Why do old Klansmen always come back to Indiana?
Former House Rep. Lee H. Hamilton has asked himself that question. He’s pondered the irony of his past campaigns to voters in Indiana’s 9th Congressional District to support civil rights legislation, knowing that the felon D.C. Stephenson, the infamous Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon who ran the Hoosier State in the 1920s, called Seymour home for a bit after he was released from prison.
“I never met him and never saw him, but I know the house he was living in,” reflected Hamilton. “I could take you by it today.” Following release from prison, Stephenson sought the comfort of Indiana and for a while at least, was tolerated, although the Klansman’s criminal past could hardly be more lurid.
In the 1920s, Stephenson was the most powerful man in Indiana, running his operation from a renovated home in Irvington. Eventually, he was convicted in the kidnapping, torture and rape of Irvington resident and teacher Madge Oberholzer, who took poison in a desperate gambit to escape his assaults.Oberholzer finally died, according to medical testimony, from a fatal infection caused by the Dragon’s vicious bites to her breasts and groin. After his parole, Stephenson settled in Seymour, even though he’d been ordered to leave the state.
If you think times have changed in Indiana, consider this.
Thomas Linton “Terrible Tommy” Metzger, an internationally known leader of the white supremacist movement, a man the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed “the most dangerous man in America” and admitted architect of the “Lone Wolf” racial strategy most recently and infamously embraced by accused Charleston church shooter Dylann Storm Roof, currently resides and operates his empire from a post office box in his hometown of Warsaw, Indiana.
Self-avowed white supremacist and racist Metzger, like Stephenson, is a former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. Like Stephenson, he’s connected with a high profile murder, the slaying of Mulugeta Seraw, an unarmed Ethiopian student stomped and beaten to death with a baseball bat on the streets of Portland, Oregon on March, 1988 by three Aryan Youth, followers of the organization Metzger founded and continues to lead, the White Aryan Resistance (W.A.R.).
The Southern Poverty Law Center and Morris Dees were successful in arguing that Metzger was culpable in the racially-motivated homicide, although he consistently denied all responsibility.
Today from Warsaw, he continues to operate W.A.R.; updating his website www.resist.com; and operating a mail order business, offering race-themed merchandise including “hunting licenses for illegal immigrants” ($5), and custom hats emblazoned with swastikas or the numeral 88, a numerical code for HH or Heil Hitler ($8). Metzger takes cash, credit card, checks and PayPal.
The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks Metzger, but notes that his media activities are protected by the First Amendment. Metzger boasts that people all over the world pay his $20 a month subscription fee to hear his racial views. In this sense, he exports hate from Indiana.
(The following interview took place in Warsaw, Indiana, first outside Metzger’s home, then at Mad Anthony’s Tap House in Warsaw’s downtown.)
Hello, I’m a reporter. I freelance for different publications, by the way, including some African-American publications.
Metzger: Wow, you’re extremely light-skinned.
Actually, I am white.
Metzger: You’re white, and you’ve worked at black publications.
That’s correct. What’s your response to that?
Metzger: Are you having babies with black men?
NUVO: (Laughs in shock, realizing it has taken Metzger 10 seconds to introduce the topic of a white, female reporter having sexual intercourse with black men.)
I’m not pregnant.
What’s your birthday?
Metzger: April 9, 1938. I was born at McDonald Hospital. My class gets together every month. We meet at a restaurant. There are about 30 of us left. The Warsaw Tigers of (1956) we get together and have a good time. We don’t talk too much politics, a lot of difference of opinion. We get along okay.
Why did you come back to Indiana?
Metzger: I was paying $2500 a month for a little house, my mother died, and I was an only child. Why am I paying $2500 a month in rent, when I can live in Indiana for free?
Are you the most dangerous man in America?
Metzger: That’s what (attorney) Morris Dees said, Christ.
Why are you not the most dangerous man in America?
Metzger: I never killed anybody, I never ordered anybody to be killed. I got ideas—everybody has ideas. Whatever you’re doing in your country, that’s none of my business. But don’t try and take over my country. [It’s] the same in the black community. I don’t want to interfere in the black community. I’m not on this side or that. I am a racist. I’m not for myself, but for my race. It’s an honor, if people understand it correctly.
Will you say unequivocally that you’re against acts like cross burning?
Metzger: It doesn’t produce anything. Why would I be for something that was not productive? If you’re going to kill anyone, kill a Congressman. I can sit down at the table with black persons and get along fine.
You were once arrested in a cross burning.
Metzger: I'm standing there with the Klan, all of a sudden all the cops in L.A. showed up. They said it (cross burning) was burning refuse material without a permit. I was just standing up there eating a sandwich. I think I could tell that story to any black man and he’d understand.
