Hate should have no home on Grays Harbor

Hate needs to be driven out as soon as it appears.

Hate showed up in the parking lot at The Daily World Tuesday afternoon in the form of a flyer from the Aryan Freedom Network, which also runs a white supremacist website.

“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children,” stated the flyer, which one of my colleagues found on the pavement outside. The flyer was in a sealed, clear plastic bag with about a tablespoon of white rice, possibly to weigh it down so it didn’t blow away.

To me, that says it wasn’t just some troll looking to offend. Another newsroom colleague doubted it was a troll. Even if that were the case, it would be a major problem.

A hateful act by itself since no one here asked for information from the racist cause, the flyer ends with the phrase “distributed randomly without malicious intent.” It’s a curious phrase since when I found out about it, I immediately identified it as hateful. I then asked why it was here and was told another colleague had been told to investigate it. Ok, good. He has no patience for that sort of evil, so I’m sure he’ll go full-bore on that investigation.

While some might say “it was just a flyer,” this isn’t my first time dealing with racism.

In high school I was “friends” with two other students who flipped that “friendship” into something awful where I, and the school, had to involve the law.

I was hanging out with those two idiots one day and randomly, one of them said “Hitler was right.” I gave a cross look, asked what the hell he meant by that and then said he couldn’t have been more wrong. He admitted he was referring to Hitler’s “Final Solution” in the same way someone admits to a bad sports take.

Then he laughed. The other student laughed. The next day, things got uglier.

Back then, MySpace was the social media website high school students used since Facebook at that time barely existed. Even so, Facebook was only for college students.

They sent me a message. While I don’t remember it word-for-word and the site hasn’t been online for years, they called me anti-Semitic slurs thinking I was Jewish. They called me anti-LGBTQ slurs, thinking I was gay. And they denigrated my speech impediment with all-caps and repeated letters to try and mimic my speech pattern, which was worse in high school. Seventeen years after this happened, it’s clear to me that I’ll remember this for the rest of my life. And then they made it worse.

I was supposed to graduate that spring. High school graduates there received signs from the school that said “Congratulations” and then whatever the student’s name was. It was a two-sided sign. I walked home as I always did and when I arrived, I saw the sign, posted on my front lawn, flipped to the other side with the message “JEW BOY.” The sign was complete with the Star of David poorly drawn in between the two words. Remembering the message they left me on MySpace — one of the cretins had his face as his MySpace profile photo — I messaged them back. I remember reading part of the reply: “How do you like our handiwork?” I remember they used more hate speech throughout that message and insulted my speech impediment again. I was incensed. I wanted to bring vengeance for their hate crimes.

The only problem is trying to root out hate with hate isn’t the best strategy. Plus, I’m not much of a fighter and they were bigger than me. What was I going to do? Try to fight them and end up in the hospital? No. Instead, I carried the graduation sign with me to school. I also brought the messages they left me with the ignoramus’ face — his profile photo — for proof. The school asked if I wanted to press charges and I did. A prosecuting attorney soon contacted me, let me know the process and I told my parents. They knew I wanted to see the students get punished. They didn’t think it was a good idea for me to go through that whole process. I don’t understand why. Maybe they were fearful for what those two poor excuses for humanity would do to me. I wound up not showing up to the courthouse despite being invited to provide a victim statement about their behavior to the judge.

The problem with that is I wound up finding out their punishment, or lack thereof, was they each had to write a 20-page essay about the Holocaust, over the summer. I wish I had seen them through the law process. I was within my right.

And now, after finding out about Tuesday’s incident, I hope this person or cause is rooted out and dealt with immediately. Hate, especially this kind, shouldn’t exist on Grays Harbor, nor anywhere else.

Contact Reporter Matthew N. Wells at matthew.wells@thedailyworld.com.