Guns and White Power Thread (1 Viewer)

Poindexter

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We Found Photos of Ole Miss Students Posing With Guns in Front of a Shot-Up Emmett Till Memorial. Now They Face a Possible Civil Rights Investigation.

Three students were suspended from their fraternity house, Kappa Alpha, after we shared an Instagram photo one of the men posted that was taken in front of a sign commemorating the murder of the 14-year-old black youth in 1955.
Three University of Mississippi students have been suspended from their fraternity house and face possible investigation by the Department of Justice after posing with guns in front of a bullet-riddled sign honoring slain civil rights icon Emmett Till.

One of the students posted a photo to his private Instagram account in March showing the trio in front of a roadside plaque commemorating the site where Till’s body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River. The 14-year-old black youth was tortured and murdered in August 1955. An all-white, all-male jury acquitted two white men accused of the slaying.

The photo, which was obtained by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica, shows an Ole Miss student named Ben LeClere holding a shotgun while standing in front of the bullet-pocked sign. His Kappa Alpha fraternity brother, John Lowe, squats below the sign. A third fraternity member stands on the other side with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. The photo appears to have been taken at night, the scene illuminated by lights from a vehicle.

LeClere posted the picture on Lowe’s birthday on March 1 with the message “one of Memphis’s finest and the worst influence I’ve ever met.”

Neither LeClere nor Lowe responded to repeated attempts to contact them.

It is not clear whether the fraternity students shot the sign or are simply posing before it. The sign is part of a memorial effort by the Emmett Till Memorial Commission, a Mississippi civil rights group, and has been repeatedly vandalized, most recently in August 2018. Till’s death helped propel the modern civil rights movement in America.

Five days after LeClere posted the photo, a person who saw it filed a bias report to the university’s Office of Student Conduct. The complaint pointed out there may have been a fourth person present, who took the picture.

“The photo is on Instagram with hundreds of ‘likes,’ and no one said a thing,” said the complaint, a copy of which was reviewed by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica. “I cannot tell Ole Miss what to do, I just thought it should be brought to your attention.”

The photo was removed from LeClere’s Instagram account after the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica began contacting fraternity members and friends. It had received 247 likes within a day of being posted.

Kappa Alpha suspended the trio on Wednesday, after the news organizations provided a copy of the photo to fraternity officials at Ole Miss. The fraternity, which honors Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee as its “spiritual founder” on its website, has a history of racial controversy, including an incident in which students wore blackface at a Kappa Alpha sponsored Halloween party at the University of Virginia in 2002.

“The photo is inappropriate, insensitive and unacceptable. It does not represent our chapter,” Taylor Anderson, president of Ole Miss’ Kappa Alpha Order, wrote in an email. “We have and will continue to be in communication with our national organization and the University.”

After viewing the photo, U.S. Attorney Chad Lamar of the Northern District of Mississippi in Oxford said the information has been referred to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division for further investigation.

“We will be working with them closely,” he said Thursday.

University officials called the photo “offensive and hurtful.”

University spokesman Rod Guajardo acknowledged that an Ole Miss official had received a copy of the Instagram picture in March. The university referred the matter to the university police department, which in turn gave it to the FBI.

Guajardo said the FBI told police it would not further investigate the incident because the photo did not pose a specific threat.

Guajardo said that while the university considered the picture “offensive,” the image did not present a violation of the university’s code of conduct. He noted the incident depicted in the photo occurred off campus and was not part of a university-affiliated event.

“We stand ready to assist the fraternity with educational opportunities for those members and the chapter,” Guajardo said.

He said the university will continue to build programs to engage students in “deliberate, honest and candid conversations while making clear that we unequivocally reject attitudes that do not respect the dignity of each individual in our community.”

Since the first sign was erected in 2008, it has been the object of repeated animosity.

Vandals threw the first sign in the river. The second sign was blasted with 317 bullets or shotgun pellets before the Emmett Till Memorial Commission officials removed it. The third sign, featured in the Instagram photo, was damaged by 10 bullet holes before officials took it down last week. A fourth sign, designed to better withstand attacks, is expected to be installed soon.

