Orange County has its fair share of haters, racists and hater/racist skinheads thanks to the Hitler lovers of Anaheim, the Mexican bashers of Costa Mesa, the assorted white supremacists of Black Star Canyon, the Republican Central Committee of Orange County and haters and racists and supremacists and Hitler lovers and Mexican bashers and hater/racist skinheads of Huntington Beach (and, yes, not all skinheads are hater/racists, so hold that comment).
Oh, yes, there's a whole lot of hating going on around here, but we've apparently got nothing on our neighbors to the east in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Inland Empire? More like Inland Fourth Reich, as John Asbury reports in today's Riverside Press-Enterprise :
Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, said he believes the Inland area has the largest number of hate groups in the United States.
"When you look at the sheer number of groups in the Inland Empire to begin with, it is significant," he said.
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Among the hate groups are: War Skins, Western Hammerskins, Inland Empire Skinheads, Berdoo Skinhead Family, Public Enemy No. 1 (PEN1) and the C.O.O.R.S. Family Skins (Comrades Of Our Racial Struggle). And the National Socialist Party, which gave the world those nasty Nazis, has just started up in the I.E. within the past year.
Meanwhile, California is pegged as the No. 1 hate state ahead of Texas (84 known hate groups to 66--we win in a landside!) by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Bigots, racists and supremacists are finding new support due to anger over the economy, immigration and the election of the first black president in U.S. history.
"If you look at the election of the first black president and the state of the economy being what it is today, with unemployment at an all-time high, these types of things are kind of a perfect storm for these feelings to foment and for white supremacists to feel validated," said Joanna Mendelson, California investigative researcher for the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights advocacy group.
In addition to concerns about membership going up, Inland agencies are seeing a few of the groups become more sophisticated and violent, developing criminal organizations that don't just target minorities but are also branching into drugs and weapons trafficking. Those activities are easier to conceal in remote regions like some parts of the Inland area, said Mendelson and Inland authorities.
Perhaps a silver lining could be the fact that people with similar world views like being around one another. Add the huge stock of cheap housing, biker bars and meth trailers, and the I.E. becomes an attractive relocation spot for Orange County's assorted haters. Go on, Jungs, the oppressive heat and smog are fine!