News reports this evening revealed that two men met during the last month over the Internet to plan a suicide mission that would result in a mass killing of Americans and an assassination of Senator Barack Obama with guns they planned to steal from a gun dealer and a sawed-off shotgun and three hand guns they already possessed.
The FBI, the ATF, the Secret Service, and state and local authorities in Tennessee are investigating charges against Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of Helena-West Helena, Ark, two self-described nazi skinheads.
Cowart – appropriately named – and his alleged accomplice, Schlesselman planned to kill 88 people, including 14 African-Americans by beheading, according to AP reports. ATF reports state that the two nazis expected to “get killed trying.”
The Anti-Defamation League explains that the numbers 14 and 88 are symbolic among hate groups like neo-nazis. The eighth letter in the alphabet, H, is repeated to represent the phrase “Heil Hitler.” The other number reflects a 14-word statement popular among white supremacists: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
Fortunately for the existence of Americans in general, Cowart and Schlesselman’s plot was disrupted. They are charged with possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer, and threatening a candidate for president. The investigation is continuing, and more charges are possible, said Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives.
Its worth noting that the Anti-Defamation League has monitored “a significant and troubling resurgence of racist skinhead activity” during the past five years across most sections of the country. The ADL, which was founded in 1913 to “anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all”, has established what is called the Racist Skinhead Project as part of their work to end extremism in the U.S.
The ADL’s site explains that “This renewed growth of racist skinhead activity includes a rise in the number of organized racist skinhead groups as well as a rise in the number of “independent” or unaffiliated racist skinheads. It also includes a rise in the amount of skinhead-related criminal activity, primarily hate crimes but also including a few attempted acts of terrorism.”