[This story previously aired on July 20, 2019. It was updated on May 29, 2021.]
In America right this moment the language of hate and prejudice has been inciting violence increasingly more usually. Among the victims are linked by religion, others by the colour of their pores and skin, and nonetheless others by sexual orientation. CBS Information correspondent Tracy Smith has a narrative about one younger man focused by that sort of hate. Meet Blaze Bernstein. He was 19 years previous.
Phrase unfold throughout Orange County. Blaze Bernstein, good, kind-hearted, Jewish and homosexual, had come residence from faculty for the vacations and vanished.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: He wished to spend time with us. He is not gonna simply disappear like that.
Tracy Smith: However your thought was?
Gideon Bernstein: Nicely it was simply so extremely uncommon.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: The place had he been? Who had he gone with? We did not know. The place is he?
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: We had a contented life. We actually did. We had good — many, many good recollections.
The recollections and magic that stay started when the child was born.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: That night time I dreamt that his title was Blaze.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: And the primary time I noticed him, I seemed in his eyes. … One thing about this child, he is gonna change the world sometime. In his personal means, he did change the world. He already has.
It was 1998 when Jeanne Pepper Bernstein and Gideon Bernstein welcomed their first of three kids, Blaze, into their Orange County, California, residence — an oasis of affection and creativity.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: I name him a unicorn … He was magnificently artistic.
Raiah Rofsky: We have been greatest associates after we have been very younger, yeah.
Tracy Smith: What’d you find out about Blaze? What’d you realize about him?
Raiah Rofsky: Blaze was all the time a really form and caring individual. He was all the time a really cuddly child.
Cuddly and inventive, it was no shock to Raiah Rofsky when Blaze joined her for highschool at OCSA — the Orange County Faculty of the Arts.
Raiah Rofsky: It’s extremely prestigious. …It is recognized for getting a high quality arts training with a high quality educational training.
Claire Velau: Blaze was actually one of many smartest folks I’ve ever met.
One other classmate, Claire Velau, additionally knew Blaze was greater than good.
Claire Velau: One thing that was actually distinctive about Blaze is he all the time made you’re feeling necessary … Like, for those who have been speaking to him, such as you knew he was really listening.
For Blaze, OCSA was a feast of academic riches.
Eric Tryon | OCSA instructor: He was identical to a beam of sunshine.
Eric Tryon taught his pupil about writing, which turned Blaze’s focus.
Eric Tyron: He wished to do the work, which you’ll’t all the time say for youths that age … that is a dream pupil.
After which there was one other classmate, Sam Woodward.
Philip Schwadron | OCSA instructor: He was only a very critical man. He did not crack jokes. Did not snigger at jokes.
Philip Schwadron taught Sam appearing.
Philip Schwadron: He wished to do a monologue concerning the navy. He wished to play an Military man, a common or one thing.
In a faculty that embraced tolerance and variety, many thought Sam had deeply troubling concepts.
Raiah Rofsky: I’ve a good friend who was in a playwriting class with him, and so they have been studying “Raisin within the Solar” and so they all bought their particular person copies. When everyone gave theirs again, he had had the “N” phrase written all by way of it.
Racist scrawls within the basic American drama concerning the struggles of a black household.
Tracy Smith: He had a repute of being what?
Raiah Rofsky: Racist, homophobic, sexist.
However for Rofsky, one specific incident is inconceivable to shake.
Raiah Rofsky: He was drawing weapons in his pocket book at school.
Tracy Smith: Did you say something?
Raiah Rofsky: No.
Tracy Smith: However you thought–
Raiah Rofsky: That is terrifying.
Tracy Smith: What have been folks saying about Sam?
Raiah Rofsky: Individuals have been saying that they would not be stunned if he got here and shot up the varsity.
Tracy Smith: Individuals stated that about him?
Raiah Rofsky: Sure. And I felt that too. He is gonna be that child.
Tracy Smith: Did Sam keep at OCSA?
Raiah Rofsky: He left after sophomore 12 months of highschool.
