The impact of a racist fable

A violent, apocalyptic novel glorified for 40 years by the extreme right in the United States and Europe is thought to have played a role in multiple right-wing terror attacks. “After he read The Turner Diaries, there was a distinct difference in him,” recalls an ex-wife of Larry Wayne Shoemake.

Øyvind Strømmen

FRIDAY EVENING, 12 APRIL 1996: Larry Wayne Shoemake pulls his pickup truck behind an abandoned PoFolks restaurant near Ellis Avenue in Jackson, Mississippi. He pries open the door to the restaurant, and unloads a small arsenal of weapons from his car: automatic rifles, a shotgun, a .357 Ruger.

Shoemake – a graying, bearded man – pours gasoline in a perimeter around the building, and then sets up a firing nest inside. Then he starts shooting, using an AR-15 assault rifle.

His first victim is D. Q. Holifield, who had come to Jackson to buy clothes for his son’s birthday party. Shoemake kills Holifield, and also hits his son, Johnny, in the arm and thigh.

Soon, the police scanners are buzzing, including one situated in the newsroom of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

The newspaper had once been one of the most racist in the United States. Amongst civil rights advocates, it had earned the nickname “The Klan-Ledger”. When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led his historic 1963 March on Washington to the Lincoln Memorial, the newspaper’s next-day story bore the front-page headline: “Washington is clean again with Negro trash removed”. When the federal government sought to force the University of Mississippi to integrate in 1962, the Clarion-Ledger urged white Mississippians to take their guns to campus to make sure James Meredith would not be enrolled.

In 1983, Bill Minor – a political journalist who had worked for a competitor – described the owners of the Clarion-Ledger as “Bible-quotin’, Bible-totin’ racists”, and as “dictators who wanted to run the whole state”. By then, however, times had changed. A third-generation member of the Hederman family, Rea Hederman, had expanded the editorial staff from 16 to 125, bringing in young reporters from the North. The newspaper’s editorial style had changed. It had stopped running press releases verbatim, and had started reporting on the black community, running stories on police brutality against blacks and on poverty amongst African-Americans in rural Mississippi.

In 1981, when Rea told his older family members that he was going to get a divorce, his father stood by him, but the rest of the clan had had enough. Hederman left town, and in 1982 the newspaper was sold to Gannett. In 1983, it won the Pulitzer Prize for a project Hederman had initiated. “This Pulitzer was a victory over a racist past,” wrote Bill Prochnau of the Washington Post.

THAT FRIDAY EVENING IN APRIL 1996, the Clarion-Ledger reporter listening to the police scanner was Pam Berry. She was the newspaper’s second African-American police reporter. On the scanner, she heard an out-of-breath police officer scream, “I got a man who’s down. I can’t get to him.” She left the newspaper, got into her grey Nissan and drove to the scene of the shooting.

From there, she paged her colleague Jay Hughes. He called back and she said, “Get your ass out here. You’re not going to believe this.”

Why? What’s going on?”

There’s somebody out here firing a machine gun. People are pinned down all over the place. I can see some cops pinned down behind their car.”

As the conversation continued, Jay Hughes could hear the gunfire.

God, where are you?” he asked.

I’m at Ellis and 80. Jay, there’s …”

Jay Hughes heard a sound he recognized from having shot a whitetail deer at close range while hunting – the sound of a bullet striking flesh. “Pam, are you okay? Are you okay? Pam? Pam!”

I’ve – I’ve been hit.”

The young reporter became one of the eight victims of Larry Wayne Shoemake that day. Like six others, she would survive. After firing more than a hundred rounds, Shoemake placed his Ruger to his temple. All the shooting had caused the gasoline to erupt in flames, engulfing the abandoned restaurant. His final shot was to kill himself.

ON SATURDAY 13 April 1996, the Jackson police told the press that Shoemake’s home, situated just a couple of miles from the site of the shooting, contained a Nazi flag draped over his bed. On the bed, the police had found a Bible belonging to Shoemake’s deceased mother and a copy of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf. In the house, they also found notes that “indicated he wanted to live in an all-white society”, and in a shed on the property there was a Confederate flag.

