The Heart of Whiteness

The South Florida Aryan Alliance, the World Church of the Creator, the Aryan Werwulfes: they're here, they're white, get used to it.

Broward-Palm Beach New Times/September 8, 2001
By Adam Pitluck

On an overcast, oppressively muggy mid-August afternoon at John Prince Park in Lake Worth, the "Racial Holy War" seems far away indeed. As I sit at a picnic table under a pavilion by the bank of a stagnant creek that meanders through the park and empties into Lake Osborne, six Hispanic toddlers play with their parents on the nearby jungle gyms, shouting and laughing in English and Spanish. Under another pavilion, a knot of black men drinks from 22-ounce bottles of malt liquor in soggy paper bags, the Old English twist-off lids thrown on the ground. Across the main road from them is a group of good ol' white boys in soiled cotton T-shirts and dirty blue jeans mirroring the black men's actions, hanging around the backs of two Chevy F-150 pickups, one white, one red, and quaffing 16-ounce cans of Budweiser. Five minutes after 6 p.m., as the last of several Hispanic fishermen reels in his line for the day, the threatening skies finally open up. Three black children, shrieking when the rain catches them by surprise and chills their skin, scurry for the shelter of the splintering wooden pavilion that I occupy. As the drops pelt down, a white BMW sedan that looks about ten years old rolls up. From the two front seats emerge the two soldiers I am here to meet.

The passenger stands about six feet tall with a trim build and short graying hair worn messy. He's covered in fading tattoos, the most exposed ones washed out beyond recognition. A pentagram adorns his left hand between his thumb and index finger, a relic of his time in a satanic cult in South Texas years ago. He wears black jeans with a six-inch shepherd's knife attached to a belt loop. His black vest is unbuttoned and fits snugly over a white T-shirt that depicts a phalanx of hooded Ku Klux Klan members holding a Confederate battle flag. Scrawled across the top are the words, Join the Klan.

His younger buddy, with his blue jeans, striped Polo shirt, and cell phone strapped to his belt, looks more like a businessman on "casual day" at the office -- except for his pitch-black baseball cap with a white-circled cross on it. Around the circle are printed the words, White Pride World Wide. The pair shoot each other a glance after they scout around me to make sure I don't have a cameraman squatting in the bushes or a tape recorder hidden under the table. They also check to make sure that I am there, as promised, alone. They leisurely walk through the rain to the ramada where I sit and warily take their seats atop an adjacent picnic table. They sit about a foot apart, and both turn their heads when, 15 yards away, there's a rustling in the bushes.

They immediately knew who I was because I'm the only white man under the pavilion and because I'm carrying a notebook. They introduce themselves: The younger one is Sean Quinn, a member of the World Church of the Creator, which preaches that the Jews created Christianity 2000 years ago to trick white people into getting along with nonwhites -- thus destroying the white race. While the older man, Doug, sympathizes with the WCOTC -- as well as the Klan, the South Florida Aryan Alliance, and the American Friends of the British National Party -- he is not a member of any organized white-pride group. (The two have known each other only a couple weeks, brought together by that propaganda tool of the new millennium, the Internet.) Doug, who asked that his last name not be revealed, formally calls himself an Aryan Werwulfe, or a Lone Wolf for short.

They regard me with a mixture of curiosity and contempt. Quinn's startling azure eyes, in particular, seem to carry an inherent challenge to a staring contest. Time after time, he wins.

As I'm the one who requested this meeting, I venture a simple question to Doug: What exactly is a Werwulfe?

Doug lights up a Doral. "The Aryan Wolf Brotherhood was started by a lot of like-minded people," he says. "Instead of having a national organization like the Klan, we don't have membership lists or dues to pay. If someone wants to be a Wolf, then all they have to do is e-mail me and be prepared to work with me."

He reports that dozens of Werwulfes live all over Florida, linked together by way of the Internet. (The name comes from Hitler's special SS troops trained to operate behind enemy lines.) And they're not your stereotypical skinheads. Doug boasts that Wolves can be anyone, from struggling workingmen to high-powered business executives. The Wolves don't advocate violence, but at the same time, they stop short of condemning it, so long as it's "for a good reason."

"I've never called a man a nigger and hit him," Doug says. "I'd rather sit there and argue until he throws the first blow, and then I'll defend myself. If someone gets upset with me, that's fine. If they lay a hand on me, then I'll beat them down."

