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Sep-20-2006 19:59printcomments

75 KKK Brochures Recovered in South Salem

Residents all over South Salem called the strange brochures in to police.

Kitty litter box art
The official KKK brochure packing material
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(SALEM) - Pro Ku Klux Klan material started showing up in South Salem driveways early Wednesday morning around 1:30 AM. Salem Police Lt. John Hoffmeister says about 75 brochures were recovered by officers.

"It's the usual rhetoric; Christian white pride, strong religious overtones."

Ironically, the envelopes were weighted down with kitty litter, and startling similarities were noted with the materials often found in these surroundings.

It looks like the cat litter was placed in the standard sized business envelopes to allow them to be thrown like newspapers.

Proof again, that even politically active racists, often have a hard time thinking out of the box.

Hoffmeister says the only crime that was committed was littering, as such material is legal under freedom of speech provisions, "There was no hate crime, slander, threats, or any of those types of things that we look for."

Not welcome in Salem

He says the first envelopes were found in the Salem Heights area, then calls started coming in from other South Salem neighborhoods west of Commercial Street and south of Rural.

The brochures contained a reference to a church pastor, though he denies any connection to it according to local media reports.

Though infrequent cases of racial tolerance are noted by local law enforcement, hate crimes are not one of Salem's biggest problems. While these brochures did not entice violence according to Hoffmeister, they still are nothing but a direct form of racism.

As far back as the Civil War, Salem, Oregon was noted as a place that took strong pride in the United States. A group of Confederate sympathizers tried to crash a 4th of July celebration at the height of the conflict in an area that is now known as Riverfront Park. They were chased- along with their rebel flags, all the way back to Dallas according to local Historian Sue Bell.

Actual Confederate battle flag

Another interesting item to note is that what people commonly know to be the Confederate flag is not in fact, the flag of the Confederacy. The "stars and bars" are a battle flag that was used to represent the southern secessionist battle effort.

Actual Confederate flag

There were, in fact, three flags considered as official flags of the Confederacy. The first shown at left, is the most widely recognized and was also flown as a battle flag by different rebel units.

Those are the states that broke away from the United States in order to maintain a lifestyle that involved the ownership of other human beings. The Confederates not only owned black people, but their descendants tried and still do in many cases, to make the lives of African/Americans a living Hell. It is a disgraceful and sad period in our brief history as a country.

If you would like to learn more about Civil War history and the different flags that represented the Confederacy, visit this site:

I don't know about you, but I feel the sudden need to put on a Neil Young CD.

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Robert Redbeard October 15, 2006 8:59 am (Pacific time)

In most places it is not littering. Look up the local law. And look at supreme court rulings on it. Political speech is protected. Littering laws are not allowed to be used against people distributing fliers. To do so is illegal.

Henry Ruark September 21, 2006 7:12 am (Pacific time)

First Amendment rights are not unlimited; see “In The Workplace column (BUSINESS, SJ 9/21). Ironic it runs today !!! Do you really believe “campaign contributions” should be commercial/corporate “right of speech” ? Supremes are being challenged on that very controversial decision, made under duress which is on historical record, opening door for perversion turned to widespread corruption, per recent D.C. press reports. (Supremes blundered on slavery, too, decades ago.) Right-of-privacy covers “littering” et al, especially when for commercial purposes; and demands protection, too. We pay for cleanup, disposal, destruction of our privacy, only by distortion of ads showered on us unmercifully in every channel. There are open channels for political expression (“see with own eyes” right here-and-now !) when responsibly done...which, it doth seem to me, requires ID for any statement, too... IF one does not KNOW from whence cometh communication, it is impossible to evaluate it... makes difference who speaking, as life experience soon teaches anyone, including recruit in Army hearing sgt. and child in kindergarten hearing first-teacher after Mom... IF documentation on First Amendment sought, try ISBN 1-56584-330-4; “May It Please the Court”; 4 90-min. court transcript tape cassettes, 250 pp. book; Peter Irons, UCal., San Diego. Been using this one and others in series for many years...

Curmudgeon September 21, 2006 3:34 am (Pacific time)

Tim I understand your position perfectly. And philosophically, I agree with you 100 percent. Both the KKK and the nazis are evil, mean-spirited people, and have little or nothing useful to say. But as much as I would like to suppress speech I find disagreeable or hateful, I think compromise of our freedoms is even more disagreeable. I suspect we agree on that. I just don't like seeing people like that getting free publicity. But I suppose it sometimes can't be avoided.

Tim King September 21, 2006 3:05 am (Pacific time)

Curmudgeon, That's cool, I think you make a good point. Of course the thing was about a Website, but I didn't get into that and I certainly wouldn't have listed it.
At any rate, we all have our zero tolerance side and I guess this is where mine claws it's way to the outside. It defies me that these people would infiltrate our community, it bugs me that they could cruise up when my kids are out playing. I can't play silent on this kind of stuff, with respect to your opinion.
I'll close with a line I've been believing for a long time; "There aren't two sides to the story when you cover a nazi rally."

Curmudgeon September 21, 2006 2:29 am (Pacific time)

Tim, I think I have to disagree with you on the newsworthiness of this incident. Just last week someone left religious material with which I strongly disagree on my porch. Is that littering? Would the police respond and "recover" or "seize" the material if I or any of my neighbors complained? Every week I find a bundle of advertisements from the Statesman-Journal thrown onto my driveway or porch. What would the police say if I called to complain? How far do you think I would get if I insisted I wanted the S-J charged with littering? Or Domino's, or Primetime Pizza, or a local church when they leave their litter on my porch? This is a free speech issue, not a criminal issue. As much as I detest the KKK and what it stands for, they have as much right to diseminate their trash as anyone else. I think it is a waste of funds and manpower for the police to respond to something like this. And I think it is a mistake when the media gives it coverage. How many visits do you think their website got as a result of the publicity? If the KKK chooses to leave their literature in my driveway I won't complain or call the police. I'll treat it with the same respect I treat everyone else's leavings, and put it in the same trash can, unread.

Henry Ruark September 21, 2006 12:07 am (Pacific time)

Tim: Thanks for the sensible, sensitive comment, which I can assure readers is right on for Mom was Southern belle, and made sure I knew that even the Founders, some of whom were slave-owners, ALL freed slaves and in effect apologized as they "passed on", via legal action in their wills. Ol' Ben F. himself, for example...

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