The reputation of Indiana's National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan goes from bad to worse.
The National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Indiana-based group that intends to save the white race, just can't seem to get any respect.
It was bad enough last spring when counter-demonstrators rained bottles and other debris on the heads of the unfortunate Knights, who could not remember where they had parked their cars as they tried to exit a rally under heavy police protection in South Bend, Ind.
It didn't help when two Texas sheriff's deputies who had joined were fired for trying to recruit a fellow officer on June 19 — also known as Juneteenth, anniversary of the day when Texas slaves learned they were free and a major black celebration in that state.
Now the National Knights, who have long suffered a kind of "Keystone Kops" reputation on the white supremacist scene, have gone several steps beyond provoking the usual mockery from their usual detractors.
They've actually managed to enrage their friends.
International Imperial Wizard Railton Loy and his son, Indiana Grand Dragon Richard Loy, hosted what was widely billed as a "Christmas unity rally" on Dec. 8 at the younger Loy's Osceola, Ind., farm.
They hoped to bring together various factions of the contentious world of professional racists, and indeed, they drew members of two far larger groups — the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations, which sent propaganda chief August Kreis.
Close to 50 people gathered for the Saturday afternoon dinner and cross burning.
As hungry racists filed into the shed where food was being served, it quickly became apparent that the Loys had forgotten a critical fact: Large numbers of Klansmen are followers of Christian Identity, a theology that holds that Jews are biologically Satanic and whites are the true Israelites — meaning that according to their reading of the Bible, whites can't eat pork.
When they strolled into the shed and were confronted by a dead pig that by all accounts was barely cooked, several Klansmen and Aryan Nations members reacted with horror.
As amazed Klansmen circulated and clucked about the culinary faux pas — and while a red-suited "Klanta Klaus" worked the crowd nearby — some got to wondering why Rick Loy had a badly swollen lip and two missing front teeth. Soon enough, the story came out, provoking a fresh round of mirth.
After being presented with a riot shield that was alleged to be bulletproof, Loy had apparently decided to put the matter to a test, firing a round into the shield at close range.
Unsurprisingly, the bullet ricocheted off the shield — which stood up to the tryout admirably — and hit Loy in mouth. Several Klansmen noted privately that the elder Loy should be glad his son wasn't told the shield was bombproof.
That wasn't the only thing bothering Rick Loy, who had allegedly threatened a neighbor during a celebration of the birthday of Adolf Hitler last April. Not long before the December rally, prosecutors charged him with felony intimidation.
Although it hardly seems possible, things got still worse.
As the climactic moment of the afternoon arrived, Klansmen struggled to set up a giant swastika to burn. It collapsed on the ground. Finally, the Nazi symbol was burned where it lay.
Then it was time for the cross. It quickly became apparent that it wasn't going to be possible to get the cross upright for burning – at least not the way it had been constructed.
In the end, someone had the bright idea of sawing about 12 feet off the wooden cross' bottom, after which it, too, was finally lit.
Thankfully, the rally then came to an end and its embarrassed participants headed for home.