He glances at the multiethnic crowd enjoying the park on this dreary weekday afternoon. Not that he's scared or anything, but he knows that, like his eponymous predecessors, he's behind enemy lines. As far as he and his brethren are concerned, the Racial Holy War (RAHOWA for short) has already begun, and the bad guys -- the Jews, blacks, browns, yellows, and other immigrants -- are winning. And then I tell him that I am Jewish.

Both Doug and Quinn raise their heads and look at each other. I figured that they could easily have found out on their own with a little research, so I decided to be up-front about my religious background. Sean seems uncomfortable about my disposition, offering an exasperated sigh. Doug is a little more lighthearted about my enemy status: "We were joking about that on the way down here," he says, chuckling, "because you're a member of the Kabbalist media."

This paper's allegiance to Adonai aside, I have my own reasons for embarking on this journey into South Florida's white-supremacist culture. For one thing, it's news: While organized white-power groups have been around ever since Reconstruction, the Werwulfe movement is a new twist. Also, white-power vandalism has been stepped up several notches from years past: Some New Times newspaper boxes in West Palm Beach were stuffed with white-supremacist propaganda. (Doug, Quinn, and the South Florida Aryan Alliance deny responsibility.) And lots of people have reported waking up to find several WCOTC leaflets on their front lawns along with the morning newspaper. But all that is on the surface. For some reason I cannot name, I have a morbid fascination with these guys, a deepening desire to come face to face with people whose perfect world has no place for someone like me.

Though they're not thrilled about talking to a Jewish reporter, Doug and Quinn seem to know New Times well enough to trust that we'll at least get their quotes right, even if what they say is shocking.

Like this, for example: "I can't say [Timothy] McVeigh was wrong," Doug says, eyes impassive, head lowered, "but he could have picked a better target." Doug's other role models, those he calls "knights" in the RAHOWA, include Bob Matthew and Buford O'Neal Furrow.

Matthew was the founding father of The Order, a group that rampaged across the American West in 1983 and 1984. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the group had about 25 members who stole more than $4 million in various armored car heists and, most notoriously, shot and killed Denver radio DJ Alan Berg in his driveway. Matthew died in a shootout with the FBI in 1984, and his gang was disbanded, most of them going to prison. Furrow is the man who walked into a Jewish daycare center in Los Angeles in 1999 and opened fire on the children. Tellingly, he had married Matthew's widow at Richard Butler's now-defunct Aryan Nation compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho.

"[Matthew's and Furrow's crimes] show that a lot of white people are waking up and saying, "I've had enough,'" Doug says in his deep, raspy voice. "They did their part to further the Racial Holy War. I don't agree with Furrow shooting at innocent children, because they don't know any better, but this shows that people are ready to strike."

He says that skirmishes like these are inevitably going to manifest in a full-blown battle on city streets. The only thing lacking is a leader to bring it all together. "And we thought we had that in George Lincoln Rockwell."

The Bloomington, Indiana-born founder and spokesman of the American Nazi Party, Rockwell was a rising star in the ultrarightist political scene of the late 1960s. Although Rockwell is long gone, his legacy remains, in the form of Holocaust revisionism. Doug reiterates Rockwell's thesis: While the Jews were persecuted in Nazi Germany, the six million figure is a gross exaggeration -- and the gas chambers were a myth, as were the mass graves. "Lots of people start screaming and hollering when you tell them the Holocaust never happened," Doug says. "They just go ballistic. When they can't answer a question, they resort to hysterics and they call me a racist. I don't consider myself a racist. A racialist, but not a racist."

What does that mean? He says he goes to bed each night and asks himself, "What did I do for my race today?" Doug speaks about how he lost his wife of 12 years because of his beliefs. He fights, as do the rest of his allies, for the 14 Words: We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children. Those 14 words are something I hear over and over again for the next couple of months. Doug ends every conversation and e-mail with another number: 88.

The eighth letter of the alphabet is H. Eight two times signifies HH, shorthand for the Nazi greeting, "Heil Hitler."

"One time I was at a grocery store, and I saw a guy who had some swastika tattoos on his legs and arms," Doug recalls. "That's pretty courageous, to wear them out in public like that. As I was leaving, I said to him, "88,' and he shot me a smile and replied, "14/88.'"

By the end of the interview, Doug seems at ease, firing off witty retorts, smiling at his own jokes. He calls me "brother," and I reciprocate. Quinn's a little more standoffish; I ask to borrow his WCOTC books, and he's reluctant to lend them. "Just give them to him. He'll give 'em back," Doug says. But they seem to agree that they trust me enough to meet with me again. I feel the same way.

