Federal agents have arrested a man who posted white supremacist ideology online for planning to blow up a synagogue in Colorado.
Richard Holzer, 27, was arrested on November 1st by undercover agents after meeting them in a motel room to buy pipe bombs. Reportedly, he was wearing a Nazi armband and toasted to a "move for our race" when negotiating for the bombs with the undercover agents.
Holzer has been charged with a hate crime, and attempted use of explosives while attempting to obstruct the free exercise of religious beliefs. According to authorities, Holzer planned to use the bombs in an attack on the Temple Emanuel synagogue in Pueblo.
Holzer posted a video online of him casing the synagogue and wrote on his Facebook account: "I wish the Holocaust really did happen .... they need to die."
He also apparently paid a "witch doctor" $70 to put arsenic in the water pipes of the building, and to place a "hex" on it.
If convicted of a hate crime, Holzer could spend up to twenty years in prison.
The FBI had been watching Holzer since September, when a tip clued them in to comments he made online that indicated he was "a possible threat to the community," an FBI spokesperson said at a news conference.
According to the criminal complaint that was filed, Holzer told authorities that he was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan, but now identifies as a skinhead.
Early last year, I wrote about a report compiled by the Anti-Defamation League that found a 57% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 versus 2016. It was the largest single-year increase since tracking began in 1979.
Attacks since then have continued, like the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh just over a year ago.
Eleven people died in the shooting in Pittsburgh. Thankfully, authorities were able to apprehend Holzer before he hurt anyone. Dangerous lunatics like him need to be locked up.
People like Holzer, who want to kill people based on religious ideas, are a danger that we need to understand and address. Our society, political landscape, and culture have become polarized in a lot of ways, but if we cannot come together and understand one another, we will keep producing people like Holzer.