The latest wildfire spreading through the media and blogosphere is that armed neo-Nazis are patrolling Sanford, FL, in anticipation of trouble if George Zimmerman is not charged in the killing of Trayvon Martin. In what has become a prime example of media malpractice, none of the major publications spreading the rumors bothered to check with local law enforcement. I did, and the Sanford Police deny any indication of neo-Nazi patrols.
It all started with this blog post in The Miami New Times, Armed Neo-Nazis Now Patrolling Sanford, Say They Are “Prepared” For Post-Trayvon Martin Violence:
Neo-Nazis are currently conducting heavily armed patrols in and around Sanford, Florida and are “prepared” for violence in the case of a race riot. The patrols are to protect “white citizens in the area who are concerned for their safety” in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting last month, says Commander Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement. “We are not advocating any type of violence or attacks on anybody, but we are prepared for it,” he says. “We are not the type of white people who are going to be walked all over.”
Because nothing diffuses racial tension like gun-toting racial separatists patrolling an already on-edge community….
The patrols are comprised of between 10 and 20 locals and “volunteers” from across the state, including some from Miami, he added. He couldn’t go into specifics on what kind of firepower, exactly, the patrols had with them.
The blog post quotes someone from a supposed neo-Nazi group in Detroit, and contains photos of armed patrols not in Sanford, but in Arizona. The author of the blog post provides no confirmation that such patrols actually are taking place.
The blog post already has generated over 1100 comments, and was picked up with reckless abandon by the usual suspects, including Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs:
You know all that rhetoric about “race war” that’s showing up at Breitbart.com and many other right wing sites these days? It’s not just rhetoric. There are some people in Sanford, Florida right now who are taking it very seriously indeed
And Pam Spaulding at Firedoglake:
And the right wing said it wasn’t about race (on their side), didn’t they? Neo-Nazis have never been affiliated with the left; they’ve always been on the fringe anarchist/chaos/gov’t overthrow wing of the GOP, because there’s no way these white supremacists would vote Dem. After all, that party is polluted with black, brown…you know, the Mud People….
I thought the police department was there to protect all of Sanford’s citizens (when it’s not torpedoing its own bad police work/f’ing up cases involving black folks as victims), but as there’s nothing like having this paramilitary crowd with strong views on race stepping in to do the job. You know, like the KKK, it’s not intimidating at all.
A writer at Mediaite joined in:
And just so we’re clear, the Neo-Nazis have no official position on the Martin case, because remember, George Zimmerman isn’t even white. But the Neo-Nazi commander is trying to assure everyone that they are trying to protect everyone, because “if something were to touch off a race riot, we’d already be in the area.”
Well said! Because whenever there’s a race riot, my first question is always, “Where are the armed racists when you need them? They’ll put a stop to all this violence!”
It even has spread to The NY Daily News: