Saturday, December 07, 2013

NAACP & KKK Sit Down in Wyoming - Gangster Scarecrows in Detroit

James Simmons & John Abarr meet in Casper
This morning NPR's weekly news quiz show 'Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!' had a couple interesting stories I wanted to share; for those of you who were fortunate enough to NOT be at work on a slow December Saturday listening to public radio online.

About three months ago over the weekend of August 31st a historic meeting took place in a hotel in Casper, Wyoming between James Simmons, president of the local Casper chapter of the NAACP and John Abarr, an organizer for the Ku Klux Klan who was the campaign manager in 1989 for William Daniel Johnson; a white separatist who unsuccessfully ran for Dick Cheney's old House seat.

According to an article in USA Today Simmons requested the meeting in response to multiple reports of KKK literature having been handed out to residences in the Gillette, Wyoming area and of several incidences of black men seen in public with white women being physically attacked and beaten. Abarr claimed the Klan had no involvement with either the beatings or the literature. In a gesture of good will however he did pay for an NAACP membership and donated $20 as well.

The SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) has reported a significant spike in hate group membership around the nation in the wake of the 2008 election of President Obama; and specific incidents of KKK literature being handed out in Reading, PA and Danville, VA in August, 2013 as well around the same time of the reports of Klan literature (if you can call it 'literature') being handed out in Gillette, Wyoming. Kudos to James Simmons for initiating this unprecedented meeting in Wyoming to try and do something about it.

On a somewhat more humorous-but-sad note, a black Detroit homeowner frustrated by repeated break-ins and rising home insurance costs because of the abandoned homes surrounding his property, came up with an ingenious way to deter potential burglars.

In addition to installing a range of security measures on his doors and windows and getting two dogs, he also bought a couple of CPR training mannequins, dressed them up as gangsters and set them by the door on his front porch. And it apparently worked, the owner claims the presence of the two scarecrows has discouraged potential burglars from stopping by. Give this a watch.

Boy these are some rough times for the Motor City. Homeowners forced to fend for themselves because of huge cuts in city services, a diminished tax base, high unemployment, an unreliable public transportation system, vast stretches of unoccupied homes - to say nothing of the declaration of bankruptcy that was recently approved by the courts leaving pensioners who worked for the city facing a bleak future. 

And now Gangster Scarecrows? 

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