They don't look the same. Members of Al-Qaeda and the Aryan Nation. One group is often clean shaven, including their heads. The other bearded and turbaned. They are both here and they are both dangerous. No matter how they look.
As much as northern Idaho likes to believe the Aryans have moved on since the demise of their leader, Richard Butler, many of us know the mentality, if not the persona, is still alive and well.
A headline in Saturday's Coeur d'Alene Press brought it home like a slap in the face. Aryan protesters interrupt speech. Much has been written locally about how the movement has been defeated. How they are now headquartered in Lexington, South Carolina. Well, they may be headquartered there but they obviously still have a presence here!
I hope we are not hiding our heads in the sand. The most recent article tells of how the group is promoting a leaderless, decentralized movement. The Aryans or Al-Qaeda? It goes on to tell of how it upholds a policy of absolute hostility to "all mechanation's of anti-_____ forces." Al-Qaeda or Aryan?
With a motto that states "Violence solves everything", which group says their kind around the world will now act as "autonomous cells" and are waiting for some sort of signal to start a war? Who is learning from whom?
An FBI agent doubts the Aryans have the ability to operate sleeper cells. Should we be quick to assume he is correct? Al-Qaeda has been and is still here. We hear over and over that subliminal messages are being transmitted every time one of the Afghan cave dwellers appears on Al Jazeera television.
We're told over and over they are here planning new attacks. That's why all we white, 60 something grandmothers suffer the indignities that we do to travel by plane. So why should I believe another group that crawls from beneath their rocks to remind us they're harder to get rid of than cockroaches are any less able to rally to the cause of their hate?
Signs, slogans and human rights groups are all fine and dandy. So far, however, I don't see any particular success in the bid to exterminate these groups. They have rights too and that has given them the leeway to operate.
If our phone calls and mail and library habits can be scrutinized secretly by our own government so that these groups can be tracked, I'd like to hear about some positive results.
Al-Qaeda and the Aryans need to be in "cells" all right. But not the kind of which they speak.