One of the notes read: “I say: Annihilation or separation! Who is crazy, me or you? We will see.” It was scrawled in the margins of an article called “Separation or Annihilation”, written by Kevin Alfred Strom and included in the October 1995 edition of the magazine Free Speech, published by the neo-Nazi group National alliance.

The Branch Davidians' Mount Carmel Center in Waco, Texas engulfed in flames on April 19, 1993. Photo: FBI / WikiCommons / in the public domain

The Branch Davidians’ Mount Carmel Center in Waco, Texas engulfed in flames
on April 19, 1993. Photo: FBI / WikiCommons / in the public domain


In addition, the police found what Police Chief Robert Johnson described as a “shrine” memorializing the FBI’s 1993 siege in Waco, Texas.

There, in late February, the ATF had attempted to raid a ranch belonging to a religious group known as the Branch Davidians. A shoot-out ensued in which four ATF agents and five members of the Branch Davidians were killed. The FBI then besieged the ranch for weeks, culminating in an assault on 19 April 1993 in which the FBI used CS gas to try to force the Branch Davidians to surrender. They did not. Eventually a fire broke out, in which 76 Branch Davidians were killed. According to the FBI, the Branch Davidians themselves started the fire, a conclusion supported by a probe led by former Republican Senator John Danforth and by a federal court.

ANTI-GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY THEORISTS  saw Waco in a very different light. Some believed (and still do) that the FBI started the shootout that began the 51-day standoff, that the FBI set the fire that ended it, and even that the FBI used snipers to murder anyone attempting to flee. As Jesse Walker writes in his book United States of Paranoia, “popular conspiracy theories held that Waco was a trial run for future assaults on independent Americans”.

Larry was a loner with radical views,” Shoemake’s niece told the Clarion-Ledger. “These views alienated him from us. He suffered from depression and talked of suicide. Our family is devastated by this. Our prayers are for the victims and their families.”

More information about Shoemake’s past was also published. He was a graduate of Jackson’s Central High School, where he studied in the early 1960s. A fellow student recalled him as someone with writing talent, though he mainly exuded a tough-guy persona, “like the James Dean image back then, boots and T-shirt”. Shoemake had since served in the army, and was married and divorced three times. For a while in the 1970s he worked for the hydraulics manufacturer Vickers , and later as a cameraman for educational TV.

THERE ARE CERTAINLY SIGNS to indicate that Larry Wayne Shoemake was a disturbed individual. Authorities also found a letter he had written to a friend, but never mailed. It read: “Hi, Kay. I’m baaaccck! Got my coffee and ready the ramble. We could call this, ‘The Final Ramblings of a Mad Man’. … I’m sliding down and the farther I slide the faster I slide, and there’s no brush or tree limbs or rocks or anything I can grab and stop the slide and hold on to. I’ve been sliding for a long time and I’m getting close to the bottom and when I hit it[, it] will be a great relief to me. The sudden stop won’t hurt. [W]e have to act insanely to bring back sanity. I’m talking getting our guns and start pulling trigger on our enemies. Kill hundreds of thousands or more. … They deserve to die. Now. … Blacks is the problem. It[’]s in their genes. … The bottom line is: Separation or annihilation. I think I’m about to run out of ink. That’s not the only thing that’s running out. … I must go now and explore another planet, because I don’t like this one anymore. Love, Larry.”

When did it all start? And why? Shoemake’s third wife – who met him in 1979 – told the Clarion-Ledger that his racism had contributed to the failure of their marriage. “He wouldn’t work. I couldn’t keep supporting him. I had two children from a previous marriage. He was starting to act stranger. After he read The Turner Diaries, there was a distinct difference in him.” Shoemake also started to subscribe to the monthly publications of William Pierce, the leader of the National Alliance, and author of the Turner Diaries.

Photo: Robert Hartnell (under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0-license)

William Pierce. Photo: Robert Hartnell (under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0-license)

WILLIAM LUTHER PIERCE III was born in Atlanta on 11 September 11 1933. His father was killed in a car accident when the boy was only eight, and young William grew up moving about the South, together with his mother and brother. Eventually he attended Rice Institute (later: Rice University), and then graduate school at the California Institute of Technology. He married Patricia Jones and moved to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he received a doctorate in physics. Then, in 1962, he became an assistant professor of physics at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. While in Corvallis he attended a few meetings of the John Birch Society, a radical right-wing organisation, but – by his own account – he was unhappy with the organisation: “I quickly found that the two topics on which I wanted an intelligent discussion – race and Jews – were precisely the two topics Birch Society members were forbidden to discuss.”

In June 1965, Pierce left Oregon and started working at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in Connecticut as a senior research associate physicist. During his time there he started visiting the American Nazi Party’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, and keeping in touch with its leader, George Lincoln Rockwell. In 1966 he resigned from his job and moved to Virginia. His wife started teaching math at university level, while Pierce became increasingly active in the marginal U.S. neo-Nazi scene, first as editor for the magazine National Socialist World, which functioned as a voice for the World Union of National Socialists (WUNS), then as an active member in Rockwell’s group after it changed its name to the National Socialist White People’s Party (NSWPP) in January 1967. In August of that year, Rockwell was shot and killed while leaving a laundromat in Arlington. A former member of his group, John Patler, was later convicted of the murder.

Without its leader the NSWPP soon began to splinter, and the next three years were described by the Sunday Star journalist Lance Gay as “three years of purges, squabblings and ideological disruptions”. Pierce remained with the Arlington-based faction and soon became a leading figure within the group. Released FBI documents show that he came into the agency’s crosshairs on several occasions. In January 1968, for instance, one source described Pierce as “the ideological ‘brains’ of the ANP”. A speech Pierce delivered at the student centre of the University of Scranton in April 1970 prompted the FBI the notify the Secret Service. In the speech, Pierce described the United States as weak, decadent, rotten and corrupt, and he stated that president Richard Nixon “should be dragged out of the office and shot”.

IN SPITE OF HIS LEADERSHIP ROLE, Pierce became increasingly disillusioned with the NWSPP, and in July 1970 he quit the organization, subsequently circulating a “Prospectus for a National Front”. In it he stated that America and the American people “face the most serious and deadly menace which has arisen in their entire history”, because “all that we ever have been and all that we ever might be – our race itself – is threatened with extinction”. He also criticized the various “little groups” of the American extreme right. By no “reasonable stretch of the imagination”, he wrote, could they build “a basis for building the sort of large-scale revolutionary movement we must build within the very near future if we are to maintain our racial integrity and survive as a people”. In Pierce’s view, about the only good that could be said of all those groups was that they generated a flood of printed materials, even though this literature failed to achieve “any real contact or rapport with the general population”, not only because of problems of distribution and lack of media access, but simply because it would fail “to evoke a sympathetic response from ‘the masses’ even it could be placed regularly in their hands”, being “too esoteric, too introverted, and too ‘kooky’ to strike a responsive chord”.

Furthermore, he stated: “We must always remember that our immediate aim is power — the capability for mobilizing and directing the energies of large masses of people. In order to do this we don’t have to compete with the Democrats and Republicans for blandness or mediocrity. But we do have to avoid isolating ourselves from the public with programs and images so radical that only a small fraction of one percent will respond.”

As the American human rights activist Leonard Zeskin writes in his book Blood and Politics, Pierce understood that wearing swastika arm bands in the style of George Lincoln Rockwell would lead nowhere. He joined Willis Carto’s National Youth Alliance (NYA) but was soon involved in a conflict with Carto, effectively leading to a split in the organization. In 1974, Pierce founded what was to become one of the largest, strongest and most active organizations on the American extreme right, the National Alliance. In January 1975, he started publishing a serialized novel in the magazine inherited from the NYA, Attack! It was called The Turner Diaries.

PIERCE HAD BEEN INSPIRED by Revilo Oliver, who sent a book called The John Franklin Letters to Pierce. Pierce later told his biographer Robert S. Griffin that he had not read The John Franklin Letters carefully, just looked through it to get an idea of how he could do something similar. Still, it is worth summarizing the anonymously published Letters, a novel describing a ‘Sovietized’ United States, how Americans suffer everything from fluoridation of their drinking water to genocide under the alien rule and eventually rebellion in the form of a group called The Rangers, all of it told in the form of letters sent by a member of The Rangers to his uncle. The letters format of the Letters inspired Pierce to choose a similar format – that of a diary – for his serialized novel.

