Harrison, Arkansas, is a prosperous little town in Boone County, adjacent to the Missouri border and just 30 miles from the resort of Branson. Located in the scenic Ozarks, Harrison wants to be known as the “Best Small Town in America.” Unfortunately, they have a public-relations problem involving a Klan kook, Wikipedia and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Let’s start with the Klan kook: Thom Robb calls himself the “national director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.” Robb lives about 10 miles from Harrison and his “Knights” receive mail at a post office box in Harrison, which gives the town a dot on the SPLC “hate map.”
This reflects a problem I’ve addressed at The American Spectator (“Another Dot on the ‘Hate Map’,” Feb. 22), where the SPLC targets entire communities as “hate” locations based on dubious claims, in order to create an exaggerated sense of menace for fund-raising purposes. By the standards of the SPLC, just about every Baptist church in America could be designated an “anti-LGBT hate group,” and if hate groups are everywhere, what’s the point of all those dots on the map?
How many “Knights” does Thom Robb command? If he wanted to organize a KKK rally, how many Klansmen would show up?
Like so many of the dots on the SPLC’s “hate map,” Robb is just one guy with a P.O. Box, and if his “Knights” are a serious threat to anyone, certainly the FBI should be able to handle them. Smearing an entire town of 13,000 people on the basis of their proximity to this one guy is irresponsible, and by engaging in such smear tactics, the SPLC is arguably creating hate where it would not otherwise exist.