As I sit in my car getting ready to leave John Prince Park, I take a quick look over at my interviewees, thinking something along the lines of, That wasn't that bad, when from the bushes emerge two skinheads, who file into Quinn's BMW. As the car pulls out of the lot, I realize that these men had secretly been standing sentry for the entire two-and-a-half-hour interview.

Articulate and affable as these guys may be, I'm not just going to take their word for everything. I realize they're hoping to use me as their propaganda mouthpiece, so I decide to check in with the long-time nemesis of any group with a whiff of Nazism about it. The Anti-Defamation League tracks hate groups throughout the world. Southern Area ADL director Art Teitelbaum keeps a close eye on the various characters in these parts. The ADL already knows much about the World Church of the Creator and is in the process of gathering information on the South Florida Aryan Alliance, whose leafleting has targeted middle- to lower-class white neighborhoods in Broward and Palm Beach counties. But the Aryan Werwulfe Brotherhood and the concept of the Lone Wolf is just now starting to draw the attention of the ADL.

Ever since the Oklahoma City bombing and the increased focus of federal law-enforcement agencies on domestic extremists and paramilitary organizations, some people have responded by engaging in a process they call leaderless resistance, Teitelbaum says. "Their theory being they would be better served in maintaining their secrecy by having smaller organizations, thus being less vulnerable to government surveillance," he adds.

He's never heard the term Werwulfe to describe these conspiracies of one. He doubts that this is a meaningful organization but believes it is instead a ploy to create the perception that there are many wolves out there. The same, he says, holds true with the Aryan Alliance.

While acknowledging that these groups exist, he also theorizes that ol' Doug is trying to play me. "One of the characteristics of these right-wing extremists is their tendency to create and re-create themselves whenever it's convenient, including for the purpose of impressing reporters," he cautions.

Joe Roy, director of intelligence for the Southern Poverty Law Center, says that Florida is in the top three states in terms of the sheer numbers of hate groups, with 39 reported. He adds that his center doesn't list the Aryan Alliance on its official roster of hate groups but says the group has been identified recently. For the year 2000, the number of hate groups was up 12 percent from the previous year, and the figure is projected to rise. "Technology and the economy have a lot to do with that," Roy says. "Now, with the economy starting to get stressed, it's always been a factor. And the white-power music, which is real popular with the younger people, is drawing them in."

The World Church of the Creator, Teitelbaum says, has a sordid history in Broward County. Fueled by militant racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric, the organization has been responsible for or connected to at least one Florida murder, two conspiracies to commit hate crimes on the West Coast, and a secret police action against the African National Congress conducted in the waning years of South African apartheid.

"They have a long record, under the leadership of Matt Hale in Chicago, of being violence-prone and quite capable of committing murder," he says. Yet Sean Quinn, a WCOTC member who is studying for his priest's certificate and rising in the ranks, says Teitelbaum couldn't be more off base. "We are a nonviolent group," Quinn says.

"It's printed on our membership application. When a person applies, they agree in writing to our principles, that being we don't condone violence or unlawful activities, nor do we promote or incite them. The only reason we've been knocked down the way we have been is because of the liberal media, especially the liberal Jew media."

Throughout our subsequent conversations, Quinn reiterates over and over that what his movement and the Lone Wolves and the Aryan Alliance are involved in is no different from what the ADL and the NAACP do -- promote the rights of minority groups.

"White people are becoming a minority," he says. "We would like to see a peaceful process for our people to advance. But they term our movement violent because of our speech. They don't like that we're right. All you have to do is look at the statistics; 76 percent of the U.S. is white, and they commit only 30 percent of the murders. Niggers and Hispanics are 21 percent of the population, and they committed 70 percent of the murders in the U.S. last year. And they say we're a hate group."

When you grow up Jewish, you learn the Holocaust forward and backward. You learn of the 16 million people murdered, 6 million of whom were Jews. You learn about Adolf Eichmann's "Final Solution," and you meet people who actually lived through this atrocity. You learn that these persecuted people weren't criminals, nor were they prisoners. This was a genocide.

When Sean Quinn and Doug tell me about the number 14/88, another number flashes into my head: 27307 -- the number people like them tattooed on my grandmother's forearm at Auschwitz.

Grandma Sally was from Plonsk, Poland. Shortly after the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, she and all the other Jews in Plonsk were imprisoned in the Warsaw ghetto. When the Nazis started liquidating the ghettos in 1941, Grandma, along with her parents, her two brothers, and extended family members, were hustled onto the train bound for Auschwitz.