In it, the protagonist Earl Turner takes part in a violent overthrow of the US government, referred to as “the System”, instigating a brutal world-wide race war in which Jews are killed en masse: “It’s the sort of thing which happened time after time during the Middle Ages, of course – every time the people had finally had heir fill of the Jews and their tricks. Unfortunately, they never finished the job, and they won’t this time either. I’m sure the Jews are already making their plans for a comeback, as soon as the people have calmed down and forgotten. The people have such short memories.But we won’t forget! That alone is enough to insure that history will not repeat itself. No matter how long it takes us and no matter to what lengths we must go, we’ll demand a final settlement of the account between our two races. If the Organization survives this contest, no Jew will – anywhere. We’ll go to the uttermost ends of the earth to hunt down the last of Satan’s spawn.”

The book ends with Earl Turner carrying out a suicide attack on the Pentagon, as a member of the elite cadre of ‘the Organization’, simply named The Order. The book’s preface – written by the fictional Andrew MacDonald, also Pierce’s pen name for this and his other novel, Hunter – describes Turner as a martyr of the Great Revolution, in which all non-Whites are eventually killed.

The readers of Attack! responded positively to the serialized book, and in May 1978 it was published in paperback. In the original version, the story was set in the 1980s, but when it was reprinted in September 1980, the setting was moved ten years forward, to the 1990s.

The Turner Diaries

The Turner Diaries

THE TURNER DIARIES was already infamous by the time of Larry Wayne Shoemake’s shooting spree in Jackson. A year earlier, on 19 April 1995, Timothy McVeigh – the main perpetrator of what remains the second deadliest terror attack in US history, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building – was arrested for missing license plates on his car and for illegal firearm possession just hours after the attack.

When the FBI connected the dots back to McVeigh, just hours before he might have been released, his 1977 Mercury Marquis was searched. In an unmarked envelope left in the car, McVeigh had placed a number of items: a bumper sticker (“When the government fears the people, there is liberty; when the people fear the government, there is tyranny”, a quote from Revolutionary War patriot Samuel Adams), a pamphlet called The American Response to Tyranny (juxtaposing Waco with the American revolution), several articles criticizing the government’s handling of the Waco siege, a copy of the Declaration of Independence and a number of quotes about liberty from notables such as Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill and – importantly – a quote from The Turner Diaries, that same book that had apparently changed Larry Wayne Shoemake. The quote from the book concerns a series of terror attacks carried out by the Organization: “The real value of our attacks today lies in the psychological impact, not in the immediate casualties. … More important, though, is what we taught the politicians and the bureaucrats. They learned this afternoon that not one of them is beyond our reach. They can huddle behind barbed wire and tanks in the city, or they can hide behind the concrete walls and alarm systems of their country houses, but we can still find them and kill them.”

The Oklahoma City bombing killed 168 people, 99 of them employed by the federal government. The rest of the victims were civilians, including 19 children.

As it turned out, Timothy McVeigh had been introduced to The Turner Diaries years earlier, having ordered it after seeing it advertised in Soldiers of Fortune. He was later to claim that it was the book’s strong advocacy of gun rights – rather than its extreme racism – that appealed to him. Still, he enjoyed the book, and eventually started distributing it to friends and selling it at gun shows. “He carried that book all the time,” a gun collector told the New York Times in July 1995. “He sold it at the shows. He’d have a few copies in the cargo pocket of his cammies. They were supposed to be $10, but he’d sell them for $5. It was like he was looking for converts.”

There was another reason The Turner Diaries was thrown into the limelight following the Oklahoma City bombing, however. In the book, another federal building – the FBI headquarters – is targeted in a bombing attack, using – like Timothy McVeigh – a truck bomb made with ammonium nitrate fertilizer.

The 1991 FBI memo on the Turner Diaries, which was released to Intelwire through the Freedom of Information Act in 2006.

The 1991 FBI memo on the Turner Diaries, which was released to Intelwire through the Freedom of Information Act in 2006.

