50 years ago today, Israel attacked the USS Liberty.

https://grapplepodcast.atavist.com/grappling-with-racial-tension

Our very own Steve Smith was interviewed by Keystone Crossroads Emily Previti.

Click on the link above and check out Part 2 at the 13:40 mark.

Keystone United, then known as Keystone State Skinheads, ties its launch and wider recognition to a 2001 demonstration provoked by the race riots trials in the city of York. 

Founded in Harrisburg, the organization remains one of the largest active in Pennsylvania, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The group changed its name to avoid the association with violent groups that “go after nonwhites for no reason whatsoever,” said spokesman Steve Smith.

“That’s just wrong and not what we’re about,” he said.

The name change also came after multiple members were charged with violent hate crimes, including Smith himself.

He did two months in prison for his involvement in a hate crime involving other KSS members against a black man in Scranton in 2003.

Smith has been adamant he was a bystander, that there wasn’t physical harm to the victim and that he pleaded guilty to simple assault (rather than terrorist threats) to avoid harsher penalties and a greater expense.

Smith said Keystone United, which he joined 15 years ago at age 30, is less extreme than other groups he’s previously been affiliated with, including the Aryan Nations, NAAWP, and KKK, which he joined at 19 years old.

“I was young and angry. I knew what was happening to my area: high levels of nonwhite crime, violent crime,” he said.

Asked about racial tension, Smith cited similar underlying causes for current problems in his community of Pittston, Luzerne County, more than 25 years later.

Smith is originally from Chester County but moved to Northeastern Pennsylvania in 2006 when the area was undergoing major demographic shifts that continue today.

He said people associate the increasing diversification with an increase in violent crime, pointing to a spike in violence the city of Hazleton during 2000-2014. 

In Wilkes-Barre, the county’s largest city, the increase in violent incidents in the county was more dramatic in the 1990s, more than 70 percent, then all but leveled out over the course of the following decade, when the area’s minority populations really surged. The pattern is similar in Hanover Township and the city of Kingston,  according to a Keystone Crossroads analysis of FBI Uniform Crime Reports and U.S. Census statistics.

In Nanticoke, trends were similar to Hazleton, but the violent crime rate there has been down since 2010.

The area also has been struggling economically for decades. Over the past several years, the region’s recovery from the recession has been relatively slow, according to a Keystone Crossroads analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau and Labor Statistics.

Smith said he does not know what else might be at play, but that the nature of racial tension complicates finding solutions to what he sees as associated problems.

“People are afraid to speak publicly about these issues. That’s what’s probably causing this racial tension more so than just violent crime: the fact that people can’t openly speak about it without being labeled,” he said. “They don’t want to speak out about it because of the stigma. If you’re white and you speak out on behalf of your people, you are labeled these term buzzwords like racist and white supremacist.”

Smith is in his second term as a committeeman in the Luzerne County Republican Party. Fellow Keystone United member Ryan Wojtowicz is in his first term in the same role in a different district.

Smith said he is not aware of anyone else in elected office in Pennsylvania, currently, who shares their agenda, openly or not; and did not have specifics on plans to achieve the group’s goal of electing more people who are pro-white.

He also would not say how many people belong to Keystone United, other than membership is at its peak.

Smith says Luzerne County has a relatively high concentration of members, along with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. But he says the group’s stronghold is in Central Pennsylvania, which includes the cities of Harrisburg, Lancaster, and York.

http://www.sungazette.com/opinion/letters/2017/05/all-history-is-relevant/

A small article that made it in the Sun-Gazette.

America, land of the free because of the brave! War is a precarious and fickle time, when lines are drawn, sides chosen and families torn! Men, selfless enough to heed the call enduring more than most could imagine for those they’ll never meet is what this nation was founded on! Such sacrifice should forever be acknowledged, regardless of personal opinion! History is that from which we learn, not to eradicate! In recent months, witch hunts led by liberals have methodically cherry picked parts of our American Civil War history! Confederate monuments and memorials standing for over 100 years, stand no more!

All to appease those who run from truth and an honest discussion! What happened to the America where differing opinions could find reasonable solutions? Liberals in agreement with destroying such artifacts not only disrespect the legacy of 300,000 Confederate soldiers who gave their lives but that it was Union general and 18th president, Ulysses S.Grant, who owned slaves, not Robert E. Lee!

Learning history favorable to your opinion while ignoring all else does a disservice to your intelligence and ability to grow as a person! How can some dictate what’s best for us all in a free nation? If erasing history not “acceptable” to some is so easy, why stop there? Where does that leave people like myself, who feel it necessary to preserve not erase our nation’s history? To politicize the most divisive time in American history and to choose sides is the very reason all history is relevant! If we know not the mistakes of generations past, we’re doomed to repeat such tragedy!

Patrick Rogers

Williamsport

 

For more information contact KeystoneState2001@gmail.com

We found it humorous that they failed to mention that the stickers read No Drugs On Our streets. We can only assume it doesn’t fit into their narrative.

Click on the link to check out the full story.

http://www.phillymag.com/news/2017/05/09/white-supremacist-flyers-temple-campus/?amp=1

 

Music Credit: Through Fire We Ride, Jason Augustus