13 February 2017
Thoughts on a dead Klansman
As of now, investigators seem to suspect that the murder of a self-proclaimed Imperial Wizard of the (equally self-proclaimed?) Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was a result of family disputes. That wasn't my first thought, however, when I'd heard that a Klansman's korpse had been found with a bullet in his head. For all that some people seem to think that the KKK has more influence today than it's had in ages, I imagine that it's probably not very safe to be as open a Klansman in the news media and social media as this victim had been. I suppose his death could just as easily be a meth deal gone wrong, but I couldn't help asking whether, were his killers black or any sort of nonwhite, the murder of a Klansman would be considered a hate crime. Going further, were the man killed for being a Klansman -- and a powerful Wizard, mind you! -- would the political motivation of such an act make the killing of a Klansman an act of terrorism? If either of these categories of crime has objective rather than partisan meaning, the answer would have to be yes, even if that goes against our assumption that terrorism and hate crime are bad things that happen to good people. If the investigators in Missouri are on the right track this will be only idle speculation for now, but it's not hard to imagine Klansmen being targeted for violence if the national mood continues to deteriorate, and it definitely would be interesting, and probably telling, to see how a Klansman's killer from outside his family tree would be treated in the courts of law and public opinion.