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Published: Saturday, 8/4/2007

Nazis stay away

MAKE no mistake: The American National Socialist Workers Party is not welcome in Toledo. Nor is any group whose goal is spreading racial hatred.

That said, the U.S. Constitution, a document such extremists would destroy, affords anyone the right to demonstrate and have their say, no matter how vile.

So while these Aryan supremacists have a right to free speech, city officials must keep these rabble-rousers out of the North Toledo neighborhood, where their only goal is intimidation.

No American city, much less Toledo, needs instigators to try to stir up trouble. It was bad enough in 1994 when the Ku Klux Klan demonstrated at the Lucas County courthouse. And the planned march by neo-Nazis that deteriorated into a riot in a North Toledo in October, 2005, embarrassed the city in front of the whole country.

City officials should not be manipulated by the Aryan group, which wants to bring almost two dozen people here on Aug. 17. They say up front that they want to spread hate, incite violence, and that they plan to distribute literature. Some have permits to carry concealed weapons. Swastika armbands are part of their uniform, too.

The First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to assemble peaceably. Concealed weapons, swastikas, and calls for hate indicate these folks are looking for more than a peaceful dialogue.

Fortunately for Toledo, the spark no longer exists that inspired the neo-Nazi demonstration that escalated into a riot nearly two years ago. The disagreement between next-door neighbors a white man and a black woman has dissolved, and they have since set aside differences and identified similar views.

That s an example the pathetic Nazi imitators could learn from. If they cared to stop being hateful losers and rejoin civil society, they might just find they have more in common with the people they intend to target than they ever would have guessed.



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