Tracy Smith: And did you discover out why?
Raiah Rofsky: No.
Sam Woodward transferred to a extra conventional highschool. Blaze went on at OCSA, studying extra about his world. He had already realized a key factor about himself.
Tracy Smith: So that you guys have been sort of strolling down the seashore alone collectively and he got here out to you?
Raiah Rofsky: Yeah. Yeah.
Tracy Smith: Did you get the sense that Blaze had instructed anybody else that he thought he was bi?
Raiah Rofsky: I do not assume that he did. He was sort of upset to say it.
Tracy Smith: One thing that clearly was an enormous secret for him.
Raiah Rofsky: Yeah, you realize popping out to your self is a extremely mature, troublesome factor to do.
Tracy Smith: And what did you inform him?
Raiah Rofsky: I instructed him, “It is OK. If you happen to like boys that is completely fantastic. Love who you’re keen on.”
And whereas he hadn’t but come out to his dad and mom, Gideon and Jeanne sensed Blaze is likely to be homosexual.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: We went as much as him and stated, “Pay attention, no matter your scenario is, we embrace it. We love you. We do not care.”
Gideon Bernstein: “We love you for whoever you’re.”
It was late summer season 2016 and Blaze, who’d already achieved a lot, was headed to an Ivy League Faculty, the College of Pennsylvania. There’d be new associates, mentors and challenges. And Blaze appeared prepared for all of it.
Grayson Honan | Blaze’s good friend: I can nonetheless keep in mind, like he was carrying this actually cool general outfit the primary time I met him [laughs].
Tracy Smith: Overalls?
Grayson Honan: Yeah.
Tracy Smith: Took some style dangers it seems like.
Grayson Honan: Yeah.
Amy Marcus | Blaze’s good friend: However he did not care.
School associates Amy Marcus and Grayson Honan sensed, even by Ivy League requirements, Blaze was one thing particular.
Amy Marcus: The monitor that he was headed down was psychology, and he was actually, actually excited to do some psychological analysis, particularly into happiness, which I assumed was actually cool. He was additionally an unbelievable author.
And a gourmand chef. He now was additionally contemplating a profession in medication.
Grayson Honan: He wished to assist as many individuals as he may and it was actually spectacular to see.
Throughout Winter break 2017, Blaze got here residence to Southern California.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: It was a a lot anticipated go to. He was actually trying ahead to being with us, too.
There have been vacation celebrations. Then, someday on the night time of Jan. 2, 2018, Blaze left the home.
Tracy Smith: In order that night time, when did you understand that he was lacking?
Gideon Bernstein: We did not.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: I did not know that night time.
Gideon Bernstein: We did not even know. We thought he slept in and the following day we have been —
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: I had my aha second once I was on the dental appointment.
The subsequent day, Blaze was attributable to meet his mother for a dentist appointment. However Blaze by no means confirmed up and wasn’t answering his mobile phone.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: I known as Gideon … he requested me if Blaze had ever come residence the night time earlier than. And I screamed out, “I do not know!”
Gideon Bernstein: That is once I simply principally simply rushed outta the workplace and got here residence.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: We each did. We flew residence.
Blaze’s dad and mom rushed residence and checked his room.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: His pockets. His retainers. His keys.
Gideon Bernstein: These have been all nonetheless on the home.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: His glasses. Yeah, all of that stuff was on the home.
They known as the police, after which tried to go online to Blaze’s social media accounts.
Gideon Bernstein: …after which we simply jumped on his laptop, tried to get into his, you realize, information and this was an enormous problem for us.
With the assistance of household and associates, Jeanne and Gideon bought entry to Blaze’s Snapchat account. That is the place they found that Blaze had despatched his residence tackle to somebody: Sam Woodward, Blaze’s one-time classmate.
Raiah Rofsky: The one cause I may consider Sam assembly up with Blaze is as a result of both primary, he wished to hook up with him, or two, as a result of he was planning to homicide him.
THE SEARCH FOR BLAZE
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis nurtured Blaze’s spirit at Orange County’s College Synagogue.
