I was digging into Emmett Carr some yesterday, a minor figure in the bombing story, and I’m struck by how much his active racist life–meaning, the time in which he made the papers–seemed to be about trying to be a big man. He was a Klan leader–the Grand Titan of Middle Tennessee–and he was trying to start up a Pro-Southerners group and then he broke away from the Klan and joined some other Klan. And he ran for State Senate. And he ran to the media every chance he got.
I kind of see him in the vein of Donald Davidson. Davidson and Carr seemed to believe in the front of their minds that white people were superior to black people, in general. But somewhere, in the backs of their minds, because they hadn’t risen to the level of prominence they wanted, in other words, because they were only above average, couldn’t an extraordinary black person, if given a level playing field, surpass them?
So, by god, the playing field must be kept uneven.
But there’s another group of people in this bombing story who are violent scary assholes in many facets of their lives and so also violent scary racists. These folks leave a trail larger and longer than just their racist activism.
So, you have guys like Carr running around screaming, metaphorically, “I’m important! I’m important! Treat me like I’m important!” And then you have these other guys being all, “You’re going to be sorry.”
They feed into each other. The “I’m important!” guys will happily stand at the front of a crowd of “You’re going to be sorry”s. And the “You’re going to be sorry” guys are glad to have someone point them in the direction of some people who need to be sorry.
And I think there are rare cases, like with Stoner, where a person could be both.
But I’m looking for the traces of those “You’re going to be sorry” guys. So, after everything, I felt like I’d wasted a lot of time on Carr.