SEVERAL YEARS EARLIER, in August 1991, an FBI agent investigating a militia group in Texas sent a memo to FBI headquarters, including photocopied pages from the book. The agent pointed out that the dates mentioned in the book were approaching fast – the first fictional attack of the Organization in The Turner Diaries takes place in September 1991. “The cited dates … of violence and terrorism are brought to the attention of FBIHQ solely in the context of informed preparedness,” the agent wrote. “It is not the intent of the San Antonio Division to foster paranoia with regard to this novel, the White Supremacist Movement or any part thereof , but moreover to specifically highlight the fictional events portrayed and point out the significance of this novel as a foundation document within the ‘movement’.”

The memo went out to point out the connection between The Turner Diaries and a terrorist group active in the 1980s, a group often dubbed The Order – like the one in the book, but calling itself the Brüder Schweigen (Brothers keep silent).

4 SEPTEMBER 1983: For the sixth time since founding his own group – the National Alliance – William Pierce gathered its members to a convention in Arlington. This time, the Texas-born Robert Jay Mathews was amongst the speakers. Mathews, who grew up in Arizona, had moved to Metaline Falls, Washington, in 1974, and had been a member of National Alliance since 1980. He also frequented events held by another extreme right-wing group, the Aryan Nations. Mathews was a great fan of Pierce’s The Turner Diaries.

“My brothers, my sisters,” Mathews opened his speech. “From the mist-shrouded forest valleys and mountains of the Pacific Northwest, I bring you a message of solidarity, a call to action and a demand for adherence to duty as members of the vanguard of an Aryan resurgence and ultimately total Aryan victory. The signs of awakening are sprouting up across the Northwest and no more so than amongst the two-fisted farmers and ranchers – a class of our people who have been hit especially hard by the filthy lying Jews and their parasitical usury system. From the beginning of this Nation to the present, the yeoman farmer has been a symbol of the Aryan work ethic and living monument to masculinity.”

“Whenever I think of the First American Revolution,” he continued, “I often remember that stirring poem about Concord and Lexington: ‘By the rude bridge that arched the flood, their flag to April’s breeze unfurled, here the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard round the world.’ Unfortunately, comrades, that poem glorifies a fratricidal conflict. How I dream of a new poem, a poem for today: ‘Out of the valleys, out of the fields, poured the Aryan yeoman hoard, their flag to April’s breeze unfurled, thence the Aryan farmer came, and removed the Jew forever, forever from this world.'”

His speech was interrupted by a solid round of applause. Then, Mathews went on to talk about the work of the so-called National Organization of Farmers and Independent Truckers, N.O.F.I.T, a propaganda effort of Louis Beam of the Aryan Nations, which he took as an indication of the “potential for our movement which lies within the farming communities across this nation”. “We must,” Mathews said, “it is our duty to, take advantage of the ever increasing radicalization of the American farmer. The fate of every last white man, woman and child on this planet lies squarely on the shoulders of us here in this room today. Out of all the White racialist organizations in this Nation, the [National] Alliance and only the Alliance has the potential to bring us victory. Through the Alliance lies the salvation of our entire race – we can not fail.”

Mathews ended with a call to action: “So kinsmen, duty calls. The future is now. If a month from now, you have not yet fully committed yourself to the Alliance and the responsibilities thereof, then you have, in effect, not only betrayed your race, you have betrayed yourself. So stand up like men! And drive the enemy into the sea. Stand up like men! And swear a sacred oath upon the green graze of our sires that you will reclaim what our forefathers discovered, explored, conquered, settled, built and died for. Stand up like men! And reclaim our soil! Kinsmen arise! Look toward the stars and proclaim our destiny. In Metaline Falls, we have a saying: ‘Defeat never. Victory forever!'”

JUST A FEW WEEKS LATER, Mathews created the group which would be called The Order, inspired both by The Turner Diaries and by Louis Beam’s ideas on the necessity of violent action. The group started with nine members. Three of them came from the National Alliance. One was a neighbour and close friend of Mathews. A fifth had been a member of a Colorado Ku Klux Klan faction. Four came from Aryan Nations. In a makeshift ceremony at Mathews’s home, these nine men declared war on the US government, or – that is – on the “Zionist Occupation Government”.

