Journalists get used to crank mail. I used to work at a magazine where we would routinely get handwritten missives accusing us of spreading Satanism or blaspheming God. But my favorite letter was the guy who wrote in saying he was a successful businessman who loved the magazine, but he had trouble meeting women. He wondered if it would be possible to take a tour of our office to see if any employee of the female persuasion might be interested in a burger and a beer.
Among the spectrum of everyday wackos, a few stand out. At the OC Weekly, that's a faithful correspondent who calls himself H. Millard. He's been writing to us since the Weekly began publishing three years ago; he first came to my attention after I wrote an article on a local boy who had been shot and killed by three assailants armed with a Saturday-night special in New York City. Millard wrote in decrying my focus on junk guns when the real problem, he claimed, was minority criminals attacking white people. There was just one problem with his thesis: the victim was indeed white, but I never said whether the three killers were minorities. It frankly wasn't relevant to the story. But that's Millard: he can find a race war on a playground.
All the local journalists know him as a kook-although the Los Angeles Times has been known to edit his correspondence to make him sound far more rational. (And prolific? In one 12-month period, Millard got nine letters into the Times.) In a letter to the Orange County Business Journal, Millard concluded that Bob Dornan lost to Loretta Sanchez in the 46th Congressional District "because he lacked the Latino bona fides of Sanchez (even though he did eat a taco every once in a while)." We stopped running his letters when he began demanding payment in return for publication.
But overnight, Millard has moved from being a Local Nut Case to National Nut Case-thanks to the World Wide Web.
On Dec. 11, the Washington Post reported on a minor flap involving House Judiciary Committee member Bob Barr Jr. (R-Georgia). Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who had testified in front of the committee about President Bill Clinton's possible impeachment, wrote a letter to Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Illinois) complaining that Barr had in June spoken at a meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a racist, anti-Semitic, good-ol'-boys group that thinks brown people are icky, Lincoln is the devil, and the Confederacy was swell. Barr initially defended his appearance before the council, but he appeared in the Post the following day to repudiate the group's views, saying he was unaware of their racism when he agreed to speak.
To give people a feeling for these racist views, the Post quoted an excerpt from a column on the council's site (www.cofcc.org): "Take 10 bottles of milk to represent all humans on Earth. Nine of them will be chocolate and only one white. Now mix all those bottles together, and you have gotten rid of that troublesome bottle of white milk. There, too, is the way to rid the world of whites. Convince them to mix their few genes with the genes of the many. Genocide via the bedroom chamber is as long-lasting as genocide via war."
The author of these stirring words: H. Millard.
OC Weekly's favorite correspondent (make that the "loopy lefty OC Weekly," as we're identified on the site) has gotten himself a regular gig warning the world about the dangers of miscegenation. When he's not snarling about Clinton's conspiracy to create a "tan Everyman," he's screaming about "GOP yuppie elites" who are so out-of-touch with their party that they think the way to win is to court minority voters. (This is silly, actually. The way for the GOP to win votes is to bash minorities vigorously. Just look at the most recent election results-oh, that's right.)
Before Millard vaulted onto the national stage in the Washington Post, though, his disdain for anyone whose skin isn't lily-white had already brought him to the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization that was founded to combat civil-rights injustices and keep an eye on hate groups-specifically the Klan. The SPLC released a report on the CCC on Dec. 17 documenting how the group attracts support from conservative politicians by hiding its ties to white supremacists. The report ended with a quote DeWest Hooker -who identified himself as the best friend of American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell-gave from the podium of a meeting the Washington chapter of CCC held earlier this month: "Be a Nazi, but don't use the word."
The report disclosed that Millard is a featured columnist for CCC's main publication, Citizen's Informer. Here's what he recently wrote about the likely effects of immigration and intermarriage: "What will emerge will be just a slimy brown mass of glop. The genocide being carried out against white people hasn't come with marching armies; instead, it has come with propaganda that is calculated to brainwash whites into happily and willingly jumping into the Neo-Melting Pot, and to their destruction."
In the course of doing research for the paper, the SPLC's Trish O'Kane began looking into Millard. And what she didn't find is interesting. "I don't know who he is," she said. "I couldn't find him. A friend of mine at the LA Times did some checking-he couldn't find him. I spoke to Ken Grubbs [former editorial-page director at The Orange County Register], who told me he'd never met him but that the newsroom had traced him to a box at a MailBoxes Etc."
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The phone number Millard put on his recent letters to the Weekly belongs to a company called American Spectrum Real Estate, but the extension he listed is invalid, and apparently, no one ever answers the phone there (I called repeatedly over the course of several days). There is no H. Millard listed with the state, and O'Kane said there is no Millard listed on the company's incorporation papers.
Not even the folks at the CCC, who make his work available to the world, know who he is. Web site coordinator William Rolen said Millard initially contacted them, that their only contact has been by e-mail, and that he has never spoken to his own columnist.
So if you're out there, H., don't be a stranger. Get in touch with us, and let us know what's happening in your life. Because I'll be honest with you: it looks kind of bad when a man who spends his time bashing the majority of the world's population hides behind a fake phone number and a P.O. box while spreading his vitriol worldwide over the Internet.
Bash Wyn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send her your nominations for OC's best and worst Web sites.