News of the suspensions and referral to the Justice Department came as Till’s cousin, Deborah Watts, co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, was already planning a moment of silence Thursday to honor her cousin with a gathering of supporters and friends dressed in black and white in “a silent yet powerful protest against racism, hatred and violence.” Thursday is Till’s birthday. Had he lived, he would have been 78 years old.

This is not the first time Ole Miss fraternity students have been caught up in an incident involving an icon from the civil rights movement.

In 2014, three students from the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house placed a noose around the neck of a statue on campus of James Meredith, the first known black student to attend Ole Miss. They also placed a Georgia flag of the past that contains the Confederate battle emblem.

According to federal prosecutors, the freshmen students hatched the plan during a drinking fest at the house, where one student disparaged African Americans, saying this act would create a sensation: “It’s James Meredith. People will go crazy.”

One pleaded guilty and received six months in prison for using a threat of force to intimidate African American students and employees because of their race or color. Another student also pleaded guilty. He received probation and community service after he cooperated with the FBI. A third man wasn’t charged.

All three students withdrew from Ole Miss, and the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity’s national headquarters shuttered its chapter on the Ole Miss campus after its own investigation, blaming the closing on behavior that included “hazing, underage drinking, alcohol abuse and failure to comply with the university and fraternity’s codes of conduct.”

Shirley L. Smith and Debbie Skipper of the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and Thalia Beaty, Benjamin Hardy and Claire Perlman of ProPublica contributed to this report.

Jerry Mitchell is an investigative reporter for the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization that seeks to hold public officials accountable and empower citizens in their communities.

Email him at Jerry.Mitchell.MCIR@gmail.com and follow him on Facebook at @JerryMitchellReporter and on Twitter at @jmitchellnews.

If you have any information about the people who took this picture or who appeared in it, please let us know at Mississippi@ProPublica.org.

Update, July 26, 2019: University of Mississippi interim Chancellor Larry D. Sparks issued a statement Friday, which said in part: “The incident occurred off campus, did not rise to the level of a threat per federal authorities, and was not part of any university-affiliated event. As a community of learning and a state institution, we have limits on the tools available to remedy this offensive behavior….These are not things we take lightly. In light of our history, our University of Mississippi community of more than 25,000 people needs to come together to make it clear that these students and their actions do not represent the values of our institution. They do not speak for our institution, and they do not define us. What makes this different than other offensive, hurtful, and disgusting things we see on social media each day is that, at the very least, it belittles the price that a 14-year-old paid for being black. Race and ethnicity are not choices; they are not political affiliations, decisions, or attitudes.”

Correction, July 26, 2019: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that a photo of three fraternity brothers in front of a shot-up Emmett Till memorial sign had received 274 likes on Instagram. It had received 247 likes within a day of being posted.

Correction, July 25, 2019: An earlier version of this story misidentified John Lowe as holding an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Lowe is squatting beneath the sign without a rifle.
 

Miz

mortality, ka, and the Tower
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Only read the first few paragraphs, but getting 247 likes is the scariest thing. I don’t have that many Facebook friends, but if I posted that I’d get 1 like from my racist uncle and that would be it. That kid got 247 likes. Also, I went to college 20 years ago. These kids would need at least 18-21 on their act’s to get in, right? And they weren’t smart enough to know that putting that on social media would be bad. Some people are just dumb. At my college a fraternity had a g’s and 40 day during black history month where they dressed like gangsters and drank old English. And took pictures. People are so fucking dumb.
 

Ninjastix

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I just want to point out that these kids, and their supporters, are the same people who are offended by saying "Happy Holidays" vs. Merry Christmas. The same people that accuse outrage culture of oppressing their capacity to be dangerous assholes, hide behind the same playing cards the second someone breathes on them.
 

Poindexter

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White supremacists increase recruiting efforts at colleges, ADL says
White supremacists posted more propaganda on college campuses for the third year in a row as they tried to recruit members, the Anti-Defamation League said Thursday.

Fliers and stickers with veiled white supremacist language or explicit racist messages were posted on public and private campuses across America. The groups that post them also frequently spread messages that were anti-Semitic and homophobic.