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis: … coronary heart, soul. That is what Blaze had. …inside lower than a day of Blaze being lacking, phrase unfold.
Borrego Park turned the middle of the search.
Lt. Brad Valentine | Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. [to reporters]: So it is gonna be a sluggish, tedious search as they get on the market and beat the bushes and search for any indicators of him.
Edgy hours become anxious days.
Gideon Bernstein [to reporters]: We’re right here right this moment to get your assist to seek out our son.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein [to reporters]: Please maintain your eyes open for my child. I need him residence with me. Now.
All Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein needed to go on was that clue they discovered on Blaze’s laptop: their residence tackle despatched out to a seeming stranger: Sam Woodward.
Gideon Bernstein: We by no means heard the title.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: We by no means heard the title earlier than.
Raiah Rofsky: It was already terrifying that I came upon that Blaze was lacking. Nevertheless it was much more terrifying to seek out out he was with Sam Woodward.
Tracy Smith: Why?
Raiah Rofsky: As a result of he was actually often known as being a loopy, homophobic, racist man.
Sam Woodward, now a school drop-out, was working part-time and residing at residence.
Orange County cops went to satisfy him.
Sam Woodward could not have been extra cooperative. He instructed Blaze’s dad and mom and police that he and Blaze got here to Borrego Park to hang around. And in accordance with Sam, after awhile Blaze walked down a path alone and disappeared into the comb. The seek for Blaze Bernstein heated up.
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis: We printed up hundreds and hundreds of fliers that individuals within the congregation put up on wall boards, coffeehouses, on poles and every little thing.
Raiah Rofsky: There was a Fb web page, “Discover Blaze Bernstein.” There have been like helicopter searches.
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis: The police are trying. All people’s trying.
NEWS REPORT: The seek for Blaze Bernstein went airborne Sunday with greater than a dozen drone pilots.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: I actually did not know if we might ever discover him —
Gideon Bernstein: As the times handed it turned increasingly more troublesome.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: And I assumed we’re by no means gonna know. We’re by no means going to know what occurred precisely. We’re by no means going to determine it out. [Pauses, shakes her head] Yeah. That is what I assumed.
Raiah Rofsky: And I simply bought this intestine feeling in my abdomen. That I simply—I simply thought to myself, “Oh my God.”
From day one, Blaze’s oldest good friend had an intuition that chilled.
Raiah Rofsky: I instantly thought, “He is useless. He is useless.”
Tracy Smith: Simply from listening to that he was with Sam?
Raiah Rofsky: Sure.
It was day seven since Blaze final left residence. A household and a neighborhood have been past pissed off. Detectives had searched Borrego Park over and over. However they determined to offer it another look. Within the pouring rain, hidden beneath a big tree department was a mound of grime. Beneath the moist caked earth lay.
Gideon Bernstein [to reporters]: For sure our household is devastated by the information. …We, like so lots of you world wide, cherished Blaze and we wished nothing greater than to hunt his protected return.
Tony Rackauckas | Former Orange County D.A.: [to reporters] This can be a mindless homicide of a younger man who possessed the mixture of a high-caliber thoughts and the center of a poet.
Tracy Smith: How did Blaze Bernstein die?
Tony Rackauckas: He was stabbed a number of instances within the neck — 19 stab wounds within the neck.
Tracy Smith: What does that let you know?
Tony Rackauckas: Nicely it tells me that there was lots of hate.
Raiah Rofsky: All I may consider was simply, “I knew it. I knew it. I knew it.”
Tracy Smith: You knew.
Raiah Rofsky: I knew.
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis: Then the funeral occurred … And it was shattering.
The grief appeared to stretch throughout Orange County — neighbors, associates, strangers, lecturers.
Neighbor [tying a blue ribbon around a tree]: We’re hugging them proper now. We’re all hugging them. That is our massive big hug to them.
Eric Tryon | Trainer: It was devastating to listen to. And it is so horrifying to consider what occurred.
