Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Klan vs. Klan

Bodies with gaping wounds, some bayoneted through the eyes, some with skulls beaten through, others with hideous wounds as if their bowels had been ripped open with bowie-knives, plainly told that but little quarter was shown to our troops. Strewn from the fort to the river bank, in the ravines and hollows, behind logs and under the brush where they had crept for protection from the assassins who pursued them, we found bodies bayoneted, beaten, and shot to death, showing how cold-blooded and persistent was the slaughter of our unfortunate troops.
Witness to Fort Pillow Massacre

How should one react upon learning that one Klansman accidentally shot another during a bizarre initiation ritual complete with nooses, paint ball and real bullets? I for one just laughed out loud.

The Klan was founded in Pulaski, Tennessee by Nathan Bedford Forest. Forest made a fortune selling slaves and became a general for the Confederacy. He massacred white and black Union soldiers after they surrendered at Fort Pillow, which was located near Jackson, Tennessee. White soldiers were murdered, but black soldiers, particularly those with the rank of sergeant, were singled out for butchery. They were nailed to logs and burned alive. It is indeed ironic that this Klan shooting incident also occurred in Tennessee.

The Confederacy considered captured black soldiers to be fugitive slaves who had no rights traditionally accorded to prisoners. Union leaders such as Secretary of War Stanton and Secretary of State Seward wanted to execute an equal number of Confederate POWs but Lincoln denied the request. The Confederate refusal to treat black and white POWs alike resulted in the end of prisoner exchanges, which resulted in conditions at prisons such as Andersonville.

I never wanted to belong to any group that required initiation. I shake my head when I read that someone forced to chug too much beer died in an attempt to join omega kappa phoolish. Who wants to belong to the Klan, an organization filled with racist losers. A racist and loser of course.

We do need to be reminded that everyone did not accept the changes brought about by the civil rights movement. There are many racist losers in our society. Most of them are harmless, but lest we forget, Timothy McVeigh also joined the Klan. In 1995 168 Americans found out the hard way that this man may have been a loser, but he was far from harmless.

Read more about Fort Pillow here.