Some explicitly attacked minority groups including Jews, African Americans, Muslims, non-white immigrants and the LGBTQ community, according to the ADL, which monitors and campaigns against hate.

Other fliers continued the trend of efforts to deceptively promote American identity, the ADL said, by having no explicitly hateful message but linking to a website where racist content is posted.

The ADL documented 313 cases of white supremacist propaganda on college campuses, 7% more than it documented in the 2017-18 academic year, which was itself 77% higher than the incidents observed the previous year, according to the ADL's Center on Extremism.

More extremist propaganda was found on campus during the 2019 spring semester than in any preceding semester since 2016 when the ADL began tracking this kind of activity, it says.

The ADL tells CNN it believes that both students and non-students are responsible for the incidents. The group tracks the incidents from complaints from the community, social media postings and media reports.

"This data clearly demonstrates that white supremacists in the United States are emboldened by the current political and social climate," ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. "Our campuses and communities should be places for learning and development, not places for racists and bigots to propagate hate speech and search for potential recruits."

Where the incidents are happening

During the spring 2019 semester, 161 incidents of extremist propaganda were found on 122 campuses, according to ADL data. They were found on campuses in 33 states and the District of Columbia.

For the entire academic year:
  • California ranked highest with 58 incidents: That's due to its sheer size and high level of white supremacist activity in the state, Greenblatt said.
  • Kentucky followed with 22: Though the state is small in population, Greenblatt says the presence of Identity Evropa, now known as the American Identity Movement, in the state is probably the reason for the high activity.
  • Oklahoma had 19 incidents.
The widespread targeting of campuses is a continued source of concern for the ADL, and its leader said he believes that action must be taken.

"University presidents and campus leadership must remain vigilant in speaking out against the hateful messages of these groups," Greenblatt said. "Given the alarming increase of these incidents, words alone are not enough -- it must be followed by action. Educating faculty and students on the values of diversity and inclusion, along with improving training for campus officials charged with responding to bias incidents and hate crimes, are just a few of the ways campuses can fight back against this scourge of hate targeting our youth."

The messages

The ADL shared a variety of the fliers and messages with CNN. The posters show the types of messaging and tactics used by groups to recruit young members.
  • Fliers from the group Identity Evropa and messages that "your professor is scared" of a book about white identity were posted on a bulletin board at Western Kentucky University in October. They appeared alongside a flier for the Fun Shop at the Kentucky Museum.
  • A flier at the University of California, Berkeley, said "All Hate Crimes are Hoaxes." It was posted in March.
  • The Daily Stormer, one of the most-trafficked white supremacist websites, posted a flier at Pasadena City College declaring that "jews came for the daily stormer" and that they are "coming for YOUR free speech next." The flier references and shows the many banned domains of the Daily Stormer, which was kicked out by many web hosting services after it ran a post criticizing Heather Heyer, the counterprotester killed by a racist during the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
  • Other messages about urging people to "embrace your identity" were posted right next to information on gymnastic classes.
  • "Defend America" declared a flier from the American Identity Movement that was posted at California Polytechnic State University in May.
Who is responsible

Almost all of the white supremacist messages came from the "alt-right," with many of the messages coming from the American Identity Movement, the ADL said. That group was responsible for 115 of the more than 300 incidents.

The group, formerly known as Identity Evropa, has recently gone through a rebranding, in which it has sought to alter its message from European-focused identity to a broader message about supporting the white race, specifically in America. Many of its messages focus on how it says diversity is killing America and draw on the obsession and fear that drives most white supremacist groups: that as America is becoming more diverse, white people will lose power.

On websites, social media and sometimes fliers, calls to support one's white identity are often followed with messages urging attacks on anyone who is not white.
The American Identity Movement does not shy away from its posting of fliers, often photographing them for social media. Previous attempts to get support included putting banners across highways and bridges.

They are driven by racist ideology.

The group recently tweeted, "White Americans are projected to become a minority in Texas as early as 2022. Mass immigration -- both legal and illegal-is rendering Texas alien and unrecognizable. Americans never voted for this -- it was foisted upon us by a globalist ruling class."

