Last weekend, a 69-year-old man, armed with a rifle, threw “incendiary devices” at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Tacoma, Wash. Police killed him but not before he ignited a car and tried to get a propane tank to explode. The man, later identified as Willem Van Spronsen, had written a manifesto condemning ICE detention centers as “concentration camps,” echoing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
Ocasio-Cortez refused to condemn Van Spronsen’s attack when confronted in the halls of Congress. PJ Media reached out to her office and she refused to comment before press time.
@CorbinTrent, @saikatc I'm writing about Willem Van Spronsen citing the "concentration camp" rhetoric in his manifesto before throwing Molotov cocktails at an ICE facility, endangering migrants. Would @AOC respond to this seeming result of her rhetoric? https://t.co/AvUiwUCiwM
— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) July 17, 2019
“I am antifa,” Van Spronsen said in his manifesto. Shortly after the attack and the terrorist’s death, the group Seattle Antifascist Action hailed the terrorist as a “martyr.”
“When our good friend and comrade Willem Van Spronsen took a stand against the fascist detention center in Tacoma, he became a martyr who gave his life to the struggle against fascism,” the antifa group posted on Facebook. “He was kind and deeply loved by many communities; we cannot let his death go unanswered. Throughout history we idolize figures like John Brown for their courage to take the ultimate stand against oppression, and today we stand strong in our support for yet another martyr in the struggle against fascism. May his death serve as a call to protest and direct action.”
In the manifesto, obtained by KIRO7, Van Spronsen condemned various forms of “evil,” writing, “evil says concentration camps for folks deemed lesser are necessary. The handmaid of evil says the concentration camps should be more humane. Beware the centrist.”
“In these days of fascist hooligans preying on vulnerable people on our streets, in the name of the state or supported and defended by the state, in these days of highly profitable detention/concentration camps and a battle over the semantics, in these days of hopelessness, empty pursuit and endless yearning, we are living in visible fascism ascendant,” Van Spronsen wrote.
He warned about the rise of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, claiming current events echoed this evil.
“Here it is, in these corporate for profit concentration camps. Here it is, in brown and non conforming folks afraid to show their faces for fear of the police/migra/proud boys/the boss/beckies… Here it is, a planet almost used up by the market’s greed,” he added. “I’m a black and white thinker. Detention camps are an abomination. I’m not standing by. I really shouldn’t have to say any more than this.”
Van Spronsen demonized the ICE detention centers, comparing them to Nazi concentration camps, but run for profit. Indeed, the Northwest Detention Center is privately run, operated by GEO Group on behalf of ICE. Its capacity is 1,575. If the center was nearly full, Van Spronsen put the lives of nearly 1,500 immigrants in danger.
The terrorist seems to have been inspired by rhetoric comparing these centers to Holocaust concentration camps. Starting in June, Ocasio-Cortez used those exact words to describe ICE detention centers. She cited Holocaust experts to justify the comparison, and praised “Never Again Action” activists for breaking the law in protesting an ICE detention center.
Also deserving of our attention and support: 36 young Jewish activists were arrested today for nonviolent direct action against migrant conditions in Elizabeth, NJ.
You can learn more about their advocacy and support their bail fund here ⬇️ https://t.co/oyoOJZdwh8
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 1, 2019
She originally took pains to make a distinction between concentration camps and Nazi death camps, but “concentration camps” are closely associated both with death camps and with the Holocaust. The Merriam-Webster dictionary notes that the term “concentration camp” is “used especially in reference to camps created by the Nazis in World War II for the internment and persecution of Jews and other prisoners.”
Yet when asked about the terrorist attack in Washington State, she remained silent.
.@AOC refuses to condemn the Antifa attack on the Tacoma ICE center; refuses to tell @TheRealKeean if her inflammatory comments about “concentration camps” radicalized the attacker. pic.twitter.com/YOjn0yL032
— Rebel News (@RebelNewsOnline) July 15, 2019
AOC needs to address this terrorist attack and whether or not her “concentration camp” rhetoric — which seems intended to incite anger and worse against ICE detention centers — is at all responsible.
If Donald Trump had accused President Barack Obama of running concentration camps, citing Holocaust scholars, he would have been dismissed as a hateful racist. The Southern Poverty Law Center would claim Trump was egging on white supremacist violence against the black president. Yet AOC’s accusation applies to Obama as well. Is AOC egging on white supremacist violence against Obama?
If Trump is Hitler because of ICE detention centers, Obama was Hitler for the exact same reason. Yet only with Trump do Democrats compare law enforcement in a free republic to the Nazi Gestapo. Only with Trump do far-left “anti-fascists” celebrate when a man almost kills 1,500 people, trying to blow up a propane tank.
Ocasio-Cortez must condemn Van Spronsen. This must end.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.