Or is it just a retributive killing -- heinous enough, but not necessarily terroristic?
Well, consider the following:
- -- Many white-supremacist terror advocates, notably the National Alliance's William Pierce, specifically highlight assassinations against the judiciary -- who they see as "Satanists" doing the bidding of Jews -- as a significant (if not primary) component of any "war" to bring down the government.
Pierce is well known for writing The Turner Diaries, which served as the blueprint for a whole generation of far-right terrorists, including The Order and Tim McVeigh. The latter killed 168 people in Oklahoma City in the hopes the act would spark a nationwide "race war." (It obviously hasn't come to pass, but the haters who tread in his footsteps are hoping it may yet.) And among the assassinations Pierce describes in the book are of "black-robed traitors."
But it's another Pierce work, Hunter, that may be more the relevant blueprint here. Hunter describes a "lone wolf" type terrorist who enacts a campaign of assassination that includes, notably, "Jewish controlled" judges.
-- Among the other white supremacists agitating for a "white revolution" is the World Church of the Creator, the focus of much of the current investigation. There is a reason that the WCOTC has a history of violence surrounding its believers: it specifically advocates the use of violence, culminating in all-out revolution, which they call "racial holy war" (or "RAHOWA").
In other words, the retributive aspects of the murders are intertwined with the terroristic motivations. The purpose is to intimidate the judiciary and to undermine the public's sense of security: if the government can't keep federal judges safe, who can they? In the end, if Hale supporters committed this, it is certainly an act of terror.
As the investigation continues apace, it's important to keep this possibility in mind, for one specific reason: These people have likely just gotten started.
To understand the nature of the beast we're dealing with here, a little history might be helpful.
The man at the left is Ben Klassen, the inventor of the electric can opener and a former Republican state legislator from Florida. By the late 1960s he had become completely radicalized and set about creating a new religion, with his fortune from the can-opener design funding the way.
He called his eventual concoction "Creativity." The book above is probably the centerpiece of a collection of books Klassen went on to write over the ensuing years. The core beliefs are relatively simple: Klassen rejects all previously established religions, including Christianity (because it emanated from the debased Jewish faith; WCOTCers, unlike most white supremacists, are actually eager to point out that Jesus was a Jew). His religion does not worship God: it worships white people, who are the "cream of creation."
Along the way, as Chip Berlet explains, they developed a distinctly violent approach to overturning the current order of things:
- In Klassen's book, On the Brink of a Bloody Racial War, the inevitability of genocide carried out by White racial warriors is obvious throughout, however, while the WCOTC is struggling to gain total control over the political system in a country, Klassen urges followers to stay within the boundaries of what is "legal, constitutional, and non-violent. This is a tactical, not a strategic, command. Klassen, On the Brink of a Bloody Racial War, p. 375.
Klassen's words are reprinted by Hale as part of a public statement in the WCOTC newsletter The Struggle, that includes the claim: "Our Church does not condone or advocate violence or illegality in any way." The Struggle, Issue XC, Dec. XXIXAC, p. 12
In his article "Creativity's Strategy for White Victory," Hale makes it clear that the call for nonviolence is merely a temporary tactic. Hale cites Klassen's admonition to use legal means to win the struggle. "We must spread the message of Creativity legally so that we can continue to spread it, rather than wind up in jail." Matt Hale, "Creativity's Strategy for White Victory."
Yet the WCOTC philosophy makes it clear that once in power, the Church will create the conditions whereby people of color, Jews, and White "race traitors" will wither away and eventually disappear off the face of the Earth. This fits the UN definition of genocide.
Hale writes: "It cannot be denied that Ben Klassen envisioned that one day, there would probably be an all-out war with the mud races. After all, he did not speak the words 'RAHOWA! This Planet is Ours!" for nothing. In Nature's Eternal Religion, he describes how once we get the White Race's thinking straight, the White Race will cease to subsidize the mud races, and they shall wither on the vine. Then, the White Race under the banner of Creativity shall expand its territory until all the good lands of this planet earth are ours. The mud races may very well offer some resistance and that resistance will have to be destroyed."
While this call for future genocide is clear, Hale repeats his call for nonviolence at the present time. The intrinsic heroic warrior theme of Creativity, however, rebuts that claim because it makes it clear that "real" masculine men take action against their enemies and advance their race. This creates a dynamic whereby followers of Creativity could easily decide to increase their status through aggression or even violence against their enemies.
Klassen committed suicide in 1993, after one of his followers killed a black veteran in Florida, and the family wound up winning a wrongful-death lawsuit (filed by the SPLC) that essentially stripped him of the final remnants of his fortune.
At the time, many of us hoped that the group would spin into permanent decline. As I've described before, at that point the WCOTC was down to a handful of pathetic losers -- the most notable being Klassen's original designated successor, a former cattleman named Rudy Stanko, who had done prison time for selling tainted meat to Montana schoolkids (it was a massive Jewish conspiracy, you see) -- hanging onto a vast pile of Klassen's books. I actually first read the WCOTC's material when some of those followers were recruiting in the town of Laurel, Montana, by leaving copies of the books on people's doorsteps, like abandoned children, and a few copies made their way back to a church organization I worked with.
Then Matt Hale showed up on the scene, breathed another half-life into the beast like Dr. Frankenstein, and sent it lurching out into our streets again.
Another thing we know about Hale: he doesn't lack for chutzpah. The Chicago Tribune reports that two days before the murders, Hale made a court filing contending "authorities owed him and the judge apologies for causing Lefkow and her family 'to think that her life was in danger needlessly and wrongly.' "
Of course, Hale isn't alone out there. There's also radio talk-show host Hal Turner, who drew a visit from federal agents for some of his previous remarks:
- He said federal authorities have focused on him because two years ago he said on the air that Lefkow "was worthy of being killed." On Thursday he defended his statements.
"If I say some politician should be assassinated, that's an opinion. If I say, 'Let's go kill so-and-so,' that's solicitation of murder," Turner said. "It's a very fine line, and sometimes people can't distinguish."
The line he's talking about, of course, is the legal one.
The moral one, of course, is the one that people like Turner, Hale, and the rest of their wretched lot can't distinguish. Which means that it's only a matter of time before someone is going to be crossing not just the legal line, but the line between mere crime and terrorism.