TOPEKA — Rep. Dan Osman pleaded with Kansas House colleagues to wrap their arms around a resolution denouncing antisemitism as an assault on democratic societies, fodder for conspiracy theorists and a chilling threat to people of the Jewish faith.
He raised during a speech in the House chamber the sorrowful events of April 13, 2014, in Overland Park that began when a disturbed man fired shots in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. He struck William Lewis Corporon, 69, with a lethal shotgun blast. Corporon’s 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, died of wounds from a handgun.
Shooter Frazier Glenn Miller, of Aurora, Missouri, drove to nearby Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement community also in Overland Park. That’s where he found the third and final victim. Terri LaManno was fatally shot outside Village Shalom.
“The shooter, who was a Klansman and a neo-Nazi, specifically went to these two locations in an attempt to kill as many Jews as possible,” said Osman, who is Jewish and a Democrat from Overland Park. “It was a cruel twist of irony that none of the victims were Jewish.”
The Kansas House voted 121-0 on Wednesday for House Concurrent Resolution 5030. It recognized the growing problem of antisemitism and the targeting of Jewish communities by hatemongers. It recognized the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. The resolution noted contemporary examples and referenced the 11 people killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pennsylvania in 2018 and the three people who died in Overland Park in 2014.
The resolution stated it shouldn’t be construed to infringe on rights protected by the First Amendment to the Kansas and United States constitutions.
Rep. Chris Croft, R-Overland Park, said the document was a bipartisanship effort among legislators interested in recognizing the danger of antisemitism eight decades after the Nazi regime tortured and slaughtered more than 6 million Jews during World War II.
“Yet, here we are with antisemitism on the rise again even here in Kansas,” Croft said. “This is a world issue and an issue of humanity, civility and being offered the opportunity to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Rep. Linda Featherston, an Overland Park Democrat who frequently rides a bicycle near Village Shalom, said one of her daughter’s friends was a goddaughter of LaManno.
“Terri was an innocent bystander. We need to stand up against that hate,” Featherston said.
House Speaker Ron Ryckman, an Olathe Republican, said the resolution wasn’t related to comments from public witnesses last year at hearings of a House and Senate committee indicating government mandates on COVID-19 resembled conduct of German leader Adolph Hitler.
“We’ve never wavered in our support Israel,” Ryckman said. “This is something we look forward to doing. Those other issues have been addressed.”
During the Special Committee on Government Overreach and the Impact of COVID-19 Mandates, Daran Duffy and two of his family members wore the Star of David on their shirts to express resentment about the federal government compelling people to choose between a coronavirus vaccination and potentially losing a job.
Rep. Virgil Weigel, a Topeka Democrat, who visited concentration camp sites while serving with the U.S. Army in the 1970s and later on a trip to Germany, said Bergen-Belsen and Dachau were emotional experiences and evidence of what humans were capable of doing.
“I would caution all of you that what happened there in the 1930s could happen anywhere else in this world as it is today,” Weigel said.
Miller represented himself at trial and made antisemitic remarks in court. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to be executed. At age 80, he died in March 2021 at El Dorado Correctional Facility.
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