editorial (2007-14)

Let Nazis be Nazis

Proposals for a Knoxville rally are weak, insipid

Twenty-six miles, 385 yards of inspiration and dedication

Let Nazis be Nazis

If they can stop fighting among themselves over who is white enough to be aligned with them, a loose group of Neo-Nazis and white supremacists and whites against all forms of racism but their own is proposing a Knoxville rally sometime soon.

The leaders of the rally are calling for the gathering in memory of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, teenagers who were carjacked, raped and killed last January in Knoxville. The victims were white and the accused are black. The crimes were almost unthinkably vicious, but the unsupported assertion that they were racially motivated has made the rounds on hundreds of weblogs despite the fact that no hate crime was alleged in the suspects' indictments.

When Gordon Boyd, a news anchor at WATE-TV6 in Knoxville, whose station has covered the crime without racial bias, learned of the rally proposal, he wrote in an email to its organizers that they were disseminating "verbal dysentery," according to the Nazis in charge, and said the city should deny them a permit to rally here.

Members of a Nazi splinter group, the American National Socialist Workers Party, promptly picketed the home of Boyd's family in Lexington, Ky., to attract attention to themselves and their espousal of racial bigotry and hatred.

They claim they are fighting black racism with white racism, and the blog entries around the issue are filled with ugly racist rhetoric aimed at African Americans, but also at Asians, Latinos, Jews, and others who are not white enough to suit their white American super-race position.

Included among the calls to gather in Knoxville is at least one petition urging that the group be "all-inclusive." The irony of that terminology, applying as it did only to pure whites, is insipid. Other bloggers who said they wished to come to Knoxville to participate in the rally wanted to be sure there were "no uniforms."

Why not? The SS greys, with jackboots and swastika armbands would be suited perfectly to such a gathering. Let's let Nazis be Nazis, especially the ones who assert that their white skin is "the only uniform we need."

We were initially reluctant to lend the rally organizers publicity by way of drawing attention to their actions in print, because that is what some of them said they were seeking. But we decided that Knoxvillians needn't bury their heads in the sand in denial of the existence of bigotry and race rage.

Grant them their parade permit. Let them make asses of themselves publicly, so long as they do so peaceably. Don't counter-demonstrate unless you feel you must. They thrive on contention, and they are not worth it. They are Nazis, after all.

All Hail the Knoxville Marathon

The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon staged last weekend turned out to be an inspiring community event. Almost 4,000 runners participated in the various races, which included a marathon, half-marathon, marathon relay, 5k, and Cariten Kids Run.

The route along city streets was lined with scores of enthusiastic volunteers who helped out at the event, plus thousands more people who turned out in the neighborhoods to cheer on the runners, whether it was their friends, their family members or strangers who came to town to compete and be counted.

All this despite the dismal rainy weather that could have clouded the spirits of the runners and onlookers last Sunday. It didn't. Even Mayor Bill Haslam was out there, for the third year in a row, posting a respectable time in the half-marathon.

They may have worn themselves ragged, but they extracted enough enjoyment (endorphins?) to lend the entire event an air of fun.

The event has experienced a steady climb in popularity over the past three years, since the inaugural marathon in 2005. The Knoxville Track Club is a major contributor to that growth, whipping up enthusiasm for running as a stimulator of physical, mental and emotional fitness.

Members of the Metro Pulse Track Club, a decidedly disorganized and informal cluster of worker bees from within our walls, did themselves and us proud Sunday. Editor Leslie Wylie, Calendar Editor Leah Willis, Account Executives Emily Boling and Chris Casteel, and Business Manager Jennifer Stiles ran in the event at one distance or another, and they acquitted themselves well, whether they were among the leaders or back among the pelicans.

All things considered, the event was a success, and should be praised as a means of sharing our city's character with visitors from across the country and around the globe. From the tireless efforts of organizers to the support of volunteers and spectators to the runners who made attending the event a priority, the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is an event that we look forward to enjoying for years to come.