September 15, 1963: Ku Klux Klan bombing kills four African-American girls during church services

With white supremacy dominating the headlines in the US of late it is important to remember it has been around a long time.

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA — As we approach the middle of September 2020 the headlines in most US papers and news Websites are rife with stories about the rise and threat from what is loosely termed right-wing extremism (RWE). Not a day goes by without some form of analysis – some good, some not so – on why the government and its security and law enforcement agencies should be taking more action to monitor and, if necessary, interdict, those seeking to use violence in the furtherance of RWE objectives.

Me, I am not so convinced that the majority of those who ascribe to some part of the RWE ideological universe actually do pose a significant threat to public safety. Sure, some do, but as I have noted ad nauseum for years now, the vast majority of those who make a lot of noise are in fact nowhere near putting that noise into action. The bottom line is that most of these individuals are hopeless wankers (that is the technical term I use).

I do not want to dismiss the very real threat that a small number do pose. As the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently wrote, ‘white supremacists’ currently present the single greatest ‘domestic terrorist‘ challenge (I don’t like that term’domestic terrorist’ and feel it is inaccurate: hmm, maybe I’ll weigh in on this with a podcast soon!).

There is an important point that is being overlooked here though. RWE has ALWAYS been more significant than any other form of terrorism in the US (yes, bigger than Islamist terrorism, by far, if you exclude 9/11). Today’s featured attack is a good case in point.

Terrorists, or wankers? Probably the latter. Seriously, tiki torches??

On this day in 1963

On this day in 1963 members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), those morons in white hoods, exploded a bomb at the 16th Street Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama, killed four African-American girls during church services and injured at least another 14.

If these cruel and tragic events can only awaken that city and state – if they can only awaken this entire nation to a realization of the folly of racial injustice and hatred and violence, then it is not too late for all concerned to unite in steps toward peaceful progress before more lives are lost.

US President John F. Kennedy

Two years later a few suspects emerged but as witnesses were reluctant to talk and physical evidence was lacking charges are not filed. Three ‘ex’ KKK members (what does it even mean to be an ‘ex’ KKK?) were eventually found guilty and sentenced: all died in prison.

The KKK may not be the predominant RWE group in the US these days as the field is crowded with bunches of violent extremists, some with ridiculous names such as the ‘Boogaloo Bois’. But the KKK did set the ‘standard’ decades ago when it comes to this form of terrorism.

Phil Gurski

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