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    Neo-Nazis in Rhode Island? SPLC exaggerates again

    Neo-Nazis in Rhode Island? SPLC exaggerates again

    The Southern Poverty Law Center is back in the news because of the shooting at the Family Research Council, a group the SPLC had designated a “hate group” along with the Klan and Neo-Nazis.

    Based on the available evidence, it is clear the shooter was motivated by hatred of FRC’s positions on homosexuality and gay marriage.  It also seems clear that the shooter was caught up in the recent anti-Chick-fil-A hysteria, as he carried Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his backpack along with more ammunition.

    As detailed in my prior post about the shooting, SPLC’s hatewatch gives cover to hate, I previously have taken SPLC to task for exaggerating the supposed presence of the Klan in Rhode Island.

    My own investigation in 2010, along with a subsequent investigation by the police in reaction to the SPLC listing, revealed no active Klan groups despite such a group being listed in SPLC’s annual “hate map” (link is to current) and listing of “hate groups.”  The supposed Rhode Island Klan group was nothing than a listing on a Klan website someplace in the Mid-West.

    SPLC’s hate map at the time listed a total of three hate groups in Rhode Island, but there was no information as to the other two supposed groups, reflecting how SPLC inflates the number of hate groups.  SPLC also counts each supposed state branch of each hate group as a separate group, which again inflates the numbers.  If some neo-Nazi website claims to have branches in all states, that would be 50 hate groups to SPLC.

    This all allows SPLC to run inflammatory reports about the supposed growth of hate groups, like this:

    I decided to look at SPLC’s most recent annual hate group report, covering 2011, to see what was listed for Rhode Island.

    I was pleased to see that SPLC had dropped the claim of a Klan group, but now there is listed a neo-Nazi group, the National Socialist Movement.

    But once again, my suspicions were raised because no city was listed for the group in Rhode Island, unlike the listing for some other states.

    The website of the National Socialist Movement listed a Rhode Island branch, but again no city or information, only a link to a Gmail account.  I assume the listing in the website was the source of SPLC’s information.  If so, that was a very thin basis on which to list the National Socialist Movement as having a real branch in Rhode Island.

    I live in Rhode Island, and I have not heard of any active neo-Nazi groups.  I searched the state’s paper of record, The Providence Journal, and found no references to such groups.  I did Google searches, and still nothing.  Google searches turn up the SPLC’s listing.

    I checked the SPLC website, and the last hate crime listed in Rhode Island was in 2010, when a swastika was painted on a synagogue.  Could that be the group?  No, that was two ignorant youths who painted the swastika backwards, and when caught, were described by the police as very remorseful and not motivated by anti-Semitism.

    As with the prior listing of the Klan, I can’t say that there isn’t some guy or gal someplace in Rhode Island who has a Nazi flag hanging on the wall or who shares the sentiments of the National Socialist Movement.  If there is such a group, they are doing a really good job of keeping it quiet.

    The notion that Rhode Island has a real, active neo-Nazi movement in the state appears to be just another exaggeration by the SPLC.

    These exaggerations, as I have pointed out in my prior posts, cause real damage.  Every minute or resource we spend chasing SPLC’s phantom hate groups is a minute or resource we do not devote to real threats:

    Undoubtedly there are real hate groups out there, but the identity of such groups gets lost in the avalanche of accusations and numbers run up by SPLC.

    Which groups among the 1000 or so “hate groups” listed by SPLC do we really need to worry about? Your guess is as good as mine.

    The problem has become worse since SPLC decided to wade into the political and religious controversy over gay marriage and sexual orientation.

    SPLC now lumps the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage in with the Klan and neo-Nazis.  It must do wonders for SPLC’s hate group numbers and fundraising, but it further tears apart the political fabric of the country.

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    Comments



     
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    theduchessofkitty | August 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Professor,

    Maybe it’s time to call the SPLC for what they have truly become: a modern-day version of Maximilian Robespierre.

    As you may remember from history books, Robespierre once was as clean and white as the wet-driven snow when he became instrumental in the commencement of the French Revolution – then, after watching the guillotine execution of Louis XVI, he became a human shark – he smelled blood and liked it. Since then, all he had to do was to say someone committed “treason” or “Crimes against the Revolution”, whatever they meant, and the poor people in his sight would endure a kangaroo court, a guilty verdict, and death by guillotine. Thus, “The Terror” and “The Great Terror.”

    But in the end, the “Terror” ended falling over the head of Robespierre himself: death by guillotine, for the man who had sent too many innocents to their deaths.

    The SPLC has a “hate watch” list. Let’s call it for what it is: The Robespierre List, or the “Terror List.”

    SPLC’s phantom hate groups is a minute or resource we do not devote to real threats

    Exactly. Whereas they may have served a useful purpose at one time, they are now part of the problem.

    The obfuscation of reality is not limited to this market. It also includes the non-contributory entitlement (i.e. welfare) system, where some people (including immigrants, legal and illegal) receive thousands of dollars in subsidies, while there are citizens who are homeless. Then there is the following climate change induced “funny”:

    Germany: Grid Instability Has Industry Scrambling for Solutions

    They have exploited emotional appeals (and real threats) to a profitable extreme. Unfortunately, their business model offers no consideration for when there is no longer a legitimate threat. Their effort to extrapolate culpability has undermined their purported cause and their own legitimacy. I believe the relevant expression is “jumped the shark”.


     
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    Milhouse | August 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    People keep telling me that the SPLC used to be good guys, doing valuable work, and it’s sad how they’ve degenerated into a joke. But people keep telling me all sorts of things that I later find out not to be true. And we now know that a lot of old lies were never sufficiently exposed because there was no ‘net. So I have no foundation for believing that there was ever a time when the SPLC was not a scam.


     
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    barbara | August 17, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    “it further tears apart the political fabric of the country”

    To those clowns, that’s a feature, not a bug. >:-(

    […] If your membership increases from 4 to 5 than that is an alarming 25% increase in membership. Here is an interesting post in Legal Insurrection about the alarming increase of the number of hate groups in that hotbed of […]


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