A retrospective of Hate Incidents and Groups in the 1900s

The Decade in Review

1999
Shooting Their Way into the New Millennium

February Planned Parenthood and several physicians win a $107 million judgment in a civil suit against 14 of the nation's hardest-line anti-abortion activists and groups. A key allegation in the suit was that a Web site listing personal information about 225 doctors and others constituted a direct threat.

The so-called Christian Gallery site did not specifically advocate killing doctors, but was linked to others advocating "justifiable homicide."

Feb. 19 Billy Jack Gaither, a gay man, is beaten to death in Alabama and his body burned atop a pyre of rubber tires by two acquaintances.

An earlier study by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that gay men and lesbians are far more likely to suffer violent, bias-motivated attacks than any other group, a conclusion backed by other studies.

Eventually, two men are sentenced to life in prison in the Gaither slaying.

March 23 Gary "Gerhard" Lauck leaves Germany after serving four years in prison there for breaking German laws against Nazi propagandizing. For years, Lauck was a key distributor and smuggler of such materials into Germany and 29 other countries.

Lauck returns to Lincoln, Neb., but will be charged in November with lying on a gun permit application by claiming he has not been convicted of a crime punishable by a year in prison.

April 26 William Pierce, America's leading neo-Nazi and head of the National Alliance, incorporates Resistance Records LLC with right-wing Republican operative Todd Blodgett, who brokered Pierce's acquisition of the racist music label.

Within months, after spending nearly $250,000, Pierce has complete control of Resistance and puts out his first edition of Resistance magazine. Pierce also acquires Nordland, a Swedish racist label.

In a December radio broadcast, he will exult: "The young people who listen to resistance music will be the vanguard of our army of liberation. Woe to those who try to stand in their way!"

June 18 Three synagogues in the Sacramento, Calif., area are set afire, badly damaging one of them. Two brothers — Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams — are expected to be charged in the crimes, along with the attempted torching of a building housing an abortion clinic, early in the year 2000.

Two weeks after the arsons, the bullet-riddled bodies of two gay men, Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder, will be found in their home near Redding, Calif. Within days, the Matthews brothers are arrested trying to use Matson's credit cards. Matthew Williams, who uses his middle name, will tell newspaper reporters that he — but not his brother — carried out the murders.

Matthew Williams is linked to the anti-Semitic Christian Identity religion by letters and other documents. "The Bible," he writes, "is a code which reveals itself to me as Yahweh sees fit."

July 2 On the day after neo-Nazi World Church of the Creator leader Matt Hale loses an appeal of the denial of his law license, longtime Hale confederate Benjamin Smith goes on a shooting rampage in Illinois and Indiana, killing two people and wounding nine others. Smith commits suicide when police close in on him on the third day of his spree.

Although Hale claims only a distant relationship with Smith, it turns out that earlier in 1999 Hale had honored Smith with his top award — "Creator of the Year." Hale also boasts of up to 30,000 followers, but the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that it has documentary evidence showing that the group, despite immense publicity, has fewer than 150 members.

Aug. 7 U.S. marshals, acting on a judge's orders, seize the Tampa, Fla., headquarters of Greater Ministries International Church to prevent destruction of evidence.

The seizure comes five months after a federal grand jury indicted seven officials of the antigovernment church on charges of money laundering and fraud, saying the church — which had promised to double the money of donors within 17 months — was actually a huge pyramid scam.

The alleged $400 million-plus rip-off exemplifies the burgeoning number of "Patriot-for-profit" scams that prey upon antigovernment fervor to separate victims from their money.

Aug. 10 Former neo-Nazi Aryan Nations official Buford Furrow Jr. storms into a Jewish community center near Los Angeles and allegedly wounds three children, one of them critically, and two adults. Hours later, he allegedly murders a Filipino-American postal worker he happens upon.

After surrendering to the FBI, Furrow reportedly tells agents, "I'm the one who killed the kids."

Furrow, who had been discharged from a psychiatric hospital earlier in the year, is charged with a series of crimes that could bring him the death penalty.

Sept. 22 The second bomb in a month goes off in a men's room at historically black Florida A&M University, and is followed by a call to a TV station from someone saying, "We need to get rid of some of them niggers." Lawrence Michael Lombardi, described by a former boss as "a survivalist type," will be arrested and charged within weeks.

Dec. 4 Two militia members are arrested in Sacramento after allegedly planning to blow up two huge propane tanks — containing 24 million gallons of gas — in a bid to kick off a race war at the turn of the millennium.

One of the two San Joaquin County Militia members, Kevin Ray Patterson, had reportedly participated in what officials suspect was an aborted 1998 attempt to break members of the Montana Freemen out of a Billings jail.

Dec. 8 Don Beauregard, former leader of the Southeastern States Alliance militia umbrella group, is arrested in Florida for allegedly plotting to rob armories of explosives in order to blow up power lines and other facilities. Officials say that during their two-year probe, an informant heard Beauregard discuss blowing up a nuclear power plant.

Dec. 31 Despite the threats of some radicals to start a race war with the millennial date change — and the fears of many more that the "New World Order" will impose martial law at the stroke of midnight — nothing of the kind occurs.

But, in a development reflecting a consolidation of many of the nation's most radical groups, the neo-Nazi National Alliance reports that it has grown some 50%, which translates to some 1,500 members.