- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2019

The rifle-wielding attacker who tried to burn an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Washington over the weekend wrote a self-justifying manifesto repeating many standard Democratic talking points about the border crisis and other issues.

In a three-page document posted on Seattle TV station KIRO’s website, Willem Van Spronsen cited popular left-wing historian Howard Zinn, said that “i am antifa,” criticized the Electoral College and accused the U.S. of running “concentration camps” on the border.

Willem Van Spronsen, 69, declares early on in his manifesto that “evil says concentration camps for folks deemed lesser are necessary. the handmaid of evil says the concentration camps should be more humane,” using a term usually reserved for Nazi Germany’s death camps, but introduced in the border-security debate last month by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

He also mocked people criticizing Ms. Ocasio-Cortez for intellectual sloppiness, referring to “these days of highly profitable detention/concentration camps and a battle over the semantics.”

Van Spronsen, armed with an AR-15 assault weapon that his manifesto encouraged others to acquire to bring about a revolution, attacked the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma around 4 a.m. Saturday. He threw “incendiary devices” and set vehicles before officers shot him to death as he was trying to ignite a propane tank.

In his manifesto, he called the detention facility “an abomination” and that he was “not standing by” as it operated.

“i really shouldn’t have to say any more than this. i set aside my broken heart and i heal the only way i know how- by being useful. i efficiently compartmentalize my pain… and i joyfully go about this work,” he wrote.

He indicated that he intended the attack as a suicide mission, writing that “i regret that i will miss the rest of the revolution. thank you for the honor of having me in your midst. giving me space to be useful.”

Antifa activists declared him useful, too.

Seattle Antifascist Action called him “our good friend and comrade Willem Van Spronsen” and said he “became a martyr who gave his life to the struggle against fascism.”

The group went on to call for more such attacks in memory of Van Spronsen.

“We cannot let his death go unanswered … May his death serve as a call to protest and direct action,” the group wrote on its Facebook page.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was asked Monday by the Daily Wire whether she would denounce antifa and whether she was to any degree responsible for the attack, since Van Spronsen repeatedly used her “concentration camp” language.

She ignored the reporter.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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