In recent days, residents of a Colorado Springs neighborhood emerged from their homes to find baggies containing fliers promoting...the Ku Klux Klan.
This is not an isolated occurrence. Over the past six months or so, several cities have had similar incidents. However, most have been in the South and Southeast. From what we've been able to determine, the Colorado Springs flier dump represents the furthest west the KKK has ventured in what's described as a nationwide recruitment drive.
The local story comes to us from CBS4, which quotes one recipient of the fliers as saying that around 34 homes were targeted. The messages include the usual racist and homophobic bile, as well as a web address, KKKKnights.com, the online home for the "Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan."
Also quizzed as part of the package is "Curtis Barker," ID'd as the Klan's North Carolina-based imperial wizard -- although the website and many other sources identify him as Chris Barker. In the clip, Barker says that the flier drops are efforts to build the KKK's membership among "white Americans" who need to know "that we should start standing up for our race."
The recruitment effort is documented on the Klan's website via plenty of news articles and links. Earlier this year, as reported by WECT-TV, a Wilmington, North Carolina neighborhood was littered with fliers featuring this image:
Around the same time, residents of Atlanta who spoke with WGCL-TV received fliers with a slightly different look:
In addition, individuals in Richmond, Virginia contacted by WTVR-TV shared fliers sporting the slogan "Wake Up White America:"
A Memphis Klan member sat for an interview with the station, complete with hood:
Likewise, WHBQ-TV in Memphis found a couple of Klansmen willing to appear on television, albeit in odd disguises:
In contrast, Barker told CBS4, Colorado KKK members prefer not to surface at this time, preferring to do their work anonymously. But that could change. With summer coming, he suggested that the time is right for rallies and cross burnings.
Not that Barker feels the populace should be alarmed. In his words, "We've been here 150 years, we're not going nowhere, we're not out to hurt anyone."
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That's extraordinarily debatable. Here's the CBS4 report:
More from our News archive circa March 2013: "Franklin Sain's racist and sexist anti-gun-control e-mails are protected free speech, attorneys say."