When Everyone is Conspiring with Someone

Here’s a thing I’ve been thinking about when looking at the Hattie Cotton bombing specifically. There are a lot of weird details–so, after the bombing, the guys who were driving around the two KKK cars the day before are arrested. Wire generally matching the wire used on the bomb is found in both cars. One car also has a huge stash of weapons.

Meanwhile, two KKK members have run to the FBI to tell them that they saw segregationist John Kasper with a few sticks of dynamite and some jars of nitroglycerine which one of them helped him hide in an abandoned house, but when they took the FBI to the house, there was no dynamite.

Also, a box of dynamite had recently been stolen, which the police were later able to determine wasn’t the same dynamite used in the Hattie Cotton bombing.

And the Hattie Cotton bomb was probably a box of dynamite.

So, the amount of dynamite that Kasper had was not enough to have been the Hattie Cotton bomb.

Also, Kasper had a lot of KKK friends, but he himself does not appear to have been a KKK member and, in fact, some leadership in the local KKK vehemently disliked him.

So, some folks believe that the two KKK guys ran to the FBI as kind of a sacrifice of themselves to focus attention on Kasper and off the KKK.

But I want to just step back and focus on what the facts as we have them, assuming all these stories are true, are. We have: the dynamite used to blow up the school; another similar amount of dynamite that’s gone missing; a smaller amount of dynamite Kasper had; two different cars with blasting wire, and a bunch of arrested by the police or detained by the FBI KKK members.

And let me be clear that this is all speculation and I’m very, very early on in my reporting, and I could change my mind.

But doesn’t it suggest that they may have been planning to blow up more than one target? That there was more than one bomb?

Another thing I find curious is that, in the early 80s, a woman with a 30-year-long association with the Klan was arrested and convicted for a plot to blow up The Temple here in town. Back in the 50s, after the JCC blew up, the “Confederate Underground” called a local rabbi and told him The Temple was next.

But no one seems to have made that connection. Which suggests to me that either they must have had a pretty good idea of who did the bombing and thus she didn’t need to be asked about it, because they knew she was/wasn’t involved, or they had decided the JCC bombing was unsolvable for some reason and thus didn’t bother asking her about it.

But it’s weird to me. If you know The Temple was on the wish-list of white supremacists in 58 and you have before you a woman you’ve just arrested for purchasing a bomb to use on the Temple in 80 (or possibly 81–I don’t have my notes in front of me) and all her friends are like “Yep, she’s been in the Klan for 30 years,” how do you not ask her if she was part of the group that wanted to blow up The Temple 20 years ago?

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