State police plan visit to Finksburg over fliers

Racist literature left in newspaper boxes at two homes in community

July 09, 1999|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Racist fliers left at two Finksburg homes -- proclaiming "Revolution!" by the World Church of the Creator -- have prompted the commander of the Westminster state police barracks to schedule a visit to the community this month.

Only two copies of the flier have surfaced, Lt. Terry Katz said yesterday. Left in newspaper boxes, one copy was faxed to and one was left at the barracks earlier this week by anonymous residents. State troopers working a series of shed burglaries in Finksburg, Sykesville and Eldersburg have been asking about the fliers but have not found any others.

"We have a very good idea who put it out, but it's not a crime," unless perhaps the person trespassed, Katz said. The activity is protected by the First Amendment, "and the First Amendment is something I would not change: You get the good with the bad."

The meeting July 22 with the Finksburg Planning Area Council "is more to reassure the community," he said. "I don't think that anyone believes that Finksburg is a hotbed of bias."

"I'm certainly very disappointed that something like that showed up in our community," said Donald E. Hoffman, president of the Finksburg Planning Area Council. "We will work with the Maryland State Police in whatever manner they see fit to address this problem -- this issue.

"I don't want to even call it a problem, because I think that gives credence to the misdeeds of what I hope is one or two people," said Hoffman, who didn't know anyone who had received the flier.

In February, similar papers were placed on windshields at Westminster High School, Katz noted. A young adult and two juveniles attempted to pass them out at Western Maryland College until they were informed by campus police that they were trespassing, he said. They left -- after picking up their papers, he said.

But that was before Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, who went on a deadly shooting spree this month in the Midwest, was identified as a former member of the World Church of the Creator. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles called it the fastest-growing white supremacist organization in the United States.

The Finksburg fliers give the group's address inEast Peoria, Ill. and Worldwide Web site.

The Church of the Creator rants about "mud races" and insists that Jesus was Aryan, Katz said. It attracts "young disaffected racists, anti-immigrant and unskilled. They are given instructions about how to hand out leaflets, so if they are stopped by the police, they comply."

"I'm not saying we don't have people in Carrroll County that have views about race that aren't mainstream," he said, "but not like this group. "

Like Hoffman, Finksburg resident Laura M. O'Callaghan said she didn't know anyone who had received the flier.

"I think that perhaps we can only say, `Why do hateful actions like this ever occur, any place?' " she said. "It's a shame that they do -- and it's important for the community to let individuals know that this is not acceptable in our community. That is the quickest way to end this kind of activity," she said.

"It is so warped, and there are so many better ways to spend your time and energy," she said. "Why not spend your energy on something positive, something that would make the world a better place?"

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