She was 19 years old. At the gate, under the sign that read Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Makes You Free), Joseph Mengele, the Angel of Death, sent Grandma Sally to the right line -- the work line. The rest of her family was sent to the left -- to be stripped, shaved, and finally corralled into a warehouse-shower to receive a lethal dose of Zyklon B. That was her entire family. Parents, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents. Everyone.

Sally's jobs at Auschwitz ranged from ditch-digging and levee-building to hauling dead bodies from the gas chambers to the giant ovens of the crematoriums. Sometimes a prisoner's only chance of survival hinged on whether he or she had shoes good enough to support laborious work in the harsh Polish winters. One time, in the middle of the night, someone stole her shoes, all but guaranteeing her death, so she improvised: She ripped her prison uniform and wrapped her feet in the shabby, dirty cloth.

An SS guard lambasted her for tearing a Nazi uniform, calling her act sabotage on the German government. She was put in a three-foot-by-five-foot box for four days for her crime. She prayed for death in that steel box, and one hunger-filled day, she had a vision. Her father, who had perished in the gas chambers, came to her wearing his tallith (prayer shawl), crying. He said he was crying because all the family was dead and there was no one left to tell the world what was happening. He told her she must survive and live to tell.

She did survive -- the box, the slave labor, a transfer to the "infirmary" at the Birkenau death camp (an order made by camp commandant Rudolf Hess himself), the death march, and the firebombing of Dresden, which she escaped in a particularly lucky cattle car. When she came to the United States after the war, she met my grandfather, another Polish Jew, who had survived the war by hiding in a righteous Gentile's home.

Once, when I was old enough to ask questions and young enough not to care about being rude, I was sitting with my grandma waiting for the bus outside the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. It was summer, and she was wearing a short-sleeve T-shirt. I stared at the tattoo, 27307, etched into her arm. "What's that on your arm, Grandma?" I asked. "It's my phone number," she replied, the hint of a smile on her face. "But why do you have it written on your arm?"

Grandma closed her eyes and tilted her head back, as if retrieving long-lost and almost forgotten information. Then she straightened, opened her eyes, turned her head and regarded me sternly. The smile faded, and she pursed her lips and grabbed my arm with her bony fingers. Her eyes cut holes into mine as she said to me in her heavily accented English: "So I never forget, Adam."

The traffic is brisk at the intersection of Lantana Road and Military Trail on this Sunday afternoon as Sean Quinn and Doug, with their colleagues and sometime sentries, Mike and Smiley, try to spread a little white pride. Smiley and Mike are dressed like typical twentysomethings: an Abercrombie & Fitch shirt and jeans for the former, a white T-shirt and jeans for the latter. But Doug and Quinn are ready for war and are dressed the part of foot soldiers in a combat battalion.

Doug wears black paramilitary pants, black storm trooper boots, and a black polo shirt with a white fist and the letters FWBW sewn over the heart. (It's a play off FUBU, the successful apparel business started by four black entrepreneurs. "FUBU" stands for "For Us, By Us." "FWBW" stands for "For Whites, By Whites.") Quinn has shaved his head since our last meeting; he too sports the commando pants and boots. His black T-shirt bears the same circled white cross, the "White Pride, World Wide" emblem that graced the hat he wore in the park. As a representative of the World Church of the Creator, Quinn is looking for parishioners. Smiley and Mike are not members yet but hope to join in the near future. Doug is just out to do his Lone Wolf thing. All of them carry armloads of printed materials.

The racism of the literature they distribute today takes many forms -- subtle and otherwise. The Nationalist Times, for instance, which promotes itself as the "Voice of Real America," is rather well written. Some of the commentary is thought-provoking, such as an article describing how the agenda of big business favors liberalism and globalism. Hand-stamped on the front of the newspaper in red ink are the words White Rights Hotline, and a phone number. The number is that of an answering machine in Port St. Lucie, where the Rev. J.D. Alder (see "White Greetings," June 21) leaves a new message every Monday.

Each paper contains some loose fliers. One of them pictures a little girl in an oversize train conductor's hat, sitting on railroad tracks and holding a lantern. Above the little girl's head are the words, "She Needs the Truth. Where will she find it? On Jewish-controlled television, with its racially mixed couples and multicultural propaganda?" Another has a picture of a white baby girl with the scrawl, "Missing: A Future For White Children." These particular leaflets are the product of a group called the National Alliance.

