On Friday, August 3, children in upstate New York found ziploc bags at the end of their driveways as they went to wait for the school bus. Inside the bags were Ku Klux Klan recruitment fliers, leading many to believe the KKK is making a push to recruit young children into their numbers. These suspicions are only reinforced by the fact that ever ziploc bag also contained a small piece of candy.
Denise Szarek, a school board member from Westmoreland, NY, told CNN:
They come between 4 and 6 in the morning so the candy bars and packets are at the end of the driveway when kids are getting on the school bus.
@CNN Disturbing on so many levels!— Rebecca Exley (@Rebecca Exley)1533520095.0
Authorities have little doubt the Klan is targeting children:
The community they hit was a mobile home park so there were a lot of kids in the area, and they hit on some of the side roads, too.
@CNN I don't understand why we all can't get a long with each other. It's scary how many cults are out there now. W… https://t.co/9PvH7wIEv6— Whitney Dalton (@Whitney Dalton)1533519807.0
@deray Disgraceful. And laughable cause kids just rip the candy off the flyer and throw the flyer away. Heck, that's what I do.— Patricia "I care. & my BS tolerance is ZERO." Gabe (@Patricia "I care. & my BS tolerance is ZERO." Gabe)1533655578.0
@deray @JohnEJefferson I honestly thought this would be an article from The Onion.— Stephen Anderson (@Stephen Anderson)1533659837.0
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered an immediate investigation as to who left the fliers, and is also trying to link the perpetrator to any past hate crimes in the area. He also ordered state police to hold a town hall in the area, addressing citizens concerns:
New York has zero tolerance for intolerance.
@IsItFOO Don't take candy from strangers— #IAmNobody (@#IAmNobody)1533643172.0
@Yahoo Parents watch your kids more then ever for evil folks luring young kids— Elke Zerr (@Elke Zerr)1533672486.0
While he may personally hate the KKK, Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol believes leaving behind fliers is a protected right under the first amendment:
...the leaving of these flyers and soliciting people to join the KKK is their right...I believe in unity and tolerance. The KKK is against all of those things. However, with that said, I have taken an oath to uphold the constitutional rights of all citizens, which, however repulsive, includes the KKK.
@CNN Can't believe that these sick hate groups are allowd to exist in our society! In WW2, 420k young Americans die… https://t.co/5dJo1UJ5fa— Michael McGee (@Michael McGee)1533562683.0
The Sheriff was sure to point out, however, that "any future solicitations toward unlawful acts would draw criminal charge." This includes any past or future hate crimes, which is what Cuomo is so intent on investigating.
@lovelyti why are they still around https://t.co/aFLxTzwMDq— Jonquil Louis (@Jonquil Louis)1533523172.0
@PIX11News They are just plain evil people— Janet Rivera (@Janet Rivera)1533563357.0
Police plan to increase patrols in the effected areas (which stretch across several counties) in the hopes of connecting the fliers to specific individuals and any hate crimes they may have committed.
@Steve03343829 That just made me sick to my stomach.— Cathy Ford (@Cathy Ford)1533701760.0
@lovelyti They have been in my town (east hampton) before tryin to pass out flyers by the middle school. Which were taken down.— Nammi3 (@Nammi3)1533527851.0
In the meantime, Cuomo's state-wide Hate Crimes Task Force will work to educate the public about their rights and "how to report hate crimes." Hateful groups like the Ku Klux Klan have no place in civilized society.