The crimes of Ľubomír Harman, who shot seven people and then committed suicide last week in the Devínská Nová Ves quarter of Bratislava, seem to have prompted other emotions in the Czech Republic and Slovakia besides condemnation and horror. The shooter is starting to acquire fans, especially on neo-Nazi and nationalist internet forums. The weekly “Plus 7 dní” reports that while the motive for Harman’s shooting spree is unknown the authors of many articles on the web are claiming he wanted to settle scores with his allegedly problematic neighbors because police were unable to.
The victims of the shooting were six members of a single family. Two of them were of Roma origin. In the aftermath of the tragedy, media speculated that the unemployed man’s motivation had been racism. The theory has also surfaced that the shooter committed the murders because of disputes with his neighbors. Police have reported that the family, who were neighbors of the man who murdered them, led a busy social life.
Police have not reported any motive for the shooting and their representatives admit they may never succeed in discovering the murderer’s motivation. The seventh victim was a woman whom Harman evidently hit randomly while shooting up an adjacent housing unit.
“It is clear that when we put all these factors into the equation, we find the solution: The murderer wanted to rid his building of a problematic family. He has inscribed himself into the annals of history as a controversial figure, but for many of us he is a hero – what’s more, he died in battle with representatives of the system (the police), who bear their share of responsibility for the entire situation,” the authors of an article on one of the neo-Nazi web pages write.
An article on the nationalist web forum Prop also pleads Harman’s case. “As can be seen from the emotional reactions of many people, they are sick of multiculturalism and it seems that if Ľubomír Harman had not shot others in addition to the main target, he would have been celebrated by many as a hero,” a contribution on this web page reads. The weekly “Plus 7 dní” points out that many Facebook pages are lauding Harman’s behavior.
As news server Romea.cz determined, one such Facebook group has been founded by someone under the name Jerry O’Thomas, whose profile includes photos of the logo of the Workers’ Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti – DSSS). Other members of this Facebook group are being recruited from the promoters and even members of the DSSS. One member is Iveta Machová, who ran in fifth place on the DSSS ticket in the Moravian-Silesian region for the Czech lower house. Another member of the group is the “fragile” DSSS girl Lucie Šlégrová, who is also Vice Chair of the Workers’ Youth. After news server Romea.cz reported on the existence of this Facebook group on the afternoon of Thursday, 9 September 2010, its author removed it for a short while, but as of Saturday 11 September the group is again completely operational with more than 130 members.
“Plus 7 dní” reports many neo-Nazis are doing their best to learn where the shooter will be buried. The weekly points out that the place of his final rest might become a rallying point for neo-Nazi and racist groups. However, the media have reported that Harman will evidently be buried secretly.
Harman, who was a member of sport shooting club, shot his victims with a machine gun. Possession of such a weapon in Slovakia is legal only if it has been modified to fire single rounds, but Slovak Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic said in an interview that preliminary information shows the machine gun shot multiple rounds. The Slovak Interior Ministry announced new restrictions on weapons possession rules after the massacre.