Other reading material passed out today includes some WCOTC information. "Facts that the government and the media don't want you to know" is in and of itself an attention-grabbing read with a racial twist. (Example: "Do you know who really brought the slaves to America? The Jews!")

Then there are the leaflets that Doug and his pals usually don't bring out until late at night, when the Werwulfes go on their stealth missions. One screams "REVOLUTION!" across the top and rails about the white man's struggle for survival. "The time is now to stand up and fight!" it reads.

Another pictures convicted teenage killer Nathaniel Brazill on the front, which you know is going to be bad: "Assuming there is a difference between blacks and niggers, isn't it about time we got rid of the niggers?" In broad daylight, on a busy intersection, these white knights generally leave the N-bomb at home. Even with their less-militant approach, they still look pretty intimidating; the reaction of the motorists is mixed. Some accept the literature, some roll up their windows when approached.

Smiley has the best luck. He's a young guy who charms the ladies into taking a paper. "Come on, you're breaking my heart," he tells one. She then bashfully rolls down her window and accepts The Nationalist Times. She takes it, rolls up her window, reads some, rolls her window back down, and tells him she likes the paper.

Quinn is making some headway on another corner. A red Chevy Blazer gets into the turning lane just to talk to him. The guy is a "racialist" himself and gives the three other men on the various corners a honk and a wave. Quinn replies by striking a Sieg Heil pose in the middle of traffic.

After an hour of recruiting in the blazing sun, the men retreat to the nearby hole-in-the-wall bar -- the kind decorated with bumper stickers that read, "If I'd have known then what I know now, I would have picked my own cotton," and "American by birth, Southern by the Grace of God" -- for some beers and chitchat.

They talk about their successes on the street corners. Smiley tells how he wooed some gals. Sean talks about his sympathizer. Mike, as usual, doesn't say much, and Doug tells how he scoffed at some black drivers. "A couple of spades held their hands out for a leaflet, and I just looked down at them and was like, Yeah, right," he says.

At 11:30 p.m. on a Wednesday night at the Lakeshore Motel in Coconut Creek, five men line the upstairs banister and gaze down at me like turkey vultures contemplating fresh carrion.

Doug and Quinn (neither of whom is here at the moment), were as good as their word: After days of phone messages, e-mail correspondence, and two previous cancellations, I'm finally face to face with members of the South Florida Aryan Alliance, the racialist group that is the most physically visible and perhaps most baffling in all of South Florida.

A photographer and I ascend the staircase to meet them. Their names are Doug (not Werwulfe Doug), Dennis, Bobby, and Charlie; the fifth doesn't give his name or speak at all. They range in age from 19 to 32. All wear black T-shirts and most wear black cargo pants tucked into their black boots with white laces (which symbolize White Power).

I'm taken into a small, standard motel room with two twin beds and nondescript floral wallpaper. Some of the Aryans begin smoking immediately, casting an eerie fog over the room. Others are straightedge and don't even drink coffee.

The first to speak is Doug, a marked behemoth: Tattoos cover his entire body, including his neck, which sports a huge W.P tattoo (White Power). Doug describes how he met Dennis, the founder of the Aryan Alliance, at a tattoo parlor two years ago. Doug is from a white, middle-class area of Cleveland; he moved here to fit pipe. "But all the fucking beaners work for half of what a union worker would make. In fact there aren't any unions for pipe fitters in South Florida." (He's misinformed. In fact, the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Sprinkler Fitters is a sponsor of the Florida Marlins radio broadcasts.)

He asserts that his group, while usually berated in media circles, should actually be a case study of how people could live. "We are a group of guys that are proud of our heritage, and we're proud to be white," he says, his face becoming increasingly animated as he starts talking, his eyes narrowing as his mouth widens, making the W.P on his neck dance. "Whenever you get a large group of blacks together, they act uncivilized. They call each other dog. They use words that are not found in the English dictionary. They just can't get along and function appropriately in modern society."

As Doug speaks the brothers nod in agreement. "I went to a magnet school growing up," the 19-year-old Bobby chimes in softly. "It was completely saturated. I had a lot of problems growing up. These are always beliefs I've had; the Alliance has fed them. I'm a lot stronger now."

Dennis concurs. His goal, he says, is to wake people up. "Blacks are taught to band together. Jews are the same. Even the faggots. There's gay pride, black pride. But no teacher will tell you, "Hey, it's OK for you to be proud of being white.' The biggest misconception is our ignorance. We come from the greatest bloodline of all time, and there's no shame in that."

