A retrospective of Hate Incidents and Groups in the 1900s

The Decade in Review

1992
An Idaho Standoff Ignites the Right

February Notorious former Klansman Louis Beam, writing in his newsletter The Seditionist, calls for "leaderless resistance" — cells of a few men who report to no one — in a bid to protect extremist groups from law enforcement infiltrators. The concept is quickly picked up by the radical right, and will be endorsed at the Estes Park conference held later this year.

In the coming years, a number of small groups will take Beam's advice. "It is the duty of every patriot," Beam writes in his essay, "to make the tyrant's life miserable."

April 18 Capping a local wave of Skinhead attacks on street people, a homeless black man is stabbed to death by three neo-Nazi skins in Birmingham, Ala., just hours after one of them attended a rally hosted by former Klansman Bill Riccio.

At around the same time, three Riccio associates are also arrested, two on weapons charges and a third for alleged sodomy of a teenager.

In August, Riccio, who as "national director" of the Birmingham-based Aryan National Front (ANF) heads up a coalition of Skinhead groups, is arrested on firearms and explosives charges and ultimately pleads guilty to violating a federal bodyguard statute.

Riccio, already a three-time felon convicted of various weapons charges, will be sentenced to almost four years, effectively wrecking the ANF.

June After leading the radical right's foray into free cable access television — an effort that began in 1984 — White Aryan Resistance (WAR) leader Tom Metzger's propaganda efforts reach a peak. His white supremacist "Race and Reason" cable show is now airing in 62 cities in 21 states, a number that will soon drop off as the Internet grows more important.

July Worried that his Church of the Creator (COTC) is about to be sued over the 1991 murder of a black sailor in Florida, a beleaguered Ben Klassen sells most of his Otto, N.C., COTC compound to William Pierce of the neo-Nazi National Alliance for $100,000. Pierce quickly resells the land, turning an $85,000 profit.

Ultimately, the Southern Poverty Law Center will win a $1 million default judgment from COTC in the murder and an $85,000 judgment against Pierce because he engaged in a scheme to hide COTC's assets.

Aug. 31 White supremacist Randy Weaver surrenders to law enforcement officers outside his cabin atop Ruby Ridge, Idaho, ending an 11-day standoff that resulted in the deaths of a federal marshal and Weaver's wife and 14-year-old son.

During the standoff, which stems from Weaver's failure to appear on illegal weapons charges, crowds of neo-Nazi Skinheads and other white supremacists had gathered at the foot of the mountain to denounce law enforcement officials.

After federal agents' killing of Weaver's wife and son become known, the incident galvanizes the radical right, which characterizes the incident as typical of what happens to anyone who dares to deviate from political orthodoxy.

In the late 1990s, Weaver will settle a wrongful death suit against the federal government for $3.1 million.

Oct. 23 Pete Peters, a leading pastor of the anti-Semitic Christian Identity religion, convenes a gathering of 160 white "Christian men" to plan a response to the Ruby Ridge incident.

The Estes Park, Colo., meeting is attended by neo-Nazis, Klansmen and more "moderate" rightists such as Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, and will shape the contours of the modern militia movement.

In a key speech, Louis Beam describes the Weavers as victims of "the tender mercies of a government gone mad," and calls upon his listeners to put aside doctrinal and even racial differences. Indeed, the militias that will emerge in the coming years de-emphasize racism in favor of anti-federalism.

November Anti-gay initiatives appear on two statewide ballots, failing in Oregon but passing in Colorado. Gay rights organizations in those states and others, where local communities are voting on similar measures, report a steep increase in homophobic hate crime during the run-up to the votes.

Of the 29 states that by this year have passed hate crime laws, 18 include language about bias based on sexual orientation.

Dec. 30 In a case that brings wide attention to the fact that hate crimes are perpetrated by all races, a white Charleston, S.C., woman is abducted, raped, tortured and killed by a group of six black men.

A document is later found advocating attacks on whites, and two suspects reportedly tell police the murder is a payback for "400 years of oppression."

More than 200 black churches respond with memorial services for Melissa McLauchlin, 25.