Klan Casts Shadow Over Jasper

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JASPER, Texas: Just when Jasper thought it had gotten over the horrendous killing last week in which three white men are accused of dragging a black man two miles to his death, along comes the KKK. Klansmen plan to hold a rally at the sawmill town's courthouse on June 27, a mere two weeks after the funeral of James Byrd Jr. While their appearance is the height of bad taste, and does not represent anything like the majority opinion in this racially mixed environment, City Attorney Gary Gatlin says he can't stop the white-robed ones from showing up. “They said we’re going to give you the assurance we’re not wanting to bring any guns, we’re not going to use the n-word, we’re not going to be doing anything to incite riots or anything like that,” he said.

The Klan's past record suggests otherwise. But in accepting this more irksome instance of free speech, Jasper can take strength from its numbers. More than 500 attended Byrd's funeral; so far, only 20 Klansmen plan to show.