When I interviewed you years ago, you said you wanted a race war.
Metzger: I still believe in, racial separation. I’ve had plenty of contact with black separatists. But now I don’t want a race war, I’ve seen what happens in the Middle East and they use one against the other.
If you no longer desire a race war, in a perfect world, what would it look like?
Metzger: I would cut off immigration. We got too many people anyhow. And I’d return a lot of people to Mexico and Central America. They are in here for cheap labor, then the Democrats want to get them on the voting rolls.
What about interracial people? In your perfect world, where is their home?
Metzger: It’s bringing the races down. It’s like hybrid animals. Any veterinarian will tell you, you bring two types of animals together, [and] you’re not going to come up with either one. Hence, natural selection is the way to go. People evolved in a natural selective way.
Would you ban interracial marriage?
Metzger: Probably, but it's almost time to throw up your arms and say it's all over. Jumping on a black guy walking down the street (with a white woman) is not going to change anything.”
Where is the place of the disabled and the elderly in your world?
Metzger: Well, a lot of people with disabilities are geniuses. As long as they can serve the tribe, the community, they should be with the tribe. You’ve seen it…people that have lived a full life and now have to be carried everywhere. Just give them a shot. I’d want it. If you’re causing problems for the tribe… You’re a vegetable — a person gets too old. I believe in the survival of the fittest, but just because a person has a handicap, doesn’t mean that they’re not useful. They should be put down if they can’t serve the community. When I go to the fair, Walmart, anything around here I see these people that are throwbacks.
What is a throwback?
Metzger: Inbred people. I mean people that obviously, obviously, got a big problem.
Yes or no, do you believe European people are superior to people from Africa?
Metzger: I see race as a pyramid. I can prove that they're (white people) superior. You need this base of a lot of people so you can have people at the top. I can look around at everything they developed and say, wow, whites did that. If I go into the Encyclopedia of Technology, I see mostly white people. I've got to assume that they've got a leg up. And we should keep a leg up. Everybody's benefiting from our inventions, research, medicine and everything else. I think the black race, of which we don’t have a lot of anymore, we have a mulatto race, half white half black, that’s another subject. Percentage wise, of course white people are superior. That doesn’t take away from other people and other races.
What about the invention of mathematics and the pyramids?
Metzger: That was all white people. You get under that Egyptian sun… you’re going to get the a suntan.
(Note: upon further questioning by the reporter, Metzger stated he believes heavily tanned, blonde, blue-eyed white people built the Pyramids using slave labor.)
Are you still a Klansman? Do you have contact with the Klan here in Indiana?
Metzger: No, no. I think they know I’m more serious than them. The early Klan was out of protect white people. The 1920s Klan (in Indiana) — that wasn’t the real Klan. They don’t even approach me. They know I'm not like them. They know I'm not playing.
They were opposed to Catholicism.
Metzger: My wife was a Catholic when we got married, and I converted to Catholicism. I used to laugh about the Klan not letting the Catholics in.
You took your family to mass, [and] then you gathered with the Klan?
Metzger: Yes. I know absolutely nothing about the Klan in this state.
Why did you leave the Klan?
Metzger: Number one: I was disenchanted with Christianity. They (Klan organizations) do have Christian doctrine. Number two: the Right Wing. Broaden it out, or we’ll never get anywhere.
When I interviewed your associate Jack Butler, he said Jesus was not Jewish.
Metzger: Yes, I heard that too, I was in the Christian Identity Movement. I read all the Identity literature; in fact, I was even a minister for awhile.
As a matter of historical fact, do you think Jesus was not Jewish?
Metzger: Go to the website Jesus never existed. That’s what I believe. One of my daughters is a super Christian and married a big Christian. We don’t talk about it. I’ve never crossed her or told her what to think.
Do you respect her views?
Metzger: No. She went to a large college, and got brainwashed by Christians. Then she married a super Christian.
You know, I was raised in this little town here, with only 6000 people. I had to go to church every week or they'd kick my ass. What else did I have to believe? Then in Christian Identity, they said he was really a Jew, and I didn’t believe that. Now I found out he didn’t even exist, so I don’t even consider that anymore.
You once believed that God created several different Adams and Eves for each racial group. Now that you’re an atheist, what do you believe?
Metzger: I believe in separate (racial) development, evolution. But I don't know for sure. Hell, I think I'm from Orion myself. The Constellation Orion.
Seriously? You believe you’re from Orion?
Metzger: There are theories that there was a race that comes here from space. And I tell people all the time, watch out, I’m from Orion. I could zap you. What do I know? We were seeded here by someone much more intelligent than we’ll ever be, and we’ve been screwing it up ever since.
