Perhaps news of the “big” Aryan Nations rally getting under way in Cave Creek struck you as it did us:
What cosmic time machine transported us back to the 1980s?
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Didn’t the sort of goose-stepping, tattoo-emblazoned idiocy of groups like the Aryan Nations degenerate years ago from a twisted caricature of race relations into one drawn of stick figures? With crayons?
Didn’t these guys long ago quit giving toothless ignorance a bad name?
You mean to say they’re still around?
The organization that reflects unkindly on shaven-headed people with multiple tattoos will hold a rally at the Cave Creek Recreation Area today through Sunday.
And they’ll be back in January for a music festival, we’re told.
The events come on the heels of a big birthday bash held at the same location last month celebrating the 65th birthday of Sonny Barger, legendary founder of the Hells Angels.
So what else is in store for boulder country? A Texas Chain Saw Massacre survivors’ barbecue?
While law enforcers have vowed to give “special attention” to the upcoming gathering, the hard constitutional fact is that even the least savory of organizations has a right of free assembly.
The real fear, of course, is that racist groups like these Aryans are targeting Arizona because as a border state it is at the forefront of illegal immigration. If so, it is an ugly trend.
Vigilance regarding viperous organizations such as these remains a wise strategy, even if our first reaction is dismissive contempt.
But the danger of groups lurking at the social margins – especially this one – is not that they will affect social policy. It’s that they may harm others.
Aryan Nations-types have a long, sordid history of violence against anyone the least bit unlike them.
The upcoming weekend looks fine for camping. In Flagstaff. Or up on the Rim. Anywhere but the Cave Creek Recreation Area.