Monday, April 14, 2014

Reaction to Jewish community center shooting another example of white America's reluctance to "own" its white supremacist problem

In this country, few people want to call things by their right names, because to do so requires that people step back from their narcissistic selves and assess what they have wrought, and what they allow to persist. When a secret organization within government breaks the law by selling arms to an enemy of this country in order to purchase arms for use by what essentially is a band of thugs against an elected government in Central America, that is treason. Yet people feared to bring the word up against a “popular” president who did many things that harmed the country in the long term.  Another president purposely lied and fabricated false evidence to “finish” the job his father started in Iraq, and the ensuing war cost at least 4,000 American lives, and many more because of the failure to end quickly a more justified “war” in Afghanistan. This is not called “murder,” but it is something very close to that. Yet we prefer to call the soldiers who died “heroes” and “patriots” to assuage collective guilt. After all, the wars and death were far away and hardly noticed, save by those whose loved ones were the victims.

Thus it isn’t “surprising” that there was a delay in determining that the actions of Frazier Glenn Miller in Overland Park, Kansas constituted a hate crime. Miller, who was going by the alias “Cross”—and for good reason—went on a shooting spree at a Jewish community center that left three dead, including a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather. When arrested, Miller screamed “Heil Hitler”—obviously in an effort to help “clue” authorities in on his motives. 

Miller actually has a long history of affiliation with white supremacist neo-Nazi groups. In 1980 he became the founder and Grand Dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which later became known as the White Patriot Party. In 1986, Miller went “underground” in order to promote a “total war” against blacks, Jews and the federal government. After his arrest for threatening the life of Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1987, the outfit was dissolved. After his release from prison—shortened because of his “cooperation” with authorities in gaining the convictions of fellow neo-Nazis—Miller planned to write a “racist tabloid,” the material of which he hoped would "unite, organize, educate, recruit" fellow fascists to go to war against Jews until "death or victory.”

Why the 73-year-old Miller decided to go on this rampage now may be explained by the fact that many white supremacists and neo-Nazis with long memories view him as a “white race traitor” for serving as a government informant in the trial against the neo-Nazi group The Order. Members of that group were involved in Denver radio host Alan Berg’s murder in 1984; Berg (who was Jewish) frequently baited white supremacist and anti-Semitic callers on his radio show. The same year, the group’s founder, Robert Jay Mathews, was killed when federal agents found him on Whidbey Island, WA where he died in a fire following a shootout. Miller’s actions may well have been an effort to “rehabilitate” his reputation among fellow race haters. 

Yet people in and out of the media are reticent to make a “big deal” out of this. Instead of investigating the white supremacist and neo-Nazi support groups of people like Miller, Timothy McVeigh and Jared Loughner, they’d prefer to label them  “lone nuts” and leave it at that. As we may recall, the Latino George Zimmerman was accused of a “hate crime” for over a year in the most lurid manner by most of the media (MSNBC and CNN in particular), when it was clear from Zimmerman’s perspective self-defense was at issue; the tragedy of the case was that too many events conspired at the same time—and no one should overlook how Rachel Jeantel’s own racism and homophobia played a part in what occurred. But the Millers of the world are forgotten almost as soon as their murderous actions occur. 

Because white society loathes to accuse their “own” of having any moral or ethical lapses, people have to “step back” and “access” whether a white man who had ties to racist groups shot-up a Jewish center merely because he had mental problems or just had a bad day at the office. But the need for assessment goes way beyond that. If the shooter had been a member of an “ethnic” group, particularly one that practices Islam, it is assumed that such an act is one of terrorism. Yet domestic terrorism is something that the media loathes to address if the perpetrator is Caucasian. This act was clearly one that falls under the category of terrorism. It was a violent act meant to intimidate a targeted segment of the population; what exactly the short-term “aim” of such acts is not clear, but white supremacists do have a long-term “vision,” and that is to (among other things) marginalize and eliminate alleged Jewish power in the country, and “rid” the country of “inferior” races.  

A country that lies to itself loses all moral and ethical credibility. People like Pat Buchanan may insist they are not racists, when we know that they are. There is a very fine line between racism and beliefs that are race based—and too often the only “difference” is how people go about acting out their hate.

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