Page 5 of 9
In Christian Bonds,
KC Unit Leader — Adrian Trentadue
There was a phone number at the bottom of the letter with a 913 area code. I called that night.
"This is Bobby from the KKK," I said. "I just got your letter."
"Hey, good to hear from you! Give me one second. I'm just taking care of my kids." I heard some fumbling in the background and Trentadue's voice, firm but not exasperated. Then he was back. "So how'd you find me, anyway?"
I explained that I'd seen his flier in the Pitch.
"The whole paper's run by gays," he said.
"Yeah, I love screwing with them," he said. "Hey, I got to run. I've got my kids here, and my wife works third shift. Is this a number I can call you at?"
I told him it was.
"All right, man. Maybe we can get together sometime," he said. I was surprised by how friendly he was, considering that he hadn't asked anything about me.
"I think I can tell you a lot of stuff that's going to surprise you," he said. "It was good talking to you. I'll call you soon. White power!"
I was at a loss about what to say in response. I thought about my lunch with Turk at Chili's. I wondered what the hostess thought when I kept asking to be moved away from the minorities. Before I'd even met my first Klan member, I'd begun noticing race more than I ever had. Would I get used to reciting Klan slogans in an effort to convince them that I was one of them? I wanted to keep some things taboo, at least in my own mind. But I needed to say something back.
Finally, I blurted, "Yeah, high towers!" Another month of phone calls passed: small talk with Trentadue and muttered noncommittal statements whenever he talked about the Hispanics overrunning Kansas. Eventually, he agreed to meet me at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Olathe.
He met me at the door. He wore a black shirt that had a picture of a man smoking a pipe. Later, he said it was George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party and a personal hero of his.
We sat at a table not far from the bar. A young white couple sat to our left, and a white family with a baby ate behind me. Our waitress was black, and whenever she returned with a fresh beer, I wondered how much of our conversation she could hear. If I were her, I would've spit in our drinks.
Trentadue explained that he had a wife and two children, both boys under the age of 10. He worked for his younger brother, who owns a landscaping business. He said he had always been a racist. It was his brother who pointed him toward the Knights. Trentadue wasn't very computer savvy and rarely used the Internet. His brother researched hate groups for him online and recommended the Knights as the best fit. Trentadue later joined the National Socialist Movement and was now serving as the head of the Kansas City chapter. There were only three other guys, though, as near as I could tell.
"The great thing you get out of the Klan is the books," he told me. "When I was younger — and I was an open racialist then, too — people would argue with me. And sometimes you don't know what to say. The books will help you understand why you're feeling that way and why you're right. So then I had some arguments."