Sound­ing the alarm

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT - John Mc­caslin The writer is editor of the Rap­pa­han­nock News

There was con­sid­er­able reader re­sponse from all sides — the Ku Klux Klan in­cluded — to this news­pa­per’s re­cent cov­er­age sur­round­ing hate-filled KKK re­cruit­ment fliers dropped on doorsteps from Sper­ryville to Flint Hill.

One county res­i­dent wrote, al­beit not for pub­li­ca­tion: “It is in the left’s in­ter­est to pro­mote white supremacy in­ces­santly. Why waste your time here other than to ex­cite Rapp’s lib­er­als?”

An­other writer, in a pub­lished letter to the editor, ar­gued that the KKK re­lies on me­dia-gen­er­ated pub­lic­ity, and there­fore this news­pa­per should have ig­nored the leaflet drops and not played into their racist hands.

“But this was in­deed news,” an­other reader re­sponded. “When was the last time some­one lit­tered miles of our county's high­ways and the county seat with anti-Semitic leaflets? The very na­ture of this ac­tion was ‘news­wor­thy’ and some­thing that the whole com­mu­nity should be aware of . . . [and] it is im­por­tant to know that they are op­er­at­ing in the neigh­bor­hood, if for no other rea­son than to let them know that we can lit­er­ally get along just fine with­out them.”

That writer, for­mer U.S. con­gress­man Ben Jones, con­cluded: “The KKK ap­peals to the very worst in peo­ple. Their dark ‘truth’ can­not stand up to the light of ex­po­sure. I might be wrong on this, but I be­lieve that shin­ing more light on this kind of big­otry is our best weapon against it. In the words of FDR, ‘we have noth­ing to fear but fear it­self.’”

A sim­i­lar apho­rism, by states­man and philoso­pher Ed­mund Burke, was posted on Face­book a few days be­fore Christ­mas by my cousin, Buckley Kuh­nFricker: “The only thing nec­es­sary for the tri­umph of evil is for good men to do noth­ing.”

She and her hus­band Scott did some­thing, and hours later they were mur­dered in their pa­ja­mas by their 16-year-old daugh­ter’s KKK-in­fested boyfriend.

A skilled lawyer and lov­ing mother, Buckley had re­cently dis­cov­ered the boyfriend’s dis­turb­ing white supremacy ram­blings — writ­ings and in­ternet post­ings deroga­tory of Jews and other mi­nori­ties and call­ing for a white rev­o­lu­tion — and she and Scott quickly in­ter­vened with their young daugh­ter to end the re­la­tion­ship.

Buckley didn’t stop there. She spent what would be her fi­nal hours of life sound­ing the alarm through­out their Re­ston com­mu­nity and be­yond (sadly, it now seems, those clos­est to the 17-year “out­spo­ken neo-Nazi” had ig­nored the many warn­ing signs he put out there for all to see).

Here in Rap­pa­han­nock it was Kit Gold­farb who sounded the alarm on the heels of the KKK’s speedy yet strate­gic “drive-by,” or­ga­niz­ing a spon­ta­neous gath­er­ing of con­cerned cit­i­zens in the county seat.

“We want to show that our com­mu­nity sup­ports all of our res­i­dents . . . and that the com­mu­nity is com­ing to­gether on that,” she ex­plained to an un­ex­pect­edly large crowd, which in­cluded nu­mer­ous lo­cal mem­bers of the clergy. “And we also want to make sure that peo­ple feel safe here. So that peo­ple know that their friends are be­hind them, that the county is be­hind them.”

Gold­farb, who is Jewish, then helped dis­trib­ute dozens of “Hate Has No Home Here” signs, al­low­ing neigh­bors to de­clare their homes, busi­nesses, schools and places of wor­ship as safe havens, where ev­ery­body is wel­come and val­ued. These same signs are now promi­nently dis­played through­out Rap­pa­han­nock County, es­pe­cially in the vil­lages like Sper­ryville.

And one, fit­tingly, is now in front of Buckley’s home, de­liv­er­ing a mes­sage that she no longer can.

Buckley Kuhn-Fricker and her hus­band Scott.

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