What is there to say, what position can we take, when we are forced to claim a monster as one of our own?
Even in the throes of newsroom discovery, it was still disturbing to learn that the man who allegedly shot at a Kansas City Jewish community center and retirement center, killing three, has ties to our state and our city.
He was known by the unlikely name of Glenn Miller when he came up during the Greensboro Truth & Reconciliation effort in 2005, almost 10 years ago, and when he took part in what has become known as the Greensboro Massacre back in 1979 he was the sort of racist who hated Jews as passionately as African-Americans, perhaps even more so. In his account of the incident in his 2002 autobiography, A White Man Speaks Out, he claims that the first shots fired were at him, as he attacked Communist Workers Party members with a nightstick. But he was not among the 16 Nazis and Klansmen tried for the shooting that claimed five lives — not that it mattered because none of them were convicted of anything.
Instead of facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder, Miller founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1980. He ran for governor of North Carolina as a Democrat in 1984, the same year he and his crew were sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for intimidating a black prison guard.
The charges that accumulated against him over the years include possession of stolen military-grade weapons, holding large amounts of stolen cash, contempt of federal court, an assassination attempt on SPLC founder Morris Dees and ties to a known terrorist group, the Order, responsible for the assassination of a Denver talk-radio host Alan Berg.
We should be ashamed. Before he moved west, Miller was North Carolina’s problem. And it’s impossible not to acknowledge that some of this blood is on our hands.
By his every public action, the man has defined himself as a dangerous, violent man fueled by irrational animosity. He’s a known perpetrator of hate crime, and has been active for more than 30 years. And when he was arrested on Sunday for spilling blood, it was consistent with everything he has ever sought to do. It should have surprised no one. Including the FBI.