In the aftermath of the fatal shooting of three people at two Jewish community centers last weekend, one voice has been absent on the online racist message board Vanguard News Forum (VNN), where the alleged killer was most active – its loquacious founder.
Neo-Nazi Alex Linder has earned himself quite the reputation as the foul-mouthed operator of VNN. But in the aftermath of Sunday’s killing rampage in Kansas, believed to have been committed by his friend and confidant Frazier Glenn Miller (aka Frazier Glenn Cross), Linder – who rarely lets a day pass without posting some racist screed – was stone silent.
It was a rare moment that led to wild speculation. Some of his fellow racists wondered if Linder was paralyzed with shock, while others thought he was keeping quiet under legal advice, or even cooperating with federal investigators putting together the details and motives of Miller’s decision to walk into the Jewish Community Center and a Jewish retirement home in Overland Park, Kan., and open fire.
In his first posts after breaking his silence, Linder gave no weight to any of those ideas. He claimed to have been quiet about the shootings because his cable went out for days, then cautioned other white nationalists to be careful what they post on VNN, as people would be watching as they dug through Miller’s colossal presence on the site. After all, Miller has been one of Linder’s closest confidants for years and worked as a national distributor for Linder’s “The Aryan Alternative,” VNN’s caustic, racist newsletter.
Linder contorted himself to protect Miller, who went by “Rounder” on VNN and posted thousands of racist messages over the years as a “senior member.” In Linder’s callous assessment of the tragedy, Cross had just had too much to drink, and just maybe, he suggested, the Jews – whom he labeled “swarthy, hairy, bow-legged, beady-eyed, parasitic midgets” – had it coming.
“It appears to me that Rounder acted on the spur of the moment. When you’re drunk, your inhibitions drop,” Linder wrote. But that wasn’t enough. There had to be someone, or something, responsible for what Cross did that day. It wasn’t Linder, and it certainly wasn’t VNN. “Who’s to blame here?” Linder asked. “Jews. Alone.”
“I'm afraid jews [sic] must take responsibility for Rounder's completely logical and completely justified hatred of them, too, for they murdered tens of millions of our folk last century, and are now embarked on a global campaign to bring about white genocide,” Linder wrote in another post that is one of many since he broke his silence. “When you do that, well, you have to expect a little blowback."
Blowback? That “blowback” was the death of three innocent people, identified as Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, and the boy’s grandfather, William Lewis Corporon, 69, both killed at the community center. The third victim, killed at the retirement center, was Terri LaManno, a 53-year-old occupational therapist visiting her mother.
Miller is not the first VNN user to resort to violence. And a two-year study just released by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that users of another racist forum, Stormfront, have murdered nearly 100 people in the last five years. One of those users was Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011, most of whom were teenagers at a summer camp.
But even for that that, Linder had praise. To a fellow commenter, he boldly wrote, “You don’t like [Breivik] because he erased a bunch of commie punks, and you used to be one. But I hate commie punks, and I have suffered in school from precisely the type he shot, and so I supported him.”