Monday, April 14, 2014

Hate is alive, well and living in Missouri (and Iowa)

Perhaps the most chilling video bite related to Sunday's shootings in Overland Park, Kansas, shows the suspect, identified as 73-year-old white supremacist and antisemite Frazier Glenn Miller (aka Frazier Glenn Cross), of Aurora, Missouri, yelling "Heil Hitler" from the back of the police car that confines him.

Miller, long affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan and other supremacist groups, allegedly gunned down an elderly (United Methodist) physician, William L. Corporon, and his 14-year-old Eagle Scout grandson, Reat Underwood, in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City where Underwood apparently had planned to audition for a talent competition. Miller also is accused of shooting a woman to death at the Shalom Center, an assisted living facility some blocks away.

Among other things, the tragedy serves as an unsettling reminder that antisemitism, as well as its cousins racism, homophobia and others, are alive, toxic and flourishing in the troubled minds of many who are ignorant, fearful and/or demented.

I took a look at the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of active Ku Klux Klan groups in the United States. Unsurprisingly, the largest number are located in Texas. But Iowa has three --- New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, reportedly headquartered in Ames; and the Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, neither attributed to a specific city. (Here's a link to reports on the various hate groups that the SPLC tracks.)

Lucas Countyans need to remember, too, that the Klan flourished here during the 1920s and that a Klan rally generally is recognized as among the largest public gatherings ever held in Chariton. This hateful stuff is never buried too far below the surface.

And it's still eating away at us, lord have mercy.

No comments: