves those who are ripe for death, and the prevailing thoughts on evolution are destroyed. Yes we evolve, change, but for the better? I'm sorry, starting to ramble. Didn't some old man, probably on heart medication, just kill a young, strong man? And guess what? Someone was born today, and every following day, who is going to hate and love; that is a certaintanty.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:17 am |
  4. Michelle - St Augustine, FL

    When we generate anger or hatred ,90% of the ugliness of the object of our anger is due to our own exageration of the ugliness. At the point when anger is generated, reality is not seen, rather, an unreal mental projection of extreme badness is seen, evoking twisted un realistic actions . The actual situation viewed from a perspective of anger or hate are always obscured .It prevents the person from judging the situation correctly,and causes them to act in regretable ways. It destroys their peace of mind and disturbs everyone they meet. Anger and hatred is usually triggered by something quite insignificant. Anger can weave an elaborate fantasy, exaggerating the unpleasantness of the situation and provides the lone wolf with rationalizations and justifications for his outrage and resentment. At the present time when the US is facing many situations like a bad economy, joblessness, government at each others throats, 24/7 media coverage of the previous hate crimes that have happened,and yes even the election of the 1st blackamerican president, any one of these may be the trigger that has been waiting to produce a cascade affect that lead to the lone wolf and his hate crimes we are seeing today. How we stop the escalade is through being more patient, tolerance and respectful of each other. You do not have to like someone to repsect that they have the right to life and their opinions as much as you do. Many of these groups play on the fear and anger and what destruction it can cause, because they are still seeing everything from the perspective of anger which distorts the view of the truth.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:44 am |
  5. Patty

    This guy definitely has emotional problems and he's most likely a product of his environment. Being a "skinhead" is no different than being affiliated w/a gang, which brings me to my point......it's all terrorism. Stop it now. Quit giving these guys air time. They thrive on negative attention. I don't believe it has anything to do with a black president. That's a lame excuse. When will we quit using the term "black", "jew", "white", "left" and "right", or other terms that differentiate one from another? When we can hold a conversation without these divisive words we'll be on our way to a better understanding and acceptance of one another.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:39 am |
  6. brett

    why do we need the Anderson and the news media to inflate this criminal incident? I haven't seen this kind of fake drama in my lifetime. This guy was a loon. The problem is not racism but discrimination against profits, employers and the free markets. there are crazy people out there and desperate times, make for desperate actions. people are anxious when they see a president make some of the boldest most unbelieveably anti american and economically damaging moves in their lifetime. the scary thing is watching this government take such giant leaps toward Euro-socialism.. most people i know who have watchedth eir savings dwindle in the last few months, are very nervous indeed. This is anxiety against the government which appears to many to be stealing our individualism. Seems to me that this is all just part of a larger plan to paint a picture of a sick america versus a sick administration. I'm not buying it!!!

    June 12, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  7. chanice- california

    well said jean

    June 12, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  8. manny

    Hate in America.. Is there anything that should be hated? Should everything be acceptable to everyone at all times? You cannot love unless you know hate, just like you cannot know life unless you realize death. Liberals deny everything for the sake of nothing. They profess to stand for everything, but really stand for nothing. To know right is to hate wrong, and to accept wrong as right means you stand for nothing.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  9. Baljit, Illinois

    People seem to be surprised every time this happens. I wonder how many of these comments and opinion comes from minorities. US ia one of the most racially biased country....some more obvious than others.
    The melting-pot is not so melting.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:20 pm |
  10. Carmen

    Important report but you need to go the next step – I'm a Puerto Rican grandmother age 70 and have seen much in my life in the U.S. I've also been the brunt of racism. What is fueling this uptick in radical hate crimes is the constant hate language being spewed out by the right-wing radio and TV media 24/7 about how this government is going to take away your guns, your liberty, your money, your very life. They go as far as to suggest revolution. They claim the President is illegal and should not be obeyed by the troops. I've seen this hate mongering since Obama became a presidential candidate and I've seen it escalate to this fever pitch since he was inaugurated. It's very scary and needs to be stopped. I deal with it at work because my boss so hates Obama. But there's nothing I can do there because I need my job. God help us.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:20 pm |
  11. jackie mills

    this is so sad, it broke my heart when i read that mr. johns was being courteous and opened the door for the "man" that would take his life that day, all my condolences goes out to his family and coworkers, i myself know the feeling of losing a coworker suddenly, its horrifying, it comforts me to think that the day that mr. johns opened that door and his life was taken that another door was "opened for him" by our heavenly Father......God bless.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  12. Carol

    Anderson Cooper:

    "These are people who are afraid and hate the U.S. Government".
    These are people, whom believe have been restricted the freedom of speech,
    who have served the U.S. Government in some kind of killing whether it be war
    or abortion or something we don't know about and may never be able to understand because of lack
    of frame of reference, people who, perhaps due to the experience and knowledge of our new president,
    feel free to commit their statement crimes knowingly open to the media and public.