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis: And never stabbed a few times, however over and over and over in a crazed indignant murderous rage.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: I simply strive not to consider what that actually meant. I do not assume that I bodily can cope with the trauma of what is occurred but.
REPORTER: Are you able to inform us what occurred to Blaze?
SAM WOODWARD: [Grunts] No remark.
REPORTER: Have been you there when he disappeared?
SAM WOODWARD: No remark. [Goes inside house and shuts the door]
Days after Blaze Bernstein’s physique was discovered, investigators have been able to take the following step.
REPORTER MICHELE GILE | CBS LOS ANGELES: Undercover officers made their transfer on Sam Woodward this afternoon as he pulled out of his Newport Seashore driveway and went down the street. They pulled that automobile over and arrested him.
D.A. Tony Rackaukas: Sam Woodward was charged with murder with the non-public use of a knife.
A neighborhood — a faculty, a synagogue, and a household have been in shock.
However one other neighborhood – small, twisted with sick rage — greeted the information of Blaze Bernstein’s brutal homicide in a really completely different means.
Former Atomwaffen member: He killed a Jew. Like, was there a celebration? No, however like did folks joke about it? Yeah. Everybody celebrated him.
Everybody within the hate group this man belonged to. They are saying they’re Nazis. And so they rejoiced for one in every of their very own, Sam Woodward.
Former Atomwaffen member: I by no means bodily met the man however I knew him on-line.
For months, “48 Hours” has been attempting to study extra concerning the violent neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen from the within.
Former Atomwaffen member: Like, he killed a homosexual Jew.
And eventually, a one-time member agreed to speak. The phrases are unimaginable, however to grasp Atomwaffen we felt it obligatory to listen to a few of the hate.
Former Atomwaffen member [via Skype]: You already know, he killed two birds with one stone primarily.
Tracy Smith: Which is even higher in Atomwaffen’s eyes?
Former Atomwaffen member: Yeah, after all.
Joanna Mendelson: It is harmful. Their ideology is on the core deeply hateful.
Joanna Mendelson has spent near 20 years monitoring the darkish world of maximum hate on the Los Angeles workplace of the Anti-Defamation League.
Joanna Mendelson: It is necessary that we shine a really vivid gentle on these teams and perceive them for what they’re. To not glorify them and to not give them any extra notoriety than they have already got.
Tracy Smith: However on the similar time, to have the ability to acknowledge what they’re doing?
Joanna Mendelson: We’ve to have the ability to name them out.
Jake Hanrahan | Journalist: Atomwaffen is basically a excessive, excessive, far-right militant neo-Nazi group in America. And their finish objective is … the destruction of America as an entire.
Tracy Smith: How would you describe Blaze?
Richard Bernstein: He had lots of creativeness. And really curious.
It is a reality as timeless because the human household.
Leah Bernstein: We simply cherished him.
There isn’t any love just like the love of a grandparent for a grandchild. And so it was for Leah and Richard Bernstein, and their grandson Blaze.
Leah Bernstein: I really feel that he lives in our coronary heart. And each night time I’ve a troublesome time going to sleep as a result of I all the time consider him earlier than I fall asleep.
Richard Bernstein: I believe the world misplaced a wonderful soul.
The proof marking the lack of that soul was revealed when the heavens opened up and the rain got here down.
Leah Bernstein: If not the rain, we might have by no means recognized what occurred to him … The individual that murdered him made like a, you realize —
Richard Bernstein: Grave.
Leah Bernstein: — a grave and lined him all with mud, so the rain uncovered his face.
Then, in Borrego Park, the place Blaze ended up with one-time classmate Sam Woodward, investigators discovered Blaze’s telephone. And in Woodward’s automobile …
Tony Rackauckas: The blood on the headliner belonged to each Sam Woodward and Blaze Bernstein.
Tracy Smith: Blaze Bernstein’s blood was in Sam Woodward’s automobile?
Tony Rackauckas: Sure. Sure.
Tracy Smith: After which they went on to look the home?
Tony Rackauckas: Sure.
Tracy Smith: What sort of forensic proof did they collect?
