Of all the people and organizations decrying the shootings Sunday that killed three people at two Jewish centers outside Kansas City, perhaps the most unlikely is Stormfront.org, one of the oldest and largest white nationalist forums on the internet.
“We have enough of a problem with how we are portrayed without some homicidal whack job coming along and reinforcing that,” Stormfront founder Don Black told The Daily Beast.
Black has known the alleged shooter, Frazier Glenn Miller, since the early 1980s, when they were both prominent leaders in the white nationalist movement. At the time Miller was running the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and Black, a former grand wizard of the KKK, was fresh off a three-year stint in federal prison for attempting to overthrow the government of the Caribbean island of Dominica and create an all-white state. In a post on Stormfront.org on Sunday, Black wrote that he liked Miller “but I’d noticed that he was something of an alcohol-driven blowhard. But I kept my opinion to myself, in the interest of ‘unity.’”
That was, of course, before Miller—as a part of a plea bargain for his own indictment on weapons charges and plotting to assassinate the founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center—agreed to testify against members of the neo-Nazi group The Order in a 1988 sedition trial.
That was enough to keep Miller on the Stormfront blacklist since the founding of the site in 1995.
“Nobody likes a rat,” Black said. “He testified against people who weren’t involved in The Order, friends of mine. I thought that was a pretty good reason not to let him post.”
In the day since he was identified as the sole suspect in the shootings that killed three people at a Jewish Community Center and assisted living facility outside Kansas City, details of Miller’s neo-Nazi past have quickly emerged. His internet trail offers not only clues to who he is but also shines a light on the racist, anti-Semitic, white nationalist, and other types of hate communities that flourish online.
As the Southern Poverty Law Center has pointed out, Miller posted 12,683 times in the past 10 years on the Vanguard News Network, an internet hate forum that boasts the tagline “No Jews, Just Right.” At VNN, Miller appears to have found a community of likeminded people with whom he could share his ideas. He also corresponded with jailed VNN contributors Craig Cobb, who is now behind bars awaiting sentencing for terrorizing a North Dakota town; and Kevin Harpham, who pleaded guilty to planting a bomb along the route of the 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. parade in Spokane, Washington.
“From the news reports, it seems that none of his victims were even Jewish,” said Black. “Everybody is outraged because killing people at random is pretty horrible.”
But Black said Miller has long been rejected by much of the white nationalist movement, not only because of his work as an FBI informant but because he allegedly fathered two children by an Asian woman when he was younger. Now, argues Black, Miller is all over the news giving the white nationalist movement a bad, or worse, name.
“From the news reports, it seems that none of his victims were even Jewish,” said Black. “Everybody is outraged because killing people at random is pretty horrible. It was bad enough when it looked like he had targeted and killed Jews, but the fact that he didn’t even do that is really kind of weird and suspicious.”
“It’s so insane from every level, so I suspect the alcohol’s been eating away at him for a long time,” Black continued. “But I know lots of drunks, and they don’t do that.”
In the SPLC’s initial report disclosing Miller as the sole Kansas City shooting suspect, the center noted that a forthcoming study “will show that nearly 100 people in the last five years have been murdered by active users” on Stormfront.org.
Black said he’s “waiting with bated breath” to see that study. “There have been a few people who have come through [Stormfront] that are mentally unstable and went on a killing spree, but their posts didn’t indicate anything like that and they certainly wouldn’t have been tolerated by our moderators if they had,” he said.
“We’ve got 286,000 registrations. We’re going to have a few people like that,” he went on. “I’m sure Facebook and Twitter have a lot more than that, and I’m sure we’re a lot less tolerant of any kind of suggestion of illegal violence than those sites.”
After all, he said, Miller was not allowed to post on Stormfront.