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Kansas City Shooting Indicative of Hate Crime Trend


At the beginning of April, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)’s 2013 audit was released, noting a massive decline in US anti-Semitic attacks. This would have been great news for the Jewish community if not for April 13, when a man known for his anti-Semitic past opened fire in Jewish community center and retirement complex parking lots, killing three.

The Kansas City tragedy are indicative of a larger trend in anti-Semitic hate crimes; according to the investigative director of the ADL, Mark Pitcavage, “Because of their ability to strike fear in the entire Jewish community and the country, their impact is disproportionate to their occurrence.” According to an ADL study, there is a broader trend of Semitic tolerance, but the outbursts of hate that do occur are typically more violent, as is the case in Kansas City.

The charges facing the shooter, Frazier Glenn Miller, consist of one count of capital murder for the deaths of 14-year old Reat Griffin Underwood, a High School freshman, and his grandfather Dr. William Lewis Corporon who practiced family medicine; and one count of pre-meditated murder of the first degree for Terri Lamanno, an occupational therapist. Miller’s next trial date is set for April 24.

Miller has been openly involved in white supremacy for decades. He served prison time in the 80’s for possession of weapons and plotting to kill the founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Morris Dees. Also in the 1980s, he founded the Carolina Knights of the Klu Klux Klan, which the Southern Poverty Law Center sued for “harassing and pointing guns at black people, and also white people who were friends with black people.” He later changed the name of the Carolina Knights to The White Patriot Party.

He then ran for the Missouri senate in 2010, telling Howard Stern that modern politicians are “a bunch of whores for Israel.” And two years later, he made a statement to Talking Points Memo saying “Jews call the shots. But white people, we have no power at all.”

Even out of the public eye, he had heavy involvement in white supremacist groups; he belonged to the Vanguard News Network, whose site tagline is “No Jews. Just Right.” Slate reports that he posted over 12,000 times to this forum and even donated money to the website.

Miller will be charged with hate-crimes. Incidentally, the three people that Miller shot in the Kansas City parking lots were all white and of the Christian denomination. Regardless, the location of the shooting paired with Miller’s shouting of “Heil Hitler” to the cameras during his arrest have been considered enough to at least being the charges against him. This is because part of the legal definition of hate crime is that the criminal perceives their victims as part of the group they are prejudiced against, whether the victim actually is or not.

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