Rumors of KKK Event Alarmed Bell County City

PINEVILLE, KY -- News that the Ku Klux Klan was planning an event in Pineville this weekend caused some concern, bringing efforts to ensure safety and denunciation of the white supremist group, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Sunday edition.

Groups that espouse racism stir up strong reactions, so Residents and officials denounced the group, Kentucky State Police beefed up patrols and put more officers on standby, and Mayor Bob Madon said he could get the National Guard to town with one phone call. One woman asked Bell County Sheriff Bruce Bennett if she should leave with her young child for the weekend, reports the Herald-Leader.

As it turned out, concerns about provocative public displays by the Klan were unfounded.

Klan members said on a Web site and in e-mails that the event -- including speeches, a cross-burning and, according to one, games such as tug-of-war -- was not planned as a public demonstration, but rather a members-only gathering on private property outside the city limits, reports the newspaper.

That news had spread by Friday -- the day the Klan meeting was to start -- easing concerns about hooded men marching through the streets of the small town or preaching hate from the courthouse steps.

"I'm glad of it. I'd rather not see 'em around here because this is a peaceful little town," Delbert North, 41, said as he worked to repair the battery box on a Chevy van at Elliott's Auto Parts. "I don't know what makes 'em believe the way they do. People's people, regardless of their skin color."

By midday Friday, Pineville Police Chief Bill Matthews' more immediate concern was arranging security for a beauty pageant in town that evening, rep;orts the newspaper,. Local officials said they didn't expect any problems.

Judge-Executive Albey Brock said he felt the only potential for a confrontation was if local people and Klan members bumped into each other and had words. By the end of the work week, some people were questioning whether the purported Klan event was a hoax, the newspaper reports.

By late Saturday afternoon, Benett, Brock and State Police Sgt. Damon Gayheart said there had been no incidents related to the Klan reported and that there'd been no confirmation the group was actually meeting in the county.

Concern over the Klan event came up in late March. The Middlesboro Daily News reported that the Klan would hold an event billed as the first annual "Aryan Bash" in Pineville April 11-13.

The announcement of the event was on a blog of the Appalachian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The posting said other Klan and neo-Nazi groups planned to attend or had been invited, but included no information about what the bash would include, the newspaper reports.

The blog includes a brief profile of a man named Steven Decker. The blog said he is the Imperial Wizard of the Appalachian Knights.

The blog lists the headquarters of the Appalachian Knights KKK as Pikeville, but there is no public telephone listing for a Steven Decker there, and attempts to reach him were not successful. On the blog, he said he would not speak with reporters.

The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., which monitors racist and extremist groups in the United States, lists four chapters for the Appalachian Knights: in Pikeville and Caneyville, Ky., and in Logan, W.Va., and Dayton, Ohio, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Copyright - The Lexington Herald-Leader

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  • by Wow Location: Richmond on Apr 15, 2008 at 11:33 AM
    @Sonya Location: Lexington So comparing two racially motivated groups is uncomprehensible to you? You ever met some one with free college just because of their skin color? How about people that have to employ certian minoritys or face charges if not never get tax cuts or grants? Whens the last time you heard some idiot in a hood killing some one? Oh yeah you read about it daily and its not the KKK its the OG's. I dont support any political group or ridiculous racially motivated party. but come on the KKK thats alive today is unorganised and backwoods christian fools. Same can be said for those that still blame white america for their own poverty, meanwhile Im voting Obama and proving your ignorance to todays differances than 80years ago.
  • by Sonya Location: Lexington on Apr 15, 2008 at 02:51 AM
    I can't believe anyone would compare the NAACP to the Klan. It's not like the NAACP ever killed anyone. The NAACP tries to uplift and better society. The Klan tries to promote hate and violence. And it's not like a few decades ago white people were being forced into substandard accomodations in every aspect of life, being killed and discriminated against because of their race. And the NAACP is needed, because of the ripples of pre-civil rights era opinions and attitudes that prevail in this society. I'm white, and I can see it. It's called an education. Get one.
  • by Ron White Location: KY on Apr 13, 2008 at 10:24 PM
    As the comedian said, "You can't fix stupid".
  • by Anonymous on Apr 13, 2008 at 07:12 PM
    I don't agree with everything the Klan stands for but there the only group that really stands up for the white race. The blacks have the NAACP and the gay community have their support groups. The Klan is the only "support group" that white people have.
  • by Fed UP Location: South Madison on Apr 13, 2008 at 06:32 PM
    When the NAACP was formed, it was needed. The KKK was never needed. However, in todays society, the NAACP in no longer needed. There are just as many if not more low life white people as there are low life black people. Lazy and stupid is a state of being, not a skin color. If someone wants to preserve their way of life, then do it. Don't be trying to force your beliefs on others. I choose friends for who they are, not by skin colors. I have friends of all colors and all walks of life. The thought of anyone white or black dicriminating against them outrages me. God created us all equal. We shall not jugde and shall only be judged by him, not the NAACP or the KKK.
  • by Christopher 2X Location: Louisville on Apr 13, 2008 at 01:53 PM
    The KKK are all racially motivated! When will Kentucky ever get over this ancient way of living! Get out!
  • by Wow Location: Richmond on Apr 13, 2008 at 09:16 AM
    KKK is so horrible yet black formed NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and we get white kids forced into certian schools to get a more diverse population and people that arent qualified get jobs that otehrs are qualified for. Maybe we should protest the NAACP any time its name comes up after all they only care about their own race. Why should we bash other people that only care about theirs? Its not like the KKK goes around lynching people anymore.
  • by Duh Location: Ky on Apr 13, 2008 at 06:06 AM
    Why in the world do people have to continue these hate and idiotic beliefs? I am white,so what!If I were black I wouldn't feel any different as a human. People are people regardless of religion, color or anything else.We are all the same. I can't stand racist people whether they are black or white.There is racism on both sides in my opinion. The blacks should let the history go as far as holding it against whites and the whites should treat the blacks the SAME as any one else.I hate to see a racist white person and just as much, I hate to see a black person whining about how bad their ancestors were treated. it was a long long time ago and we should all love one another and forgive each other.I have many friends black and white. I treat no one different unless they make a difference for themselves!


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