Ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - OPINIONS -

On Oct. 31, 2017, a pickup truck drove through a bike path in New York City near the World Trade Cen­ter, killing eight peo­ple. The fol­low­ing day, The Times-Dis­patch penned an editorial ti­tled, “The grim truth about the New York ter­ror­ist at­tack.”

“The at­tack bears the hall­marks of ISIS-in­spired ter­ror­ism,” the ed­i­tors wrote. “The per­pe­tra­tor comes from Uzbek­istan, whose ci­ti­zens have car­ried out sev­eral ter­ror­ist at­tacks around the globe this year. Is there any way to stop such car­nage? The grim truth: prob­a­bly not.”

Af­ter this week­end, there is some­thing we can do to ad­dress ter­ror. We can rec­og­nize it in our own back­yard. The grim truth about Vir­ginia is we’ve let bad ac­tors slide for decades on our own soil. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion — pe­riod.

When 36-year-old Harry H. Rogers drove his truck through a group of pro­test­ers in Lake­side on Sun­day, what was his goal? RTD re­ports say videos show he ran over the foot of a man rid­ing his bike. An­other woman jumped on the hood of the truck to avoid be­ing hit. Rogers im­peded the First Amend­ment rights of around 300 peo­ple march­ing to the A.P. Hill Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ment at Labur­num Av­enue and Her­mitage Road in Rich­mond.

What if some­one was killed? Would we have had a re­peat of Char­lottesvill­e? Would the head­lines have said “ter­ror at­tack”?

“The only pur­pose for his con­duct was to dis­rupt this peace­ful protest,” Hen­rico County Com­mon­wealth’s At­tor­ney Shan­non Tay­lor said. “To be a threat and to be in­tim­i­dat­ing.”

Ac­cord­ing to The Times-Dis­patch, Rogers told po­lice he is “the high­est-rank­ing mem­ber of the KKK in Vir­ginia” and the leader of a group of 20 plan­ning to “de­fend” the mon­u­ments in the city. Mem­o­ra­bilia and lit­er­a­ture were found in Rogers’ home, along with many firearms and a “green grand dragon robe.” Wit­nesses said Rogers ex­ited his ve­hi­cle on Sun­day with a weapon in a hol­ster.

We’ve re­pu­di­ated the acts of ter­ror groups from over­seas, and we’ll do the same in the com­mon­wealth. We sup­port the ef­forts of the hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple who re­cently signed pe­ti­tions to move the KKK’s des­ig­na­tion from “do­mes­tic ex­trem­ist group” to “ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion.” It’s long over­due.

Driv­ing a truck through a crowd of pro­test­ers is an act of ter­ror, no mat­ter who does it, or where the per­son comes from. The KKK has threat­ened the se­cu­rity of our com­mu­ni­ties for decades. Its vi­o­lence — and ide­ol­ogy — does not be­long in Vir­ginia.

— Chris Gen­til­viso

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.