With the exception of Doug, all of the brothers are locals. They grew up in Broward and Palm Beach counties, and they feel their neighborhoods and communities have declined during their lifetimes. "Broward County is the number one county in the country per capita for AIDS," Charlie states. "I think it's also interesting to note that the government will take care of niggers that are spitting out babies but that there are white people in this country, people that founded this country, who are starving."

I listen as they articulate their plan for remaking America and find that it's easy to get caught up in their populist rhetoric. Being something of a fiscal conservative, I catch myself nodding in agreement to some of their proposals regarding welfare and taxes. I'm feeling relatively comfortable around these guys -- and then Kent shows up.

At 32 years old, Kent is the elder statesman of the group. He brought four friends with him, bringing the number of Aryans in the room to ten. Kent is quick-witted and speaks with a striking vocabulary. "Immigrants should come to this country and work for it, embrace it," Kent says. "But what's happening is that illegal aliens are crossing the borders and holding their hands out to our government. And we're filling their hands full. We can't do that. These immigrants are sponges, and you can't just be a fucking sponge. A sponge can only hold so much water. We're going to wring it out."

Then he turns the tide a little bit. He gives me a hard stare and a very strange look, studying my expression in order to find something -- as if he just sniffed me out for a Jew.

"What kind of paper are you?" he asks. I explain that the photographer and I are with New Times and that I'll give him a chance to say whatever he wants, but by then it's too late.

"We've been fucked over plenty by the Jew media," he snaps. "All it takes is for one line to be changed in what we say." The entire room lets out a resounding "yeah."

Until then I hadn't felt that I was in immediate physical danger around anyone I interviewed for this story. (Well, that sentry thing had kind of creeped me out.) But as they grill me about my intentions, a tiny pang of fear stabs in my gut -- a reasonable fear, I suppose, given that I'm surrounded by Nazis. I keep talking, though, assuring them that I'm not out to fuck them over. When I tell them that the New Times chain was founded by an Irish guy in Phoenix, they begin to calm down. (Anti-Catholicism doesn't seem to be one of their big issues.)

Still, after that brief interrogation, I'm on edge for the rest of the interview. The Aryans begin to stir, and then I start to notice other details about my surroundings. In the corner of the room, the boys have hung two large flags, one of the swastika, the other of the white-circled cross on a black background. Mike, inexplicably, has a gas mask nearby. When they pose for a picture, they all strike the Sieg Heil pose. Charlie has numerous Nazi tattoos, including several swastikas, the Nazi eagle, and some Iron Crosses.

The banter took us into the early morning hours, and one thing became very clear to me. The ADL is wrong to be dismissive of this group. The Aryans have numbers, they have book smarts, and they have sympathizers all over the country. Whereas the different white-pride organizations were at odds in the past, they're consolidating now.

The Aryan Alliance, the WCOTC, the Wolves, the Klan, the American Friends of the British National Party -- all have begun to view one another as brothers in arms. And all are trying to wake white people up and prepare them for the inevitable Racial Holy War. Of course these men insist they're warriors only in a metaphorical sense. "We don't advocate criminal group activity," Doug stresses, "because they would RICO Act every fucking one of us."

The Alliance is clean -- in that none of its members has been convicted of a hate crime, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center -- but that doesn't stop the group from getting harassed by authorities. "Cops have a gang profile that all of us fit into," Doug says, "and that's one thing that any of our heavily tattooed brothers will attest to."

"But in my experience, white cops are usually sympathetic to us," Charlie offers. "Some have said, "Nice tattoo,' and they'll show me their swastika tattoo. Black people never say anything. Deep down inside, they're still scared."

And Charlie has a plan for the Jews: They're going to be run out of town when whites finally band together. Unable to restrain himself, the photographer asks Charlie where the Jews would go.

"Who gives a fuck," Charlie growls. "In the fucking ovens, hopefully." We cap off the interview with talk of the RAHOWA, which every Aryan Alliance member believes will happen during his or her lifetime. "The niggers and Jews are going to start this race war," Charlie says, "but we're going to finish it. We've been preparing all this time. We would love it if one of our brothers could light that fuse and spark it. But for now we'll wait patiently. When the day of reckoning comes, we're going to be ready."

On my drive home, my mind is numb. My hands shake, seemingly of their own accord. I don't feel as if I just escaped certain death or anything dramatic like that, but the realization that these guys exist, and that they'd just as soon throw me in an oven as look at me, raises the hackles on the back of my neck.

And now, as I write this story, I can't help but wonder if I have just given way too much free ink to the same kind of people as those who marked my grandmother for death.

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