White Supremacist Mailings Move Pennsburg Residents to Action

On October 10, a community in Montgomery County, PA came home to find Nazi propaganda in their mailboxes.  Renters, homeowners, and businesses alike received mailings that show a person with a knife to a man’s neck, inferring that “Multicultural USA” is responsible for the attack on the white businessperson.  The double-sided document also contains an altered Rudyard Kipling poem calling angered white people—or “Saxons”—to arms. That the victim is a white, working class male represents an important element of this mailing:  these are the “victims” of the gains of progressive movements according to the rhetoric of groups that are coming out of the shadows and working to recruit Pennsylvania residents.  The towns of Red Hill, Pennsburg, and East Greenville were targeted by these letters.  Every single house on some roads received the mailing.

Susan, a resident of the targeted community, was appalled that her 15-year-old son opened the mail to find the flyer.  Of greatest concern to her was the fact that the envelopes—postmarked in Philadelphia—were personalized.  The mailing that arrived in her mailbox was addressed to “hatophobe,” and while the spelling would indicate one who is afraid of hats, the intent seems to have been to address her “Hate Has No Home” sign in her yard.  A neighbor with flags on their property received a letter addressed to “Proud American.”  Others on the community Facebook site report receiving letters that indicate someone had paid attention to their household or movements, such as salutations including “Crazy Cat Lady,” “Cowboy Hat,” and “Trampoline.”  Susan expressed her concern for this level of attention and stated that it is like “they were noticing, like they were casing, stalking. The personalization means that someone has been paying attention.”

When community members took the letters to the police, they were told that such mailings are allowed within the law.  “In Pennsylvania you have to have hateful speech or conduct in conjunction with another criminal element, like a specific threat to bodily injury or property crime,” East Greenville Interim Police Chief Andrew Skelton told WFMZ News.

However, the targeting of individuals based on their homes and movements seems to beg the question:  aren’t the people of the community being harassed and made unsafe?  Susan noted that “clearly they are recruiting, so now I need to worry about who’s walking on my street.  I am angry, sick, and also unnerved.”

Without the help of legal action, residents are taking it upon themselves to mobilize.  Many residents have reported the incident to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which “has collected 1,372 reported bias incidents between the day after the election and February 7.”  Residents are also gathering peacefully Sunday, October 15 at Pennsburg Square.  People are buying Hate Has No Home signs, and an Upper Perkiomen High School student has created a gofundme to raise money to buy signs for anyone that wants one.

While Susan feels a greater concern about her community becoming divided even more, she does feel better that so many people are mobilizing in light of these mailings, even if now she looks around and wonders who in her neighborhood believes in the message of the hateful mailing.

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