Under the burning cross

February 28, 2009

klan2I see by the papers that the Nebraska Supreme Court came down on the side of common sense this week by upholding the dismissal of a state police officer who joined a branch of the Ku Klux Klan. The subject of the ruling, Robert Henderson, joined the Knights Party in 2004 and resigned in 2006. He joined in the first place because his wife left him for a Latino man. Henderson, I gather, was not a student of logic. His defense contends that the court has brushed aside Henderson’s First Amendment rights – an interesting argument to make on behalf of a man whose own view of other folks’ rights is, to put it mildly, suspect. That, of course, wouldn’t justify mitigating his citizenship, but the state’s position isn’t that Henderson couldn’t belong to the Klan, but that he couldn’t belong to the Klan and be a sworn law-enforcement officer. Presumably, Nebraska also wouldn’t want a police officer to join a group that promotes pedophilia. The objection from his defense that Henderson strictly kept his racial views to himself while he was on duty somehow isn’t reassuring. One would rather that Henderson wore his hood on duty so that a black or Latino motorist stopped on a dark stretch of highway would know what and whom he was dealing with. This case isn’t done, and it might wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court where an argument either way from Justice Thomas could make for compelling reading.


3 Responses to “Under the burning cross”

  1. Bart Says:

    I am so glad I found your blog!

    I missed you on Live Journal!

    I was worried you’d retired!

    How are things going? How is the Home News?


    • charlespaolino Says:

      Gannett laid me off on December 5. It was the third round of layoffs, and that time they went after managers. My blog migrated from Live Journal to the HNT web site, which I discontinued when I was laid off, although I was invited to continue it. Several friends inspired me to start again on WordPress, so this is fairly new.

  2. Bart Says:


    I’m very sorry you got laid off.

    I’m also very happy that you have started on WordPress. I honestly missed your words.

    I wish I could explain how much of an influence you were on me as a young writer. You inspired me and made me better.

    Without the skills you taught me I would not be able to live the life I live today.

    I remember once asking you how long a story should be and you saying “Start at the beginning and when it’s done, stop.”

    That helped me more than four years of college.

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