A rash of anti-minority hate posters slapped up on telephone poles downtown -- and illegally inserted into copies of the Independent -- have some in the city wondering if Colorado Springs is home to a new, well-organized white hate group.
The answer: probably not.
Most of the postering is the work of one man who identifies himself via e-mail as Robert Miles, a supporter of the West Virginia-based white separatist group, the National Alliance.
Though the Alliance openly calls for creating a whites-only homeland by whatever means necessary, Miles claims he is not motivated by hate.
"We are sometimes called 'haters,' yet nothing could be further from the truth," Miles said in an e-mail message to the Independent. "I am personally motivated by a love for my race and a desire to see it achieve its potential."
Such comments are a trademark of the National Alliance, which has sought to put a friendlier, less violent and more mainstream face on the white supremacy movement.
But Alliance literature reveals a darker picture: a thinly veiled attack on other races as less intelligent, peaceful and "decent" than whites, as well as an open call for white people to "root out" what it calls Negroid and Semitic influences in American culture.
Miles claims that he and an unspecified number of supporters have distributed some 2,500 National Alliance posters around the city, particularly at area colleges and high schools.
"Our posters have appeared all over town, and our efforts in the high schools, especially at Palmer, have been successful beyond our expectations," said Miles, who claims to have supporters at certain unspecified high schools and at Colorado College.
Indeed, several National Alliance posters have been recently sighted and pulled down at various locations, including on the Colorado College campus and in the largely African-American Hillside neighborhood. (College officials say they've seen no evidence of student hate groups, however.)
Still more fliers were discovered at Wild Oats, a natural-foods store on North Academy Boulevard. There, the fliers were illegally inserted into several dozen copies of the Independent.
"I was flipping through to see what my horoscope said, and I saw this flier," said Eduardo Brummel, the manager on duty at Wild Oats at the time. "I read through, and by the time I got halfway through, I realized, 'Oh, my God.'"
They were also discovered by Wild Oats customer and Independent reader, Carol Bowles-Tyndale. "I crumpled it up, I thought it was so disgusting," she said. "I'm a member of the [anti-racist watchdog group] Southern Poverty Law Center, and this kind of thing gives me the chills."
The posters, generated by the National Alliance, masquerade as a missing-child poster. Under the banner "Missing" is a picture of a wide-eyed, blond-haired girl in pigtails.
"Description: Blond or brown hair, fair skin; innocent, inquisitive, intelligent, trusting personality," the text reads. "Her future has been abducted by corrupt politicians and minority special-interest groups."
The ploy has been used in cities around the country to sucker local passersby into taking a minute to stop and read the text.
But if Miles has organized a flank of new Aryan youth in Colorado Springs, it's news to Denver Alliance member Lycia Musgrave, who said she was only aware of Miles' work but not of any other supporters or members in the Colorado Springs area.
Musgrave said she's so far been unsuccessful in organizing even one statewide chapter of Alliance members, adding that she was attracted to what she termed the Alliance's non-violent approach to white pride.
"The Alliance approaches this from a rational manner," she said. "They're not bashing people over the head. They're a non-violent group working to educate people to making them more aware."
But how does the Alliance intend to obtain and enforce its desired whites-only homeland? National Alliance founder William Pierce skirted that question.
"I have said many times that ultimately we will use whatever measures we have to use," said Pierce, who would not be specific about the meaning of "whatever measures."
Does it mean relocating minorities by force if they don't up and leave when asked politely by racists to vacate?
"That's a pretty hypothetical question. I do not know what will happen. As the flood of non-white immigrants pour into the country, there will be more and more conflict, more and more friction and unhappiness. I don't know ultimately how it will be resolved."
Underneath the veneer, however, there are plenty of examples of Pierce's violent vision for the future. Aside from being linked to a group of violent Aryan separatists who robbed banks in the 1980s, and other racist groups that promote genocide against Jews, here's what he wrote in fellow racist Tom Metzger's magazine WAR in August of 1990.
"It is clear that if most White males would respond to their rage in a direct, physical way, as skinheads do, then we would have no race problem, no Jewish problem, no homosexual problem and no problem with White race traitors in America. Our cities would be clean, decent, safe, and White once again after a relatively brief period of bloodletting."