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A Notch Out of Racial Hatred

September 10, 2000

An Idaho jury's multimillion-dollar civil judgment against the Aryan Nations and its top leaders seems likely to force the liquidation of one of the nation's largest and most violent white supremacist organizations. That is the intent of the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center, whose lawyers brought suit against the Aryan Nations and its leader, Richard Girnt Butler, on behalf of a mother and son who were assaulted by three of the group's armed guards near its compound north of Coeur d'Alene.

Morris Dees, co-founder of the Alabama-based center, says he hopes to seize all of the paramilitary hate group's assets to satisfy a verdict that included $6 million in punitive damages. Among the property likely to be taken over is the group's copyrighted name, which would be retired.

Unfortunately, depriving Aryan Nations of its name and its compound won't eliminate its warped ideology's appeal to social misfits and loonies. Aryan Nations advocates the establishment of a white racist state. Butler, its founder, also presides over the Church of Jesus Christ Christian, whose doctrine holds that Anglo-Saxons are the true "chosen people" spoken of in the Bible, that nonwhites are "mud people," that Jews are "children of Satan." Among those who have been inspired by Butler is Buford Furrow Jr., who is charged with shooting children at a Jewish day-care center in Chatsworth last summer and murdering an Asian American postal carrier.

The Aryan Nations compound has been a gathering place each summer for a variety of armed extremist groups. Courses in urban terrorism and guerrilla warfare have been offered. The good news is that the crackpots will now have to find another place for their festival. The bad news is that they undoubtedly will.

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