    These hate cells are not new. Lone wolves have taken an open step to freedom of thought.
    Timothy McVey had a message. But he wasn't a "lone wolf."
    No one listened.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:13 pm |
  13. Nick Curtis

    Von Brunn is a racist murderer, not a terrorist. His victims are heroes. Private William Long's murder was an act of terrorism against the United States of America.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:13 pm |
  14. Vincent Nicoletti


    Don't you think you're glorifying this guy? You're showing his younger picture, why, i don't know, unless you want your criminals looking good. You're repeating his idiotic notebook ramblings, thereby proving if you don't get published all you have to do is kill someone and then CNN will publish you. Get real! For the sake of sensationalistic journalism you give these people exactly what they want: free publicity and stardom.
    Not cool!

    June 12, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  15. K Pin

    I am a US citizen living abroad and a relatives of camp victims....living overseas now... it is amazing this is so ...wow..
    How can I live in eastern Europe and never hear this, yet only hear this?
    They are so worried about the Muslims here now as well...how did that become fair?

    June 12, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  16. Jean

    It is sad and unfortunatel that the security man was murdered by that man who hated the government, the jews and blacks.
    Hate does not exist only in America. God knows "the negroes" have been hated and discriminated for numerous years. Note what they went through under the hands of the so-called white man/people. Segregation and all which resulted in the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and some other people. These were sad times for that race in America as the rest of the world heard and read about it and some of specifically similar race wished that they could have done something to eradicate racism in America . This is written in the history books and will be there until the end of time.
    Hatred also exists in Canada and elsewhere in the world. Hatred comes in different disguises and for different reasons. Also among identical nationalities and races and also different ones. This could exist right in the work force.
    It is no difficult to notice the demeanor of those who possess hatred for other people. I am able to suspect it if people have hatred in their hearts. How? Simple. It shows on their faces and also their actions. What is imbedded in the heart, mind and thought project itself on the face. The face is the mirror of the heart.
    The government should not allow hatred over the Internet. The government should shut down those type of Websites including, with no exception pornography, for good.

    Toronto, Canada

    June 12, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  17. Catherine Koster

    My family have been victims for 5yrs. Finally after all this We've concluded the hate crimes are fueled and protected by authorities and there's very little victims can do. They are very organized and not alone, so this guy who killed a black man is NOT alone and I hope the haters will be exposed and brought to justice.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  18. josepj.j

    "I would really hate to think that this is because of us having a Black American President, but I would be wrong to rule it out , my thing is that is anybody following the sign o' the times according to the bible,it speaks of days like this. Where hate comes from (any hate) for that matter, we must trust God, and endure, because I believe that times may get worse before they get better. Swallow the bitterness.
    Love those who hate because they are lost in this world".

    June 12, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  19. Jackie Cole

    The reason most young people join any group or gang is to find or replace family life. People that will give them structure and purpose and love and discipline within the group. They find a common bond, goals, heroes to worship and everything they physically need.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  20. Mark

    Watching the show.
    I'm betting Radical Left-wing extremists like Weather Underground won't even be mentioned.
    Strange isn't.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  21. Carol Hornbaker

    Hate is fueled by unanswered anger. Violation of ones rights or at least the perception of rights being violated.
    When understanding and love abide these feelings can be properly placed.
    Insecurity, caused by lack of love feeds the hatred.
    Love takes time and a lot of giving. These two things are lacking in our society today.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  22. Fred Plappert

    Dept of Homeland Security must go on High Alert since this the first domestic attack since the Oklahoma bombing especially in the heart of our nations capital. Hat's off those law enforcement officers at the museum although they lost of their own they did their job and protecting the public inside this hollowed museum.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  23. Sandra Robertson

    Good evening Maureen. I look foward to AC360 tonight and hearing what your experts believe may be contributing to the high numbers of hate and murder crimes over the past few months. I pray for all the families who have suffered at the hands of those who hate.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:01 pm |
  24. Isabel, Brazil

    Hi, Maureen!
    Happy Friday! 🙂

    The episode of Von Brunn is only one among several cases, unfortunately. A very interesting article in the Washington Post today shows the dilemma of US authorities – both the Department of Homeland Security as the FBI – on which the limits for the police intervention in cases of radical extremist groups when the speech is propagator of hatred and intolerance with for certain groups of society.

    The daily challenge of the authorities today is to find the balance between civil liberties of American citizens and the need to investigate activities that could lead to criminal conduct. After all there is freedom of expression. How not to harm freedom of expression, but also protect the innocent citizen?

    June 12, 2009 at 9:47 pm |
  25. Annie Kate

    Lot of ugliness in the country right now – its probably built up over time and some event, maybe the economy or Obama's election, was the straw that broke the camel's back. Looking forward to the report.

    June 12, 2009 at 9:05 pm |