By Jared Peterson
On the evening of February 19, 2020, in the west German city of Hanau, a severely disturbed 43-year-old German male opened fire in two separate bars frequented by persons of non-German origin, particularly Turkish, killing nine innocent people. It appears that all the victims were non-Germans, either immigrants or first-generation born of immigrants. The murderer fled the scene, returned to his apartment, and turned the gun on his 72-year-old mother and then on himself.
The perpetrator, Tobias Rathjien, apparently never married, had posted an extensive internet manifesto before his evil deeds and, possibly, a video, where his crazed and odious views were on display, as well as his obviously severe mental derangement.
The events are still being investigated, so many of my sentences must begin with the phrase “it appears” or “apparently.” But the political consequences of this appalling mass murder are unfolding so quickly in Germany — and in much the way I would have predicted — that I thought it important to comment now, based on what is tentatively known.
Significantly, it appears that all of the murderer’s internet leavings have been taken down, so it’s impossible now to add to the little that was quickly spotted about his severe, probably psychotic, delusions and paranoia.
Was that intentional, to make it easier to present him as a “typical right-winger”?
Some of what is known about the man, per various news sources that had brief access to the written manifesto and video:
He apparently expressed a belief that all people in Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Israel, Pakistan, Iran, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines, among other countries, must be killed. He apparently said he favored reducing the world’s population by half through mass murder.
In addition to his dreams of mass murder, certain of his truly delusional ravings were spotted before the internet trail was expunged: he apparently believed that the United States military is currently operating underground facilities where children are being sexually abused and killed and some sort of satanic worship is going on. He also said he has been unable to form a relationship with a woman because the German government has been following him.
How is this atrocity, perpetrated by an obvious paranoid schizophrenic, being used by German elites and the chancellor?
Unless you can read German, it’s impossible to appreciate the torrent of blame, howling rage, condemnation, and calls for punishment, all directed against the right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AFD), that this appalling mass murder has called forth. It is no exaggeration to say this atrocity is being utilized, first and foremost by Chancellor Merkel herself, to destroy the AFD — a destruction that, if accomplished, would leave Germany with no conservative opposition to the government’s widely detested mass migration and climate hysteria policies.
The ongoing political reaction strongly suggests that this is the event Germany’s major political parties and their supporters were waiting for — an event that can be readily fashioned into a club with which to beat the AFD to death.
To give you a flavor of what’s being said, here is a translation of the lead portion of Merkel’s remarks on the event:
The background of these terrible murders will be investigated down to the last detail. But there is a lot of evidence that suggests the perpetrator acted out of far-right extremist and racist motives, out of hatred for people with a different background, a different religion, and different looks.
Absolutely no mention by the chancellor of the fact that there is “also a lot of evidence” that the perpetrator was a delusional, paranoid psychotic, even more mentally disturbed than the German Wings commercial copilot who flew his plane into a mountain in the French Alps.
Neither the German nor the English mainstream coverage mentions — or does so only passingly — the individual’s obvious severe mental illness, paranoia, and delusions of persecution. That would attenuate the narrative that’s being built up, which is this:
Everyone in Germany who has rational reservations about the sudden and deliberate import of millions of Muslims, everyone who sensibly and soberly questions whether it makes sense for two societies so different in values and behavior to be thrown together, is a potential mass murderer, or at least complicit in engendering mass murder.
What is unfolding in Germany now, hour by hour, is the deliberate and grossly dishonest intrumentalizing of a great tragedy, perpetrated by an almost certainly lone psychotic, for the purpose of shutting down the AFD, whose views on immigration are infinitely closer to those of a large majority of Germans than those of the chancellor.
The Germans have a special court (Verfassungsschutz Gericht) for monitoring and surveilling groups and occasionally political parties deemed a threat to the constitution, the rule of law, and democracy. Being placed under such surveillance is the kiss of death to any political party. The tactic is almost invariably employed against conservative groups.
“Antifa,” closely aligned with the three parties of the Left, the Greens, SPD, and the odious “die Linke,” direct successors to the East German Communists, runs wild, intimidating, threatening, and physically assaulting conservatives; destroying property; and menacing peaceful demonstrators and conservatives in their homes. But the Verfassungsschutz Gericht rarely if ever gives Antifa (or its stealth sponsor parties of the Left) a glance. When a tragedy like this occurs, on the other hand, the cry goes up from the Left, with at least tacit support from the chancellor, for constitutional court surveillance — of a party that has never advocated anything close to what Antifa regularly engages in, let alone the horrible acts of the Hanau murderer.
We have seen this tactic in America, but conservatives have more resources here for self-defense. In the early days after severely disturbed Jared Loughner’s 2011 shooting spree in Arizona, which left six dead and a congresswoman severely wounded, there were serious efforts by the American Left to blame the deranged perpetrator’s acts on conservative commentators who had criticized President Obama. In the event, those efforts failed.
And we all remember the unhinged Bernie Sanders–supporter who came within one brave cop of killing a score of Republican congressmen. Republicans were outraged, but no one seriously suggested that Bernie Sanders, and his intense criticisms of America, was morally responsible for the acts of a lone psychopath, or that allowable political discussion needed to be abridged, to avoid the risk of pushing such persons over the edge.
I’m usually loath to analogize between historical events, to suggest that this or that set of circumstances is just like one that occurred long ago. But in the case of the Hanau murders in Germany today, and how they are being ruthlessly utilized to destroy Germany’s only conservative opposition, to destroy a political party fully committed to democracy and the rule of law, the similarities of what did in fact occur long ago in Germany to these events are too much to escape mention.
Adolf Hitler became the chancellor of Germany under the Weimar constitution on January 30, 1933. At Hitler’s ascension the Nazi Party held a plurality of seats in the Reichstag (parliament), but not a majority — other parties were present in the parliament, including the socialists, the communists (lots of them), and various smaller parties of the center and right.
Almost four weeks to the day after Hitler’s assumption of the chancellorship, the Reichstag burned, almost certainly the work of an arsonist. The crime was pinned on a Dutch communist, who almost certainly worked alone. In fact, history has never fully settled the question of whether the Reichstag’s burning might have been a false flag action by the Nazis themselves.
But what followed the Reichstag fire is not in dispute: claiming that the act of arson was the work of Reichstag communist parliamentarians who were attacking the Weimar Republic (a contention no one credits today), Hitler convinced the aged President Hindenburg to issue an emergency decree allowing the arrest of all Reichstag communists — which Hitler did with alacrity.
This moved the Nazis in the Reichstag from a plurality to a majority and greatly facilitated Hitler’s dissolution over the ensuing year of the Weimar Republic and his establishing the Third Reich.
Will the Hanau atrocity be Merkel’s Reichstag fire? So far, she’s certainly acting like it — and with as little justification, in fact or logic.
I leave the readers with a recommendation: over the next few weeks you will be reading more defamatory falsehoods about the AFD than at any time since that conservative, democratic, and sensibly patriotic party entered the Bundestag following the 2017 national elections. The AFD’s platform is available in English on the internet. It’s long, but much of it will not be of interest; some of it will be of great interest. A Google search brings it up fairly easily.
I urge the readers to spend a few minutes on it, and to judge for themselves, based on this document, whether the hysterical denunciations of the AFD are remotely justified, measured against its stated aims.
I said in my February 16 AT article that democracy, freedom of expression, and the rule of law are at risk in Germany today. After the horrific events of Hanau of a few days ago, and the shameful misuse by German leaders of those events, that risk has greatly intensified.