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November 19, 2014 0

Don’t Hand the Bigots Another Victory

By Abra­ham H. Fox­man
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared in The Huff­in­g­ton Post

 

For more than three decades, white suprema­cist and for­mer Klans­man Fra­zier Glenn Miller Jr. wore his hatred on his sleeve — some­times literally.

But now that he has traded his swastikas and Klan regalia for an orange prison jump­suit, one would have hoped that his record of hate­ful venom against Jews and other minori­ties would have been safely sequestered — and silenced — behind bars.

Not quite.

Miller, cur­rently await­ing trial on cap­i­tal mur­der charges in the April 13 shoot­ing ram­page out­side of a Jew­ish Com­mu­nity Cen­ter in Over­land Park, Kansas, is not one for hold­ing back his vir­u­lent anti-Semitic beliefs.

When asked why he car­ried out the attack — which killed physi­cian William Cor­poron, 69, and his grand­son, Reat Under­wood, 14, out­side of the Jew­ish Com­mu­nity Cen­ter, and Terri LaManno, 53, an occu­pa­tional ther­a­pist vis­it­ing her mother at a nearby senior cen­ter — Miller told The Kansas City Star that he was moti­vated both by his deeply held con­vic­tion that Jews must die and a sense of his own immi­nent mortality.

He had recently been admit­ted to the emer­gency room with emphy­sema and felt his life was com­ing to an end.

“I was con­vinced I was dying then,” Miller said in the Star’s exclu­sive inter­view pub­lished online Sat­ur­day. “I wanted to make damned sure I killed some Jews or attacked the Jews before I died.”

“Because of what I did, Jews feel less secure.”

Though Miller intended to kill inno­cent Jew­ish civil­ians, the tragic irony of his hor­rific crime is that he suc­ceeded in killing no Jews. Miller, 73, fired indis­crim­i­nately at any­one who crossed his path. Those sense­less deaths ter­ror­ized not only the Jew­ish com­mu­nity, but every­one in the greater sub­ur­ban Kansas City area — and beyond.

Miller did not wait for trial to con­fess his crimes, choos­ing instead to tell his story, laden with anti-Semitic tirades in the media rather than a judge or jury. The Kansas City paper devoted more than 2,500 words to a jail­house inter­view with Miller.

In the inter­view, Miller proudly described how he care­fully planned the shoot­ings, vis­it­ing the sites days ahead of time and cov­er­ing his tracks on the Inter­net so that law enforce­ment would be thrown off by his actions. And he rehashed his life story as a career bigot.

Miller rel­ished the effect he thought his vio­lence would have on the Jew­ish community:

“Every Jew in the world knows my name now and what I did. As for these… white peo­ple who are accom­plices of the Jews, who attend their meet­ings and con­tribute to their fundrais­ing efforts and who empower the Jews, they are my enemy too. A lot of white peo­ple who asso­ciate with Jews, go to Jew­ish events and sup­port them know that they’re not safe either, thanks to me.”

These sen­ti­ments are indeed shock­ing, but not sur­pris­ing to any­one who has fol­lowed his sor­did career of out­spo­ken big­otry. As early as 1985, Miller told ABC World News Tonight that, “now every­where I go peo­ple are agree­ing with me that the Jews do in fact con­trol this country.”

While the pub­lic has a right to know what moti­vated Miller, is there a need to give him an open micro­phone for those views? Many of these details would have come out dur­ing the trial. Why do we, as a soci­ety, feel the need to stare so long and so hard at the haters and big­ots among us?

Per­haps we should be look­ing in the mirror.

I, for one, was dis­ap­pointed with the Star’s deci­sion to give so much atten­tion to Miller and more dis­ap­pointed that it allowed him to spew his hatred. And I am annoyed and angry at the prison offi­cials who so read­ily made him avail­able to speak at length in a series of phone inter­views to a journalist.

Pub­li­ciz­ing Miller’s hate-filled tirades do not serve a com­mu­nity still emo­tion­ally bat­tered by his self-serving vit­riol. The Jew­ish com­mu­nity, the Cor­poron and LaManno fam­i­lies and the entire Greater Kansas City region can cer­tainly live with­out more of Miller’s hate speech.

More than a decade ago, Louis Far­rakhan, the anti-Semitic and racist leader of the Nation of Islam, was invited to appear as a guest on NBC’s Meet the Press. At the time I remem­ber being sur­prised that any respectable news pro­gram would give some­one with such deep ani­mos­ity toward Jews and oth­ers a plat­form where he could sell him­self as a mod­er­ate leader.

I appealed to the great Tim Russert, the host at the time, not to give Far­rakhan a plat­form on the network’s pres­ti­gious Sun­day news pro­gram, argu­ing that his sta­tus as a racist and a bigot made him a pariah and a poor sub­ject for an inter­view. The appear­ance went ahead, but not with­out Russert ask­ing pointed ques­tions about Farrakhan’s his­tory of hatred toward Jews.

Years later, after a series of hate-filled anti-Semitic speeches in which he has ful­mi­nated against Jew­ish power and blamed Jews for every­thing from pro­mot­ing the African slave trade to con­trol­ling Hol­ly­wood, Far­rakhan has achieved the sta­tus of a true out­cast. I hope that no legit­i­mate, main­stream news out­let would give him a voice.

The same rule should hold true for the anti-Jewish big­otry of Fra­zier Glenn Miller Jr.

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April 17, 2014 2

Westboro Baptist Church to Picket Kansas Shooting Victims’ Funerals

Shirley-Phelps-RoperThe vir­u­lently anti-gay, anti-Semitic West­boro Bap­tist Church has announced that it plans to picket the April 18 funer­als of two of the vic­tims allegedly killed by white suprema­cist Fra­zier Glenn Miller in Over­land Park, Kansas. The group sent out faxes, includ­ing to sev­eral Anti-Defamation League offices, declar­ing their inten­tion to protest at the funerals.

West­boro, based in Topeka, Kansas, is noto­ri­ous for hold­ing up hate­ful signs near the funer­als of sol­diers killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. They also draw atten­tion to them­selves by protest­ing at funer­als of vic­tims who were killed or died under other tragic circumstances.

Despite the March 2014 death of Westboro’s founder and leader, Fred Phelps, the group is clearly con­tin­u­ing his legacy of hate and divisiveness.

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