Tony Rackauckas: There was a knife … The knife had blood on it … Blaze Bernstein’s blood on the knife.
Gideon Bernstein: [In tears] Simply wanna know why.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: I do not — I do not even wanna know as a result of I am not gonna like that reply.
Nevertheless it’s “the why” Blaze was murdered that makes an insufferable loss virtually unspeakable — and transforms his homicide right into a nationwide situation.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: It’s extremely alarming that that is occurring … That is atrocious hate. It is good there.
Jake Hanrahan: Sam Woodward was … completely, positively … a member of Atomwaffen Division.
“48 Hours” spoke by way of Skype with British journalist and CBS Information guide Jake Hanrahan. For Hanrahan, the arrest of Woodward introduced an terrible affirmation: Atomwaffen was proper at residence glorifying an accused killer.
Jake Hanrahan: Oh yeah. Completely. They made T-shirts utilizing Sam Woodward’s mug shot.
Hanrahan had been reporting on Atomwaffen for almost two years. They weren’t all that onerous to seek out. Hanrahan obtained their secret chat logs and first made be aware of an indignant faculty dropout, Sam Woodward.
Jake Hanrahan: Doing like Nazi salutes subsequent to different members of Atomwaffen.
Former Atomwaffen member: I joined Atomwaffen in 2016
Tracy Smith: Did you take into account your self a neo-Nazi?
Former Atomwaffen member: I simply thought-about myself a Nazi.
The person Hanrahan launched “48 Hours” to would not inform us his title or dare to indicate his face. He claims to have been a member of Atomwaffen for greater than a 12 months.
Former Atomwaffen member: I joined Atomwaffen due to the militancy and the brotherhood that they supplied
Tracy Smith: Brotherhood.
Former Atomwaffen member: Yeah. It was like a camaraderie sort of feeling … frequent pursuits.
Tracy Smith: And people pursuits have been hating different teams, hating Jews, hating gays, hating blacks?
Former Atomwaffen member: Yeah. Oh yeah.
Joanna Mendelson | Anti-Defamation League: That is a few of the most intense and a few of the most excessive rhetoric that I’ve seen in a very long time.
Atomwaffen started in Florida in 2015. The group believes that the so-called alt-right that converged on the violent 2017 demonstration in Charlottesville does not go almost far sufficient.
Former Atomwaffen member: They do not even prefer to be related to the alt proper in any respect. They hate the Alt Proper.
Joanna Mendelson: Their rhetoric and their ideology is white supremacy on steroids … In truth, the title of Atomwaffen interprets in German to atomic weapon.
Tracy Smith: We’ll simply obliterate you.
Joanna Mendelson: We’ll wipe you out.
In line with investigators, Sam Woodward, a privileged higher center class child from Southern California, was drawn to this ideology — drawn to Atomwaffen’s heroes: Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh and James Mason, writer of Atomwaffen’s favourite neo-Nazi publication, “Siege.” Woodward went to satisfy him.
Former Atomwaffen member: Did I believe that like, this man was going to do one thing like this? Actually, I wasn’t stunned.
And by 2017, Sam Woodward, at instances sporting his absurd Atomwaffen masks, attended their model of a company retreat.
Joanna Mendelson: Hate camps have occurred throughout the nation, involving Atomwaffen members.
Joanna Mendelson: They discuss chopping phone wires and energy grids. And shutting down the system. A system that they detest.
The pictures and ambitions are surreal, however their hatred couldn’t be extra actual.
Jake Hanrahan: They need to kill, clearly, before everything Jews. They need to kill gays.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: There have been folks congratulating this accused killer, for what he has accomplished, killing my son. Congratulating him.
Jake Hanrahan: They name him the homosexual, the one-man homosexual, Jew wrecking ball. You already know, like sort of reveling on this concept that he is killed this homosexual, Jewish child.
Nazi “wannabes” laughing on the homicide of Blaze in Orange County.
Tracy Smith: “LOL OC.”
Joanna Mendelson: “LOL OC.” Laughing at the truth that Blaze Bernstein’s life was extinguished.