Why did you become an atheist?
Metzger: I was gradually moving that way. I started reading Thomas Paine and I think Thomas Paine really kicked it off. He was a deist, [and] then I went from there. I read other books and I got myself out of religions. Religions, especially Abrahamic religions—Islam, Judaism and Christianity are one of the biggest problems we've got.
Metzger: Behind every war, is religion, to agitate the people, to get them to go off to war. Look at what they’ve done to the good people of the Middle East. I finally figured out that the enemies of the people are so powerful, that’s all people, are so powerful, they control so much; we don’t have a chance.
There is a race war. The white people are losing. We can’t really blame the black people. And there’s a race war in the black community of blacks against blacks.
People tend to prey within their own ethnic community. Do you have a theory about that?
Metzger: Yeah, the Republican Party wants it. Part of the Democrat Party wants it too. Because that empowers them. That’s how you build power. There's a race war in the black community of blacks against blacks. They want it that way, the power structure. The Republican Party loves it, and part of the Democrat party does too. Look at Al Sharpton. I stood on the stage and called him a fraud 20 years ago. I said, you’re nothing but a goddamn fraud. You’re not here to help at all, just a conman. White leaders use whites, black leaders use blacks, to build their own bank accounts. And that’s why I get along with black separatists.
How would homicides lead to political power?
Metzger: Phony leaders pick up the money. Like Sharpton. On the white side, it’s Bush, a war criminal. Controversy and agitation give them money. Get ready for ’16, another crazy-ass election. It doesn’t mean anything.
Do you hate black people?
Do you hate Jews?
Metzger: No. I think at one time I would have said yes. I’ve changed my views.
Do you still believe Judaism controls the world?
Metzger: It’s bigger than that. I’ve done quite a bit of research on this, on radio shows. Even back in World War II, what was really happening, which totally turns this thing around—there were huge numbers of super-patriotic Jews in Germany, and they were trying to support the government. But anyhow, Hitler went off the rails, they were shooting him up with meth. You know what happens with people on meth? They get crazy, attacking Russia and all that crazy shit. You know Hitler, was a quarter-Jew.
On what side of the family?
Metzger: Well, I don’t have it in front of me right now.
Do you dispute the Holocaust?
Metzger: The numbers, yeah. Jews were assimilating like mad. So the top Zionists said, who’s in control here? There’s also the struggle between the Sephardic Western Jews and the Ashkenazi Jews. They hated each other. There's no more wild Jew-hater in the world than another Jew. The guys that want to kill Jews the most are Jews themselves.
(After establishing that Metzger asserts that Nazi programs against the Jewish people were created by the Jewish community.) Wouldn’t all the Jewish people have common cause in being denied access to employment, medical care and education?
Metzger: This is a whole rat’s nest, this whole history here.
They’re (Jews) in key positions, where they do have tremendous power, but that’s not the bulk of the deal. Most of the Jews are working-class Jews. They’re not into anything controversial; they go to synagogue and go home.
Most Jews are less dangerous than the fundamentalist Christians. They might start killing people like they did in the old days. They’re all for killing Muslims. I don't know what they'll do to me right here in this town. There's a church on every corner. I’m more worried about them than the Jews.
Why would they bother you?
Metzger: Listen to my radio show.
Why do you seek power? Don’t you seek power by having a show?
Metzger: I have spent a lifetime in the struggle. But I don’t think anyone that wants power can be trusted. I just want to be put my ideas out there, and if anybody likes it, who cares. There’s no grabbing anybody by the collar and saying you’ve got to follow Tom Metzger.
Do you hate President Obama?
Metzger: No, I don’t hate Obama. I think he’s a “Manchurian Candidate” — they’re using him like a puppet.
How do you celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day?
Metzger: I don’t celebrate it, but I'm happy to see a lot of white people get a day off. I'm more of a supporter of Malcolm X. I never liked Martin Luther King. (Malcolm X) was a straight up black man-- If you don’t give us a break, we'll burn your goddamn town down. That’s the kind of guy I respect. Martin Luther King was a pawn from the very beginning.
Why then do we have a federal holiday named after Dr. King?
Metzger: We do that all the time, the guy’s dead, we don’t worry about him anymore. King fulfilled his purpose, then he went over the line. He was against the Vietnam War. He was killed by the military industrial complex. And Kennedy was, trying to get us out of the Vietnam War.
You know, in the 70s, they showed half the reporters were in the CIA.
If I were in the CIA, I’d drive a nicer car.
Do you feel that there are some Republicans and Democrats that are sympathetic to your views, who won’t acknowledge it?
