Monday, June 26, 2006

Mocking Ann Coulter Has Become A National Pastime

I had it all worked out. I was going to write this sarcastic letter to the psychopathic Dragon Lady herself, Ann Coulter, begging to be included in her next book’s list of traitors deserving execution. God knows my blog could use the publicity. Unfortunately, Henry Rollins (that guy who sometimes uses my name) saw fit to beat me to the punch by penning his own letter to Ann. It’s way funnier than anything I could come up with, so you should probably just read it instead.

As for my own take on Ms. Coulter: I think she has become the mainstream equivalent of Fred Phelps. She has discovered that by making progressively more controversial and offensive remarks, she can garner major media coverage, which of course will lead to higher book sales. The most constructive way to deal with such a person is to rob her of the publicity she so desperately seeks. In other words, we should all collectively ignore her.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The National Alliance Takes Another Hit

Shawn Walker

As regular readers of this blog no doubt know, the National Alliance (NA) has of late fallen on hard times. At one point, it was the largest and best organized neo-Nazi group in the country. A series of management blunders and petty squabbles has resulted membership dropping to less then 200 persons, and the organization is regularly mocked and attacked by other groups within the racist right. The final nail in the NA’s coffin may have been driven this week with the arrest of the group’s leader, Shawn Walker, on federal civil rights charges. According to the indictment, Walker and two other individuals carried out several assaults on minority persons at bars and restaurants in the Salt Lake City area while Walker was the NA unit leader in that city. The feds claim that these assaults constituted a deliberate campaign to intimidate minority persons into avoiding certain establishments; thus the civil rights charge. Most white power people out there feel that the case is fairly flimsy, and is politically motivated. I would tend to agree. But given that Walker has dedicated his adult life to spreading the gospel of Adolph Hitler, he may find little sympathy from a jury.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Sally Jacobsen Gets Off Easy

It looks like Sally Jacobsen (the feminist professor at Northern Kentucky University who encouraged her students to destroy a pro-life display on campus) may be able to escape criminal charges if she completes successful mediation with the university’s administration and the campus pro-life group whose display she vandalized. It would seem that this whole incident has not impressed the value of the first amendment on professor Jacobsen. As she recently stated:

"If I'd known it would have been construed as a crime, I would never have done it [So you’re just sorry you got caught.]... I never intended to deprive anybody of their freedom of speech [Say what?]. The display was not in the free speech area of the university [“Free Speech Area”. An Orwellian tern if I’ve ever heard one.]... I'm very sorry I did what I did." [Bit late for that.]

Jacobsen’s student followers were lucky enough to get off the hook with community service. I sincerely hope the pro-life group whose display was destroyed is considering civil suits.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

“And By God My Name Be Vengeance”

“The skinhead path leaves a trail of broken trust, lost comrades, and a little love and a lot of betrayal along the way. [...] For the very unfortunate ones it ends behind bars for one reason or another. For these people there is no chance to ever make something of life. And while the "fresh cuts" out there will be gone in a few months or a few years, [those in prison] will still be looking through bars and thinking about what's become ancient history to everyone else."
-excerpt from a letter to New Times from Samuel Compton, one of two skinheads facing capital murder charges in the October 16, 2002, beating death of Cole Bailey Jr.

In most cities in the US, the Nazi skinhead scene has dwindled away. Like all fads, the shaved-headed, combat boot-wearingly look fell out of fashion, to be replaced by new forms of political thuggery (for example, black bloc anarchism). A notable exception would seems to Phoenix, Arizona, where until recently the ultra-violent skinhead crew Unit 88 continued to keep the tradition of goose-stepping idiocy alive. There are three individuals whose personal stories tell the tale of the rise and fall of Unit 88. Their experiences illustrate the devastating effects that the skinhead lifestyle can have not just on the participants themselves, but on anyone unfortunate enough to cross paths with them.

Josh Fiedler was the primary architect of Unit 88, and its undisputed leader. The other skinheads in his crew treated him with an admiration that bordered on worship. Like many political extremists, he seemed oddly concerned with convincing the general public that they had nothing to fear from his followers. Considering the group of losers he was working with, he certainly had his work cut out for him:

Unattractive appearances aside, Unit 88’s violent actions did enough to keep public opinion firmly negative. Along with drug-running and home invasions, Unit 88 skinheads were responsible for several murders, the most egregious being that of Cole Bailey Jr. Bailey had the bad luck to be standing outside of a pool hall that several Unit 88 members had just been kicked out of. Focusing their rage on him, the skinheads beat twenty-year old Bailey (who was white) until his skull was crushed. The killers were all arrested shortly thereafter, and are currently awaiting trial. Fiedler himself was eventually arrested after a particularly brutal home invasion, and will likely do hard time.

The man most directly responsible for destroying the Unit 88 crew was Matt Browning, a cop who spent years integrating himself into the skinhead culture in Arizona. His ten years of fieldwork paid off: Of the group’s 37 active members and affiliates, 18 are currently either in jail or awaiting trial on a variety of charges. Browning’s story illustrates how incredibly dangerous undercover police work can be, and well as how effective it sometimes is. It’s only unfortunate that Browning and the other cops working the case couldn’t get the evidence together to make arrests until after people had been killed.

Which brings us to Cole Bailey Sr. His son was the young man who was stomped to death outside of a pool hall in Phoenix. Consumed with an understandable grief and rage, he began to publicly threaten his son’s killers, and then all Unit 88 members. Referring to his gun as the “Skinhead Slayer”, he swore to exact a revenge on those responsible for his loss. It’s hard to tell how much of this was grandstanding: Bailey has signed on to allow for a film version of his story. Considering how incredibly dangerous the people he is calling out are, I would personally say that that I take him at his word. Seeing as that all of the people implicated in his son’s killing are in jail, as are most of the other key Unit 88 members, Bailey may never get the chance to enact his vendetta. Then again, about twenty years from now a former skinhead in Arizona may step out of prison and see a somewhat unhinged man waiting for him. One can only hope.