To the Editor:

The Aryan Nation is - by their own admission - the epitome of hatred, racism, prejudice, intolerance and xenophobia. They represent the very worst of American sub-cultures and they worship a dead fascist leader and a system that cost countless American soldiers' lives to defeat.

Basically, they represent everything I personally despise.

Having said that, this is America, not Jerusalem or Beijing or Darfur or Capetown where they'd already be in their graves, if the locals bothered to bury them.

So what is it that everyone in Grant County seems to fear? The simple fact that they are a disgusting bunch of misfits isn't grounds for social expulsion (like the Nazis practiced). Not in America. Nor does it matter that I personally disagree with their vile, onerous world-view in every respect.

The reality is that - unless they undertake some illegal activities - the Aryan Nation is a free, albeit despicable, product of a free society. They are no more (or less) revolting than a mob of American-Islamic extremists who might want to construct a mosque on Main Street.

Curiously enough, more Grant County citizens will line up to oppose the Aryan Nation in a week than have shown up to improve their communities in ten years. Forming an adversarial mob to confront these neo-Nazis is nothing but local vigilantism and does nothing but give them the media coverage they so desperately crave.

Thirty years ago, in a healthy and thriving Grant County filled with working loggers, mill laborers, miners, ranchers and farmers, the thought of a group like the Aryan Nation threatening any community here would be laughable. Today however, with a weak business community and a faltering economy, citizens are abnormally frightened of everything from stray dogs to Aryan interlopers.

Radical groups ranging from the Aryan Nation and Black Panthers to Hezbollah and Earth First! - including every other pathetic organization that fills its ranks with feeble-minded, self-serving zealots - have a propensity to self-destruct from the inside. Jonestown comes to mind.

Certainly none of them contribute to the communities they inhabit. But the same rule applies to them as to us all: You can think anything you like, but you can't do everything you think. Indifference is best served cold. Freezing is the most effective way to prevent fruit from appearing on the vine and Grant County has a long history of being positively Arctic to schemes like the Aryan Nation has in mind.

Brian Gardner

John Day

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