Our View: Decades of battling the Aryan Nations have produced invaluable know-how.
The Spokesman-Review, Aug. 4, 2002 (Editorial)
For the editorial board
Bill Wassmuth, former chairman of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, regrets he didn’t sue the Aryan Nations in 1986 when supremacists bombed his home.
Maybe if he had, the dying human-rights leader has confided to friends, the racist organization wouldn’t have survived another 15 years to inspire and propagate hatred and to besmirch North Idaho’s reputation.
As they say, hindsight is 20-20.
On the other hand, local human-rights leaders didn’t have a playbook to consult in the 1980s when bold racists began harassing the county’s few minority group members. The human-rights leaders organized. They supported victims. They helped pass laws. They made mistakes. In the process they became experts on how communities should react when racists come calling.
Now, they’re exporting that knowledge.
Last week, Tony Stewart, Norm Gissel and Marshall Mend, veteran members of the venerable task force, were invited by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to share their war stories and advice in Pittsburgh and elsewhere.
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