"The Kids Got In The Way"

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And then, in the early 1990s, Furrow was drawn into a club that was perfect for someone who had never really fit anywhere else. He joined the Aryan Nations, an organization of neo-Nazi white supremacists founded in the mid-1970s by former aeronautical engineer Richard Butler near Hayden Lake, Idaho. Butler based the group on the religious doctrine of Christian Identity, established in Los Angeles in the late 1940s by an anti-Semitic rabble rouser named Wesley Swift. Christian Identity holds that white Aryans are the authentic lost tribes of Israel, the true descendants of Adam and Eve. Jews of the modern world, on the other hand, are impostors--the spawn of Satan's union with Eve. Thus Jews, in the words of Swift, "must be destroyed." All other non-Anglo-Saxon peoples are beasts, "mud people."

From that version of biblical history, Butler and a man named Richard Kelly Hoskins crafted an ideology that serves as a grim elixir of anti-Semitism and racism. While Butler is the center of the organization, Hoskins has provided a skein of quasi-scholarly justifications for the movement, covering history, economics and mythology. Hoskins, a former securities dealer living in Virginia, insisted in a statement last week that he does not advocate violence. Yet his book War Cycles/Peace Cycles, a copy of which was found in the van Furrow drove to Los Angeles last week, discusses the necessity of assassinating national leaders.

Another of nearly a dozen white-supremacist tomes by Hoskins is even more incendiary. Vigilantes of Christendom: The Story of the Phineas Priesthood urges followers to copy the biblical Phineas, who, in the 25th chapter of the Book of Numbers, kills an Israelite man for an interracial marriage. In return Phineas is granted the covenant of an everlasting priesthood, for zealously upholding the creed of his God. According to the current doctrine, Phineas Priests earn membership by killing or maiming homosexuals, Jews and anyone who is not white. There is no organization of Phineas Priests. In fact the order's conceit is that men act alone--not unlike the shooters in several historic episodes, including the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers--just as Furrow did last week.

Furrow steeped himself in the teachings of Hoskins and Christian Identity and may have believed he had a calling to be a "priest." By 1994 he had distinguished himself as a member of Butler's security detail at Hayden Lake, and he was courting Debra Mathews, the widow of white supremacist Robert Mathews, who died in 1984 during a 36-hour gun battle with federal agents on Whidbey Island, Wash. Mathews was the founder of the Order, a radical offshoot of Aryan Nations believed to be responsible for a series of bombings and murders, including that of Denver radio talk-show host Alan Berg in 1984. Mathews' gang financed its campaign of violence with a string of highly successful robberies that netted an estimated $4 million.

Half of that money was never recovered, and according to some Aryan Nations members, that may have been a factor in Furrow's pursuit of Mathews' widow. In any case, he moved in with her in 1994 and took a job at LaDuke and Fogle, a machinery-repair shop in Colville, 50 miles south of Metaline Falls, Wash., where Mathews lived with her son Clint, 17. The following year, in a ceremony complete with engraved invitations and traditional wedding dress, Aryan Nations chief Butler married them at the Aryan Nations headquarters. The only thing missing from the ceremony was a license from the state, an institution that the newlyweds (and their pastor) despised. Though she was against killing, Debra Mathews was deep into the Aryan Nations brand of Scripture. "When I told her Jesus was a Jew," says Meda Van Dyke, 82, a neighbor, "she blew her stack." Mathews also told Van Dyke that "she wouldn't marry anyone but a white supremacist." Furrow fit the bill.

Some former Aryan Nations lieutenants suggest that Furrow, who had always asked questions about Mathews' missing millions, had not married for love. Dan Villers, Furrow's boss at LaDuke and Fogle, says Furrow later boasted he'd found some of the money--once when it blew out of the eaves of a shed and again in the bottom of a survivalist food barrel. The loose cash may help explain how he was able last week to pay $4,000 for the van he drove to Los Angeles and the taxi fare to Las Vegas.

Nonetheless, Furrow's brief stab at a stable domestic life faltered. "Neal wanted her to become completely submissive, like a trained dog," says Van Dyke. Though he was generally liked in Metaline Falls, Furrow drew the ire of locals when at one point, pistol strapped to his waist, he confronted a logging crew overseen by Van Dyke's son, asking whether any "n______" were working there. "Not today, maybe tomorrow," the crew replied scornfully. Debra Mathews was reportedly furious because her husband had "stirred up" the loggers, who thought of bringing their own guns in to work.

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