Lawsuit Over White Supremacist Rampage Costs Washington State $2.25 Million

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that a lawsuit against Washington’s prison system will cost the state $2.25 million for failing to prevent a white supremacist’s murderous rampage in Los Angeles.  Here’s a snippet:

“Buford Furrow Jr., an avowed white supremacist, had been released from prison three months before the Aug. 10, 1999, rampage outside Los Angeles. The lawsuit, filed in 2006 in King County Superior Court, said the Department of Corrections failed to adequately supervise Furrow and could have prevented the shootings by inspecting his home and giving more consideration to his white supremacist ties.”

The fact that the Washington authorities did not give “more consideration to his white supremacist ties” is key here.  Even though the largest act of terrorism on domestic soil prior to 9/11 was carried out by a white supremacist, these kinds of extremists do not get taken as seriously as terrorists with darker skin and a non-U.S. passport.   Part of the reason is the white racial frame that casts “dark Others” as inherently dangerous and always more of a threat than native-born whites.   And, another part of the reason that violent extremists such as Burrows don’t get taken seriously is the more general failure to take white racism seriously.    As Tony Snow, the Fox News reporter and Bush White House Press Secretary said in 2003 (hat tip to Pam):

“Here’s the unmentionable secret: Racism isn’t that big a deal any more. No sensible person supports it. Nobody of importance preaches it. It’s rapidly becoming an ugly memory.”

This is the prevailing white sentiment about racism today: no big deal any more.  An ugly memory.  Unfortunately, this sort of willful ignorance is not capable of taking the white supremacist ties of a guy like Furrow seriously.


  1. Seattle in Texas

    Oh, I just have to address this one—Come on King County! Keep it up, keep it up! Cheers to the judge who made the ruling! I am sure my David is, or would have been, just tickled to pieces!

    And Jessie, down here in Texas I have learned that the racism is largely addressed through the “North” and “South” and “White” and “Black” prejudices, biases, history, pride, etc.—as if the territory beyond mountain states doesn’t exist…well, I suppose California would have to be an exception. The West Coast has racism too and you captured it very nicely with the sentiment above and the closing of the post (as well as with the post you did on the professor at the university in California). There are many who do fight it and the State of Washington itself (example, police brutality and discrimination in King County and others) with great fierce (some most excellent lawyers and judges) but this is just a handful of the most powerful folks in the state fighting their counter most powerful folks—and the good folks do make differences here and there…though it does always seem as though it is one step forward and two, three, even sometimes four steps back… In the larger picture, perhaps because we don’t associate or can’t relate with the whole “North” and “South” thing, it is largely believed that racism is history and the white supremacists are just a bunch of freaks who need to take their Lithium or Prozak and get a life…the real dangers they pose and harms they do, are just taken on as they come and treated as outlier cases—at least in my own humble opinion. Even with the great activism we have up there, the racism is often downplayed and minimized by the greater populations. But thank you (and also the article below on Planned Parenthood in Idaho) for addressing racism in the Pacific Northwest. Very nice job.

    Though, I did just want to note that I am curious about what seems to be a sudden increase of hate groups in my state noted on the map furnished by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It shows many are members of the National Socialist Movement (NSM)…Washington State does openly embrace a level of socialistic ideology…but so totally not in the same sense as the NSM. I am wondering if that is one of the key features of my state that is attracting hate groups to my territory and if so, I am so confused about hate groups and finding I am confused about assuming they are all radical right/ultra-conservative, etc. I am thinking it is possible that we (on the West Coast) may be dealing with quite the opposite—radical Left, ultra Liberal folks? Which is a bit counterintuitive perhaps…but to the extreme that the Liberals have to actually fight against, which actually pushes us to more of the conservative end (questioning whether limitations should be placed on the right to free speech, etc. with relation to hate speech and ideology). But if there are indeed both right and left hate groups, the common goal I see between both is to preserve the “purity” of the so-called “white race” either through outright segregation and overt racism as down here (very sadistic), or through various covert measures where it has been pushed to a level where the world of empiricism quite often can do little justice as Washington likes “proof” and solid evidence (destroying history, evidence, etc.)—they find ways around it, which makes everything seem totally voluntary on part of the victims or invisible, etc. in so many situations. I think I must mention too, that my state has lowered the age of voluntary sterilization from either 32 or 31 years old or so to 21 years. I don’t know about Idaho, Oregon, Montana, or our neighbors above…. I am totally against that—the age should stay higher (as if there isn’t birth control???)…. I have a love/hate relationship with my beloved state….

  2. Seattle in Texas

    Though…would like to add, that while we cannot directly relate (and perhaps are taught/socialized not to relate) to the dynamics of the North and the South, Black/White, etc., the Systemic Racism Theory is very much obviously applicable (our roots go back to both, for many…as well as Native and International…)—as well as White Racism, etc.

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