Former Atomwaffen member: Everybody in Atomwaffen believes Jewish folks simply have to be wiped off the face of the earth.
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis : Because the story unfolded that the homicide was associated to homophobia and anti-Semitism, nicely then the anger in the neighborhood and the anxiousness ratcheted up.
Tracy Smith: Do you assume that Blaze was murdered as a result of he was homosexual, and since he was Jewish?
Raiah Rofksy:Sure, 100 %.
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis: Permission has been granted for the ugliest sort of racism, anti-Semitism, immigrant bashing and hatred.
Joanna Mendelson: We used to watch these teams that lurked within the shadows. However right this moment they’re rising entrance and middle.
Tracy Smith: Had you ever heard of Atomwaffen earlier than this?
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: No. However we should always have. As a result of we’re an ideal goal for that group.
An ideal goal for right this moment’s Nazi, simply as Blaze’s grandma Leah, a Holocaust survivor, was so a few years in the past. A bit of Jewish lady pressured by Hitler’s Nazis to put on a yellow star.
Leah Bernstein: Sure. We did put on the celebs.
Tracy Smith: You all needed to put on the celebs. You have seen loads.
Leah Bernstein: Fairly a bit.
Tracy Smith: It is a horrible irony, that what you escaped is.
Leah Bernstein: Is following me. Yeah.
THE TENTACLES OF HATE
Clear throughout the nation from the place Sam Woodward morphed into an Atomwaffen Nazi, Nick Giampa grew up along with his personal set of insecurities and points that finally led him to seek out Atomwaffen’s on-line propaganda.
Emily: By the point he was in second grade Nicholas wasn’t your strange little boy.
Nick’s sister Emily and her husband Chris caught by Nick. They are saying he was bipolar and suffered from different psychological points.
Chris: He was in a single faculty within the second grade, one other faculty within the third grade, one other faculty within the fourth grade. I believe it was eight or 9 completely different faculties.
Emily: Nicholas was bullied, known as a freak, known as a retard, silly, dumb.
Emily: He thought he was invisible. He stated, “No person ever sees me. No person ever calls my telephone. …He was a lonely baby on the web.
An ideal profile to be susceptible to the postings of a hate group. Nonetheless, in his junior 12 months of highschool, Nick’s life modified in a constructive means.
Emily: It was such a self esteem enhance, like “Wow, I discovered somebody that loves me.”
Chris: All the things on the planet was going good for him.
Nick had his first-ever girlfriend, a classmate. “48 Hours” agreed to not present her face. She was the 16-year-old daughter of a Reston, Virginia, couple — Scott Fricker and his spouse Buckley Kuhn Fricker.
Deb Merriner: She was all the time studying, all the time eager to see if she may work out learn how to serve folks higher.
Buckley Kuhn Fricker was a lawyer-turned-advocate for the aged. Deb Merriner was her assistant.
Deb Merriner: They have been wonderful dad and mom. …I used to be blown away by the dedication to creating certain their youngsters have been raised proper.
Justin Jouvenal | Washington Submit crime reporter: It was three days earlier than Christmas.
911 CALL: Caller continues to be upstairs together with her boyfriend. Photographs fired.
Justin Jouvenal: And I bought a name from the workplace very early within the morning, saying that there had been this horrific double homicide in a reasonably upscale neighborhood simply outdoors of D.C.
Washington Submit crime reporter Justin Jouvenal would study concerning the wealthy household values of Scott and Buckley and the bankrupt ideology of Atomwaffen.
Justin Jouvenal: So I jumped in my automobile early that morning and made my means out to the neighborhood and commenced reporting on what occurred.
In line with Nick Giampa’s family, simply hours earlier, Nick grabbed a gun from his residence, and drove to the Fricker’s residence.
A home decked out for the vacations.
Justin Jouvenal: There was yellow crime tape up round the home … There have been snowflakes on the home. Christmas wreathes. …Detectives going out and in, crime scene investigators.
in their very own residence, possible in entrance of their 16-year-old daughter — Nick Giampa’s first girlfriend.
