Editorial: Hateful fringe

In this 21st century — as America increasingly becomes a patchwork of whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, native Americans and immigrants of all sorts — it seems bizarre that a tiny fringe of violent racists and “skinheads” still demand a nation of pure WASPs (white Anglo-Saxon Protestants).

But lunatic extremists still exist, as demonstrated Sunday when a former Ku Klux Klan leader killed three people he mistakenly thought were Jewish, although all were Christian.

Kansas police say white supremacist Frazier Glenn Cross went to a Jewish community center and gunned down a grandfather and grandson — who weren’t Jewish, but were there for a student music tryout. Then the killer shot a woman at Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement community — but she was a visiting Catholic.

This outcome was as insane as Cross’s far-right crackpot beliefs.

As police hauled him away, the murderer reportedly shouted “Heil Hitler.” American skinheads often wear Nazi uniforms and praise Hitler’s genocide against Jews.

The killer, who sometimes ran for Congress under the name Frazier Glenn Miller, lives in a little Missouri house surrounded by barbed wire, with cars bearing Confederate flag stickers.

The Southern Poverty Law Center — whose founder, Morris Dees, once delivered a W.E. “Ned” Chilton III Leadership Lecture in Charleston — says Cross founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and also created another racist group, the White Patriot Party. He was convicted of operating a paramilitary camp in North Carolina, then skipped bond and was the subject of a nationwide manhunt. Police found him and allies in a rural mobile home full of hand grenades, automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Cross wrote constantly on the neo-Nazi Vanguard News Network and often called for genocide against Jews.

It’s tragic that America contains this small element driven by irrational hate. Free speech lets them spew ugly slurs against Jews, blacks, gays, Hispanics, Asians and other minorities. They thrive on the Internet. They can’t be prosecuted unless they cross the boundary into violence.

West Virginia once was home to a major hate group, the National Alliance, based in Pocahontas County. One of its books was a bible for Timothy McVeigh, who blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and wounding 680 more, damaging 324 buildings in a 16-block radius, causing $650 million loss. But the Alliance fizzled after the death of its founder, William Pierce.

Within a generation, traditional European whites will be a minority in America. When that time arrives, will racist crackpots finally give up their hate campaign? Or will they, irrationally, turn even more violent?

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