Their first action was the October armed robbery of an adult bookstore in Spokane, Washington, netting not much more than $300. Soon, however, they robbed banks and armoured cars, their most successful heist taking place in July 1984, when they robbed a Brinks truck on the highway outside Ukiah, California, getting away with $3.6 million. The group was also involved in counterfeiting. The money was divided amongst their growing number of members as salary, but it was also used to invest in equipment and land or given to various heads of extreme right-wing groups, including Pierce and Frazier Glenn Miller.

Read more on Frazier Glenn Miller:
–  “White Power” attack hits the US

In early June 1984, the group committed its first murder, when one of its own – a former Aryan Nations member – was led into the forest, hit in the head with a hammer and then shot and buried, due to worries that he would talk.  Months earlier, two members of the group, reportedly acting on their own, carried out the first outright terror attack, bombing a synagogue in Boise, Idaho. The bomb did little damage, however.

The Order had bigger plans. In Unbroken Warrior – a book published by the Swede Magnus Söderman and Finnish Esa Henrik Holappa – group member Richard Scutari described an eight-pronged plan: recruitment, building a war chest, establishing training camps and stockpiling weapons, organizing legal above-ground groups, assassinations, guerrilla warfare, establishing a White homeland in the Pacific Northwest and “reclaiming” all land north of the Rio Grande river.

Read more on Esa Henrik Holappa:
A Neo-Nazi leader no more
Behind the Nazi façade
– A world of hatred

A HIT LIST was set up, containing the names of several ‘enemies’, including the TV writer and producer Norman Lear, a federal judge and Morris Dees, one of the founders of the anti-racist Southern Poverty Law Center. The list also included the Jewish talk-show host Alan Berg, a notable critic of the extreme right. On 18 June 1984, Berg was killed by automatic weapon fire as the returned home from having had dinner with his ex-wife, Judith Lee Berg. Eventually, four members of The Order would be indicted in the murder: Bruce Pierce, David Lane, Jean Craig and Richard Scutari. Two of them were later convicted for the crime: Pierce, the alleged triggerman, and Lane, the alleged getaway driver. Lane – who would become a right-wing celebrity due in part to his so-called “14 words” slogan (“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children”) – died in prison in 2007. Pierce died in prison three years later. Richard Scutari and Jean Craig were both convicted of other The Order-connected crimes.

It was the 1984 Brinks truck robbery that felled the right-wing extremist terror group. Mathews had inadvertently left a handgun behind during the robbery, providing the FBI with a crucial clue. Another mistake was made closer to home, as a recruit from the National Alliance – Tom Martinez – was arrested for spreading counterfeit money and soon became an FBI informant. Through Martinez, the FBI was able to track Mathews to a motel room in Portland, Oregon. In the raid, Mathews shot and wounded an FBI agent, but unlike fellow Order member Gary Yarborough he managed to escape, despite being wounded. He headed to his home state of Washington, where on 7 December 1984 he was found in a house at Whidbey Island, near Freeland. After a long standoff, the house caught fire when three Starburst flares were fired into the building, setting off a box of hand grenades and a stockpile of ammunition. Mathews died in the ensuing fire, his body found with pistol still in hand.

Over the next few months most of the remaining members of The Order were arrested in what the US Department of Justice had dubbed Operation Clean Sweep. The Order was dead. Like The Turner Diaries, however, it left a legacy, including a bombing campaign by the so-called The Order II in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in 1986. Most importantly, members of the Order were to be admired by neo-Nazis around the world. They had tried setting in motion the events described in William Pierce’s book.

THE INFLUENCE OF THE TURNER DIARIES did not end with the 1996 Jackson shooting, with the Oklahoma City bombing or with The Order. Like Pierce’s other novel, Hunter – a racist fable describing a lone assassin killing racially mixed couples, journalists and politicians – the Turner Diaries tends to arise in connection with extreme right-wing violence and terrorism. Pavlo Lapshyn, the Ukrainian man who committed a murder and three bomb attacks in the United Kingdom in 2013, had read both books. So did Peter Mangs, who was behind a number of shootings in Malmö, Sweden, in 2009 and 2010. Zack Davies, the man who attacked a Sikh dentist with a machete in a Tesco supermarket in Wales in January 2015, also had a copy of The Turner Diaries.