Nearly two years after hate spilled onto the streets of Charlottesville, AIM is targeting younger people on and off campus, the ADL said. Recently, the group has posted photos showing messages about "nationalism not globalism" on a board at a coffee shop in California.

That follows a trend the ADL is seeing, with a documented "dramatic increase in white supremacist off-campus propaganda incidents." There were 672 off-campus incidents counted in the first five months of 2019, according to the ADL, compared with 868 for all of 2018. The groups Patriot Front and American Identity Movement were responsible for most of those, according to the ADL.
 

S=E

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Doesn't surprise me. My uncle lives in Mississippi and is racist as FUCK. So bad I cut all ties from him. So this seems par for the course.
 

Ct_L33T

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When looking at old pictures of public lynchings, it's important to remember that this was a public spectical, community entertainment the whole family could enjoy. Do you think that once the lynchings died down, the people in the cheering crowd just disapered? No they went on to raise families and their children raised children.
 

Miz

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When looking at old pictures of public lynchings, it's important to remember that this was a public spectical, community entertainment the whole family could enjoy. Do you think that once the lynchings died down, the people in the cheering crowd just disapered? No they went on to raise families and their children raised children.
My Grandpa definitely said racist things. I got lucky in the fact that I never heard my dad say anything racist, and he taught us otherwise. Not sure why? Maybe cause he was in the Marine Core and it was pretty diverse? Maybe cause of sports? Either way I’m certainly glad we didn’t hear any of that.

As far as lynchings being entertainment, off topic, but executions were public since forever, right? Like up until the later 19th century. Can you imagine that being your entertainment, and like slavery it really wasn’t that long ago.
 

Poindexter

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State Department official on leave after civil rights group accuses him of being involved in white nationalist movement, source says
A State Department official has been placed on administrative leave after being linked to a white nationalist group in a report by a civil rights organization, a source tells CNN.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff have been briefed by the State Department on the case of Matthew Gebert, a foreign affairs officer in the department's Bureau of Energy Resources, after he was identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch initiative on Wednesday, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN on Friday. One of the sources said the committee was learning about the facts of the situation and why he had been placed on leave.

In an extensive report released Wednesday, Hatewatch alleged that Gebert "oversaw the Washington, D.C.-area chapter of a white nationalist organization, hosted white nationalists at his home and published white nationalist propaganda online." According to the report, Gebert used a pseudonym to express "a desire to build a country for whites only."

"That's all that we need. We need a country founded for white people with a nuclear deterrent. And you watch how the world trembles," Gebert, speaking as "Coach Finstock," reportedly said on a white nationalist podcast in May 2018. Hatewatch claims it has matched Gebert to the pseudonyms he used online.

The report said that in August 2017, on that same podcast, "Coach Finstock" said he was prepared to lose his career for the cause of white nationalism.

Attempts by CNN to reach Gebert were unsuccessful. Hatewatch also said in the report that the group's investigators had been unable to speak to him.

According to three sources in the group's report, Gebert -- again under the name of "Coach Finstock" -- helped lead the local chapter of "The Right Stuff." That organization has been identified as a white nationalist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Gebert joined the State Department in 2013, during President Barack Obama's administration, as a "presidential management fellow," according to an alumni magazine from his alma mater George Washington University. According to the program's website, it "attracts and selects the best candidates possible, but is really designed with a more narrow focus - developing a cadre of potential government leaders."

A State Department spokesperson confirmed that Gebert is an employee, but the department would not confirm whether he had been placed on leave.

"We just are not able to confirm suspensions from this podium," State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Thursday during a department news briefing.

Reached for comment on the report on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul, told CNN, "White supremacy and all forms of bigotry or racism are completely unacceptable and do not belong in our government."

"Lead Republican McCaul would expect the State Department to hold accountable any employee determined to engage in that type of reprehensible behavior," the Texas Republican's spokesperson said.

Rep. Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was "very concerned" about the the Southern Poverty Law Center report.

