James Von Brunn, the alleged gunman who shot three people at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., has Missouri connections.
His online biography says his family "migrated from Germany … c. 1845, settling in St. Louis" and he attended a "Midwestern University," getting a journalism degree.
Alumni relations at Washington University in St. Louis has confirmed they have record of a James Von Brunn who entered school there in 1938 and graduated in 1943 with a journalism degree.
Some of Von Brunn’s writings online mention his university yearbook, The Hatchet:
The Hatchet, our yearbook, was in production. Seniors were to provide captions, listing their collegiate activities, to accompany their photographs. The deadline was 5pm Friday afternoon. I had ample time. Before going to the Hatchet office I stopped by the blood bank, located in the library, where I regularly contributed. Mounted on the granite walls outside the library, names of students in the Service were posted behind glass-faced bulletin boards. Though early in the war, gold stars for KIA and blue stars for MIA appeared frequently beside the names. One, Bill Baker, frat brother, BB team third-baseman, Army Air Corps, lost an arm, survived the Bataan Death March only to die in Japan. After giving blood I got up from the cot — and passed out. In the blur I saw two beautiful nurses kneeling beside me. I was on my back. I said, I’ve got an appointment. I got to my feet and fainted a second time. It was humiliating. They refused to allow me to leave. Finally, I managed to escape, but when I got to the Hatchet office the door was locked. I knocked. A girl’s voice said, You missed the deadline. Remonstrance. It’s your fault not mine. What is the publisher/printer’s address? I’m busy, ask Bob. The girl was officious. I knew the Editor well, Bob Stolz. We were long-time friends. I went to his frat and left a message. No one knew the printer’s name. Over the weekend I attempted to reach Stolz at his home, no answer. He had sealed himself off from distractions like me. So I thought to hell with it.
Later, I received a copy of The Hatchet. I was aghast. This was the first horrendous blow to my character that I ever encountered. My initial reaction stemmed from hurt pride. Why did this creep hate me so much? I never even considered — at first — that anyone who knew me would believe I had written the phony caption. It was clever, listing many activities I had engaged in but including exaggerations and lies. I called Stoltz. He said they had handled my caption the way they handled all the others. I asked him to send me the caption copy. He said it had been destroyed. I was branded. I asked the Dean of Men what I should do. He said, I will see what I can do. He never got back to me. Meanwhile, the student body was being ripped apart by drafts and enlistments. I was soon called into the Navy V-7 Program. In the maelstrom of the war the Hatchet fiasco was forgotten. It was only after the war that the true significance of the slander hit me. My friends told me to forget it. But it has eaten at me all my life. I never knew how to handle it. Then, one day, many years later… in my mind, searching, I connected Blick to the Hatchet incident. Blick’s youngest son also attended the University. But I will never know for certain.
Moral: Slander cannot be fought legally. Unlike libel, slander attacks unseen, viciously with whispers — very like a sniper’s bullet.
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