Justin Jouvenal: It was completely horrific
The daughter was not shot. However Nick Giampa was in the home, nonetheless alive after allegedly capturing himself by way of the cranium. A path of blood led to Atomwaffen.
Joanna Mendelson: Nick Giampa allegedly killed his girlfriend’s dad and mom as a result of they came upon about his white supremacist beliefs.
Tracy Smith: And so they instructed her to not date him anymore?
Joanna Mendelson: They forbade their daughter from relationship him.
Justin Jouvenal: The daughter agreed to cease seeing her boyfriend. …This set him off.
Buckley, a involved and concerned mother, had confronted her daughter after discovering Nick’s retweets of Atomwaffen on her daughter’s telephone. The teenage lady had nothing to do with Atomwaffen, however Nick was sharing their racist posts.
Justin Jouvenal: Very slick propaganda, which they’ve pushed out by way of social media, that is been picked up by people who find themselves, you realize maybe, susceptible.
Emily: It was a means for Nicholas to be the bully for as soon as.
Former Atomwaffen member: If you happen to’re their propaganda … they’re in search of to draw ostracized youth and outcast youth. Particularly … white youngsters which might be simply bullied.
Chris: That was simply him attempting to get an increase outta folks on the web … And that is what he did.
The boy who as soon as felt invisible, had discovered a horrendous strategy to get the world’s consideration.
Chris: Nicholas was not a part of any Atomwaffen group. He was by no means a part of that.
Former Atomwaffen member: He was an provoke within the Virginia chapter … You possibly can’t say Nick was a member of AW However you possibly can say Nick was an provoke in AW.
Chris: I do not assume he would ever be a part of any Atomwaffen group. This was my little brother.
However simply as they did when Blaze Bernstein was murdered, Atomwaffen’s small membership of Nazi wannabes mocked a homicide — this time the unconscionable killing of Scott and Buckley Kuhn Fricker.
Former Atomwaffen member: Yeah. They made Nick Giampa propaganda.
Justin Jouvenal: They despatched out a tweet along with his image superimposed on a Kalashnikov.
Sam Woodward allegedly embraced Atomwaffen. Nick Giampa was contaminated by much more informal contact. However in every case, the Nazi most cancers proved lethal.
Joanna Mendelson: They reaffirm hate, they desensitize the viewer, and so they create a way of normalcy.
Tracy Smith: That that is OK.
Joanna Mendelson: That is acceptable.
Tracy Smith: Do you assume if Buckley and Scott hadn’t discovered these Nazi pictures on their daughter’s telephone, would they nonetheless be alive right this moment?
Jake Hanrahan: [Sighs] Most likely.
FIGHTING HATE WITH LOVE
Detectives say Sam Woodward went on-line trolling homosexual males, pretending he was concerned about a sexual hookup. However the former D.A. believes it wasn’t a hookup Sam had in thoughts with Blaze Bernstein; it was a setup for homicide.
Tracy Smith: Does it seem to be Sam is sexually conflicted himself?
Tony Rackauckas | Former Orange County D.A.: He does not declare to be sexually conflicted. He claims to be any individual who hates gays and needs to trigger hurt to them.
Jake Hanrahan: In truth on his Tinder he stated, “I am going searching.” …The child was planning to kill somebody due to his ideology.
On Aug. 2, 2018, the Orange County D.A. added an enhancement to the fees towards Sam Woodward within the homicide of Blaze Bernstein. From Blaze’s household to his associates, nobody was stunned by the D.A.’s resolution:
Tony Rackauckas [to reporters]: This will increase the utmost penalty to life with out the opportunity of parole. We are going to show that Woodward killed Blaze as a result of Blaze was homosexual.
After police seized bodily proof, together with an Atomwaffen masks in Woodward’s automobile, they discovered a trove of Nazi hate on his telephone and laptop.
Former Atomwaffen member: They discovered proof of Sam being concerned in Atomwaffen.
Blaze’s homicide was now considered a hate crime.