"It's very dangerous to have anyone with these kind of racist and extreme views in a position of power where they could end up using it, with bias, against anyone in the agency or outside it," Meeks said. "It's important to fight back against hateful rhetoric to make sure we don't have more people in power who use their positions for ill will."

The office of Sen. James Risch, the Idaho Republican who leads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, declined to comment on Wednesday.
 

Clark Kent

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White nazi little dicks have every right to gather and hold meetings and recruiting under the constitution as long as they are not trying to encourage violence or hate speech. Which given those dick bags seems impossible. But under the constitution they are protected.

They make me sick, most of them don’t know who they are hating or why.
 

SickNasty

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I wouldn't be surprised if people who join the nazi party or endorse white supremacist themes are more concerned about pissing off those with whom they disagree on a political level, rather than adhere to the ideology. Worse, I bet those same types of people aren't even well versed in their own political ideals.
 

Miz

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I feel like I’m American through and through. I served and I joined after 9-11. For God, for country, for family is what I’d think running over the hill. I’m a simple man. That’s said I’d be ok with not protecting some speech that’s dangerous. Nazi’s are dangerous. We fought a war with them. They are every thing we should stand against and we should snuff out their air so that their fire can’t flame. Those Westboro Baptist people should be outlawed as well. Protesting at dead soldiers funerals. I can’t explain to you in civilized words what should happen to them. That type of shit flies in the face of the “light.” I’m not ok with that sort of speech and anyone who is should... Protesting at a dead soldiers funeral. Straight pure evil. Be an atheist, be a Christian, be a Muslim, be a Buddhist, or be whatever, but if you don’t know what’s contrary to the light in your heart, then I don’t know what to tell you. Those people don’t deserve to promote their hateful ideology. Fuck them and anyone who’d stand with them.

In your heart you need to naturally know right from wrong. Kneeling during the anthem is an ok protest. Holding signs and chanting at a dead soldiers funeral flies in the face of what’s right. Our hearts should know this.
[DOUBLEPOST=1565613885,1565613622][/DOUBLEPOST]The founders of the constitution would not have allowed that. What would have happened if a bunch of evil people came and protested George Washington’s funeral? They would have been shot, stabbed, or hung and not a soul would have been punished.
 

SickNasty

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The founders of the constitution would not have allowed that. What would have happened if a bunch of evil people came and protested George Washington’s funeral? They would have been shot, stabbed, or hung and not a soul would have been punished.
Most founding fathers owned slaves and they didn't outright set the stage for true equality upon the establishment of the United States.

Like, I'm grateful for the opportunities that I have based upon their actions all those years back...but fuck them for that shit.
 

Miz

mortality, ka, and the Tower
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Most founding fathers owned slaves and they didn't outright set the stage for true equality upon the establishment of the United States.

Like, I'm grateful for the opportunities that I have based upon their actions all those years back...but fuck them for that shit.
Yes. That wasn’t good of them, and it’s hard to believe that was ever ok, but unfortunately those were different times. Hell in my mother and father’s time black people couldnt go to school with white people. That was less than 70 years ago. Fortunately things progress and what was ok is now not ok. I’m not saying George Washington was a saint, but the rules they set forth did not, IMO, enable the Westboro people to protest and funerals, and if it did they are wrong. George Washington was very valuable to the military. I’ve not read in great lengths about the Revolutionary War, like I have WW2, but I do know he was valuable. I’m not nominating him for saint hood. I’m saying if people protested his funeral there would have been repercussions, just like there should be at PFC Johnny Youngblood’s funeral.
 

SickNasty

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There is give and take of freedom.

You're given the freedom to protest the wrongs within the USA.

With that you have to concede that people will protest for/against things that you hold near and dear.

Should people protest at funerals for soldiers because they feel "god" wants them to?
Fuck no.

Is it disgusting?
Fuck yes.

But it's their right.

Same with shit like burning the US flag type shit.

Probably shouldn't do it, but it is your right.

With nazi's its weird because they have a very well documented history of inciting genocide.

Part of me wonders why that history isn't taken into context when people freely fly that flag.

Like, isn't that a call to violence?
 

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