Metzger: Yes, I know that for a fact. I operate like the lone wolf, with thousands of people out there (anonymously supporting.) I accept that. But I do get awfully tired of the hypocrisy. They offered me power, and I didn’t take it. The Democrats took me to a pool in Palm Springs and said ‘Tom, you can have an amazing career, but you got to get off this KKK thing.’ And the Republicans wanted me to support Ronald Reagan, but I knew what a rat he was. So I told them both no. You’ve got to play the game. But I don’t regret anything.
How do you now feel about the right wing?
Metzger: Most of my life was devoted to the right wing, and it was a waste, it was all a waste. Barry Goldwater, all that. A lot of my views are left wing. I’m anti-capitalist, but because I'm a racial separatist, it’s oh, we could never have anything to do with him. (Minister Farrakhan), I talk with his people. And he did invite me to one of his big meetings back in the eighties.
What do you think about the Charlie Hebdo shooting?
Metzger: If there was really something going on, they’d (target) banks and corporations. Do you believe that if someone went in the office of MAD comic book and blew away some people there’d be leaders from all over the world marching in the street?
So you believe (shadow governments) manipulated people in the Hebdo shooting?
Metzger: It would be easy to do. I’d get them all hopped up on Muhammad, then I’d say, do you realize that Americans hate Muhammad… what are you going to do about it? And you get 39 virgins if you kill somebody. I couldn’t handle 39 virgins. I don’t think I ever handled one. (laughs)
Do you feel that people no longer trust the media, or the government, and are turning to you?
Metzger: I don’t know, I wish they were. A lot of my money comes from mail, not only here but from Europe and Russia. The powers that be want to destroy Russia. (Metzger also stated that he toured Japan and met with top officials there about his racial views.
What about China?
Metzger: They’re not going to make war with us, it’s more likely that we’ll make war with them. The Chinese got big problems with their infrastructure. And here we are with all these battleships over in Southeast Asia. There will be a provocation, of course. Someone will drop a bomb, and we’ll say, oh we’ve gotta go to war with China. It’s all set up out of Wall Street, the financial system.
What kind of music do you like?
Metzger: I like all music, except for hip hop and reggae and things like that. You know, that’s not my music. It’s mostly played by Africans.
Do you like jazz?
You do know that there are a lot of African American musicians in jazz.
Metzger: I don’t know. I listen a lot. In fact, I go to sleep with satellite radio in my ear.
Have you ever thought of retiring from white supremacy?
Metzger: Yes, some of the kids said, ‘Dad why don’t you move to Florida?’
My grandfather was one of the biggest rabble-rousers in this area —a hardcore Democrat. They used to stand out at the barbershop and have fisticuffs. This state has been very volatile. It's in my blood. That’s all I can say. Having fistfights in Congress would be productive. Fox TV would go crazy; they could run that for weeks. The American people would rise up and cheer. The workingman would go crazy.
Are you a neo-Nazi?
You object to the term?
Metzger: It doesn’t mean anything. I’m Tom Metzger, that’s all. Nobody is able to put me in a corner. I’m just myself.
(The following interview took place following the arrest of Dylan Storm Roof, the accused shooter in the massacre at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 15, 2015.)
Did Dylan Storm Roof pay a fee to subscribe to your series?
Metzger: I haven’t heard from this guy, unless he used a phony name and email address.
What do you think of his manifesto?
Metzger: I read it. I even put it up on my website, I republished it on my website. He said what he thought. I agree with most of what he said.
He said he was upset about George Zimmerman being culpable in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Metzger: Yes, Zimmerman wasn’t white. He wasn’t white. We don’t accept him as white. I don’t care about that.
What’s your response to the shooting in the church in Charleston, South Carolina?
Metzger: I’m not surprised. I think there’s going to be a lot more violence on all sides. There’s dozens of people getting murdered all the time. You see a lot of people getting murdered. You get ho-hum about it.
Do you accept any responsibility for advocating a “lone wolf” approach to advance white supremacy?
Metzger: In the broadest sense of the word, he (Roof) was a lone wolf. We have to operate as lone wolves. But you’re no good to me in prison. The drug companies have so much power; they kept the press off their back. I think all those drug companies are culpable.
Are you stating pharmaceutical companies are to blame for the mass shooting? Like Lilly here in Indiana?
Metzger: Yes, the drug companies are turning the whole country into drug addicts. All these shooters, they’re on prescription drugs.
Do you ever receive death threats?
Metzger: I did back in California. Here my neighbors get along with me.
Have you had any contact with Roof?
Metzger: I’m in touch with a lot of guys in prison. If he contacts me, I’d probably write him back. I’d send him a few dollars — I’d send him a book.