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So you must have them all thinking that there's all these racialists running around Olathe," I said. "They see fliers from all these different groups, and they probably assume that the different groups are putting out each flier. But really, it's just you."
"Well, I have a few other guys that have helped me out once in a while."
Then he paused, and it occurred to me that he had never considered who people think is behind his work.
He laughed. "Yeah, it really is just me." Fliers for white-supremacy groups have been appearing around Olathe for almost five years. They appear erratically, though Martin Luther King Jr. Day seems to bring them out reliably. They lecture on topics from the near-genocide of the Aryan woman to the communist agenda of Rosa Parks.
Based on the fliers, it's easy to assume that there's a secret society of organized racist groups on the Kansas side of the metro. The photocopies promote three hate groups, mostly the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan but sometimes the lesser-known National Socialist Movement.
According to Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, the National Socialist Movement is the largest neo-Nazi group operating in the country, with 81 chapters, including a group in Kansas City, Kansas. The local National Socialist Movement chapter made headlines in May 2005 when it held a meeting at the Berliner Bear, a German restaurant in Waldo that has since closed. The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan regained most of its notoriety back in the late 1980s and early 1990s when founding member David Duke ran twice for president. Today, they're in paltry eighth place, out of 34 Klan organizations, with six chapters, none of which are in Kansas or Missouri. They're headed by an Arkansas preacher named Thomas Robb, who believes that Eve was impregnated by the serpent and gave birth to "the Jewish race."
For years, the fliers have troubled everyone at the Pitch. The paper has fielded calls from people who assume wrongly that the Klan has paid the Pitch to print the inserts.
So in January, I assumed an alias — Bobby Rudd — and signed up for the Klan. I sent the required $30 on March 8 to the address listed on a flier stuffed in a copy of the Pitch in January. My membership card, newsletter and orientation DVD arrived later that month.
I played the DVD, expecting to see burning crosses and maybe some hellfire and brimstone about mixed races from a white-robed preacher with a Southern accent. Instead, it was a four-hour home movie about the group's Arkansas headquarters and campgrounds. Robb came on occasionally to say that he hoped I would join the Klan for the right reason: to form a viable Christian political party dedicated to helping the poor, downtrodden white man. Robb cautioned that the group does not condone violence. He also gave a series of tips about KKK affiliation, including a warning to keep it from friends and co-workers unless they could absolutely be trusted.
My membership in the Knights Party allowed me to access its Web site, including the member chat room. In April, I signed up with the screen name "baldeaglejesus." I hoped to find a contact in the vast white-supremacist movement implied by the fliers.
I began exchanging e-mails with another local member, called Turk. I never got his last name, but when I told him in my first e-mail that I was new to the metro, he sent me a guide to Kansas City.