ITS LITERARY QUALITIES are modest, but The Turner Diaries has become something of a bible of the extreme right. And it keeps on playing a role in radicalization processes, through its violent, apocalyptic fantasy. There is every reason to remember the shots that rang out in Jackson, Mississippi, in April 1996.


  • The racist past of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger is described in Bill Prochnau, “This Pulitzer Prize was a victory over a racist past”, Washington Post Service, 8. May 1983; Marcel Dufresne, “Exposing the Secrets of Missisippi Racism”, American Journalism Review, October 1991; Kathy Lally, “A journey from racism to reason”, Baltimore Sun, 5 January 1997.
  • The conversation between Pam Berry and Jay Hughes is found in Jerry Mitchell’s article series “The Murder Club: A true story in five chapters”.
  • The letter written by Larry Shoemake is quoted in this profile of Shoemake at
  • Other details and information from interviews with Shoemake’s niece, ex-wife and former fellow student are sourced from reports in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger from April 1996, helpfully provided by Debbie Skipper at the Clarion-Ledger. These include: Jerry Mitchell, “Sniper driven by racism police say”, 14 April 1996; Billy Watkins, “Peace, quiet shattered for patrons at eateries”, 14 April 1996; Josh Zimmer, “Authorities not certain how sniper obtained array of weapons”, 14 April 1996; Jay Hughes and John Butch, “At least 500 rounds sprayed by sniper during rampage”, 14 April 1996; and Jerry Mitchell, Jay Hughes and Josh Zimmer, “Ex-wife says ‘Turner Diaries’ made polite vet a racist killer”, 16 April 1996.
  • Details on the Free Speech magazine found in Shoemake’s home is taken from the report “Explosion of Hate“, published by the ADL in 1997.
  • Biographical information on William Pierce has been taken from Leonard Zeskin’s book Blood and Politics, as well as from Robert S. Griffin’s The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds: An Up-Close Portrait of White Nationalist William Pierce.
  • The internal squabbles of the NSWPP are described by Zeskin, as well as in an article in The Sunday Star: Lance Gay, “Torn Neo-Nazis Striving to Resurface”, 8 March 1970. In this article Pierce was also interviewed.
  • In addition, information has been taken from released FBI documents concerning William Pierce.
  • Information on the contents of the envelope in Timothy McVeigh’s car has been taken from Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck’s American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing.
  • The gun collector is quoted in John Kifner, “THE GUN NETWORK: McVeigh’s world – a special report“, New York Times, 5 July 1995.
  • The ‘Turner memo’ from the San Antonio Division of the FBI is found here and discussed here, at Intelwire.
  • Information on Robert Jay Mathews is taken from Zeskin’s Blood and Politics, as well as from this Wikipedia entry, the ABC documentary “Inside the Hate Conspiracy: America’s Terrorists” (1995) and an audio recording of his speech at the National Alliance convention in September 1983.
  • The goals of The Order are described in Söderman and Holappa’s book Unbroken Warrior, which includes an interview with Robert Scutari conducted by Söderman.
  • Information on The Order is also taken from the entry about them in the SAGE Encyclopedia of Terrorism (2nd edition), written by Nancy Egan; as well as the entry on Robert Jay Mathews in Religion and Violence: An Encyclopedia on Faith and Conflict from Antiquity to the Present.
  • Information on the assassination of Alan Berg is taken from Kevin Simpson, Jason Blevins and Karen Auge, “The Murder of Alan Berg: 25 years later“, Denver Post, 17 June 2009.
  • Information on Operation Clean Sweep is also found in a profile on Richard Scutari published on the website of the ADL.
  • Peter Mangs’ relationship to The Turner Diaries and Hunter is discussed in Mattias Gardell’s Swedish-language book Raskrigaren from 2015.

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About Øyvind Strømmen

Øyvind Strømmen is a Norwegian freelance journalist, author and managing editor of Hate Speech International. He has written extensively on the extreme right and other forms of extremism since 2007, and has published the Norwegian-language books Det mørke nettet (2011) and Den sorte tråden (2013), the first of which is also translated into Swedish, Finnish and French.
View all posts by Øyvind Strømmen →

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