Tony Rackauckas: Sam Woodward is a hater. …He hates homosexuals. He hates people who find themselves Jewish. He hates folks of all completely different sorts of classes who are usually not white.
For Gideon and Jeanne Bernstein, it deepened the darkest tragedy.
Gideon Bernstein [to reporters]: Immediately we endure an added layer of ache from studying that he was possible killed merely due to who he was as a human being.
For Blaze’s oldest good friend Raiah Rofsky, who’s Jewish and identifies as bisexual, it brings an unsettling concern.
Raiah Rofsky: I’ve to watch out and I am terrified.
Tracy Smith: You actually really feel unsafe.
Raiah Rofsky: I do.
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis: There must be zero tolerance of homophobia, zero tolerance of racism, of anti-Semitism, of immigrant bashing.
For Blaze’s grandma Leah, who wore that yellow Nazi star, unhappiness and perception mix into one.
Leah Bernstein: It’s extremely painful. It’s extremely, very onerous.
Tracy Smith: After seeing all this, are you hopeful?
Leah Bernstein: I am very hopeful. As a result of there are many good folks on the planet.
And at the very least one new strategy to struggle hate with love.
Leah Bernstein: Nicely, we BlazeItForward.
BlazeItForward. Simply days after they realized of their son’s dying, the Bernsteins made the outstanding resolution to channel their grief into kindness.
Gideon Bernstein: Let’s do one thing the place we go onto this, you realize, BlazeItForward Facebook page and inform folks to offer cash to some charity.
Gideon and Jeanne focused foster care youngsters and at-risk youth.
They raised cash for a scholarship at OSCA, the highschool the place Blaze shined so vivid.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein [at scholarship event]: We’re delighted to award two scholarships this 12 months from the Blaze Bernstein memorial endowment scholarship.
1000’s of associates and strangers gathered to honor Blaze.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: I need to do my piece to restore the world in Blaze’s honor and to advertise his legacy.
As they embraced one another, their neighborhood “Blazed it” proper again.
Delight Parade Organizer [addressing parade goers]: This parade is rededicated as our neighborhood’s official Blaze Ahead OC LGBT Delight Parade
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein [addressing parade goers]: We thanks for giving us this honor. For honoring my son and his reminiscence and for Blazing It Ahead.
BlazeItForward. It is far more than a slogan. It’s now a calling, a brand new lifestyle for Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein. At its coronary heart is discovering some kind of silver lining in an unspeakable tragedy. And at Orange County’s Delight Day, the spirit of BlazeItForward is in all places. It is a promise made to a younger man focused by hate, now inspiring love.
And maybe steering one hater away from the poison that’s Atomwaffen.
Tracy Smith: Do you’re feeling such as you owe Blaze Bernstein’s household an apology?
Former Atomwaffen member: Sure, I do.
And if he’s to be believed, due to the homicide of Blaze Bernstein he says he is not a Nazi and has give up Atomwaffen.
Tracy Smith: You might say one thing now.
Former Atomwaffen member: To them?
Tracy Smith: Certain.
Former Atomwaffen member: Yeah, so, I am so sorry that — I am so sorry that this occurred to your son … I wish to see AW introduced down. I wish to see Sam put behind bars for all times.
In Borrego Park, the place Blaze Bernstein’s gentle was extinguished, folks from world wide depart stones in his reminiscence.
Leah Bernstein: It is lovely.
Richard Bernstein: You see all of the stones, you’re feeling the love.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: I believe that generally I dream. I am unable to management that. And I dream. And I get up. And it [sighs] simply haunts me. These goals can hang-out me for days.
Tracy Smith: Goals about?
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein: About my son. Simply him, alive.
Sam Woodward’s trial is predicted to happen later this 12 months.
Produced by James Stolz and Gayane Keshishyan Mendez. Michelle Fanucci is the sphere producer. Grayce Arlotta-Berner, Marcus Balsam and Phil Tangel are the editors. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the chief story editor. Susan Zirinsky is the senior govt producer.