Top of the Ticket
Political commentary from David Horsey
Opinion Top of the Ticket

Home-grown right-wing terror bares its fangs in Kansas killings

How does a home-grown terrorist like Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. end up in the back of a police car shouting “Heil Hitler” after he has killed three people and shot up two Jewish community facilities in suburban Kansas City, Kan.?

Does he start with an ideological gateway drug, like a stream of shrill propaganda from the National Rifle Assn.? Does he move on through progressively harder stuff, from the pompous rants of Rush Limbaugh, to the paranoid fantasies of Glenn Beck and then to the seditious lunacy of Alex Jones? Does this get him hooked on anti-government delusions that take him deep into the philosophical meth, heroin and crack of right wing extremist websites and white supremacist militia groups?

Or do men like Cross just start crazy and get crazier? 

Whatever the case may be, the shooting in Kansas City is another reminder that we continue to have a domestic terror problem. While the vast power of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies is targeted on radical Islamists around the world, we, as a country, show minimal concern about the threat of militants who have grown up among us.

The 73-year-old Cross spent four decades pushing the white supremacist cause. Cross served as grand dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. He threatened to assassinate the founder of the anti-racist Southern Poverty Law Center. He spent time in prison but also ran for political office several times on a white power platform.

Tuesday night on MSNBC in a report on Cross’ connections to the broader extremist movement, Rachel Maddow cited the bizarre fact that Cross -- then known by the last name Miller -- was a key FBI informant in an unsuccessful federal effort in the 1980s to bring down the major players in the white supremacist movement. Despite his betrayal, Cross returned to the cause and cheered on other racist militants, such as Kevin Harpham, the man convicted of placing a bomb along the route of Spokane’s Martin Luther King Day parade in 2011. 

When he went gunning for Jews last weekend, this guy did not spring out of nowhere. He was notorious. So, why was he off the radar of law enforcement?

In 2009, when federal agencies wanted to step up monitoring of extreme right wing groups, many conservatives went ballistic. They said the feds would use this as an excuse to go after anti-abortion activists and other legitimate political organizations on the right. They succeeded in getting law enforcement to back down. 

They may also have succeeded in making the homicidal work of a domestic terrorist that much easier.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Unpaid interns take Hollywood to court
    Unpaid interns take Hollywood to court

    It’s not quite “Revenge of the Nerds,” but it still might make a good movie: “Attack of the Unpaid Interns.”

  • Continue -- but gradually reduce -- federal risk in terrorism insurance
    Continue -- but gradually reduce -- federal risk in terrorism insurance

    The terrorists who turned the World Trade Center into rubble struck a devastating blow to the U.S. economy too, and few sectors felt it as acutely as the insurance industry. Afterward, insurers balked at providing any coverage for damage caused by further acts of terrorism, making it harder...

  • In Haiti, only the face of power has changed
    In Haiti, only the face of power has changed

    Almost five years since the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti, the country remains adrift, and in recent weeks, even more than usual. In town after town, as well as in the capital, Port-au-Prince, large, angry crowds have gathered regularly to express their dissatisfaction with Haiti's...

  • California's egg-laying hens to get their breathing room
    California's egg-laying hens to get their breathing room

    Next month, all of California's 15 million egg-laying hens must be freed from the cramped, restrictive battery cages that have long been used on most egg farms. In the future, they will have enough space to stand up, lie down, turn around, and spread their wings without touching another bird.

  • A tax system tilted toward the rich
    A tax system tilted toward the rich

    Congress managed to pass a tax bill in December — a great relief to tax professionals like myself. But what our legislators didn't do was address the fundamentally unfair way the United States taxes people who work for a living compared with people who live off of the earnings of their...

  • Immigrant driver's license policy makes sense
    Immigrant driver's license policy makes sense

    Beginning Jan. 1, immigrants who are here illegally will be able to take another small step out of the shadows by applying for California driver's licenses. It took years to enact this controversial policy, but ultimately granting licenses to qualified drivers, regardless of their legal status,...

Comments
Loading