Domestic terrorism Essay
Mississippi Burning movie illustrates various activities of the Ku Klux Klan, which was famous for its racist ideology. (Kempley, 1988) The main object of the members of this organization was not to commit crime, but to create fear among blacks and other groups that had supported racial equality in America. The principal motive of the Ku Klux Klan members was to discourage civil rights workers who strived for parity between whites and blacks in America. (Kempley, 1998) Even before this confrontation, the Klan members were known to have articulated their support for racial segregation in the South.
(“A Brief History of the Ku Klux Klan”, 1996-97) In the Mississippi incident, three civil right workers were killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan that included one police official, Cecil Price. (Kempley, 1998) The Klan members, in this event, killed three civil right activists namely Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney; they were shot in Neshoba County, Mississippi. (Linder, n. d. ) The first attempt to kill Michael Schwerner was made in 1964 when the Klan members assaulted Mount Zion church in Longdale as they anticipated presence of civil right activists in this place.
When the Klan members did not locate civil right activists, they attacked blacks who had visited the church. The Klan members demonstrated their anger by attacking the church building and by creating apprehension among black people, thereby attempting to intimidate local black population. Three civil rights activists attempted to flee from Longdale in order to protect their lives; but they failed to defend themselves as their vehicle was identified by the police officer Price who imprisoned them.
Price, thereafter, informed the Klan leaders regarding the arrest of three civil rights activists, thereby assisting the Klan leaders to decide regarding the fate of black leaders. (Linder, n. d. ) The Klan leaders decided to implement their plan of murdering the leaders who had struggled for civil rights of blacks. Price did not allow the activists to make any phone call to their associates and families so that other black civil right activists would not obtain information concerning the precise location of their leaders. This circumstance was exploited by Price to devise a conspiracy to assassinate black leaders.
As a part of this conspiracy, Price released the prisoners who were permitted to move to their destination. After the release of civil rights activists, their vehicle was pursued and they were rearrested by the police officer. In the meantime, the Klan leaders such as Killen and others conducted a meeting wherein it was decided to come equipped to kill the activists. (Linder, n. d. ) After executing the above-mentioned plan of killing the activists, their bodies were taken to a dam site owned by Olen Burrage who had offered his assistance to the Klan members to conceal dead bodies of the adversaries.
These proceedings prove that leaders of this organization executed their plan to kill civil right activists in order to create fear among other black activists so that the Klan members could avert the attempt of black leaders to integrate two American races, contrary to the ambition of white leaders who intended to augment disparity between blacks and whites. (Linder, n. d. ) The federal government showed interest in locating missing black leaders, resulting in the appearance of FBI officers such as John Proctor and many other FBI agents in the South.
(Kempley, 1988) The FBI officers were able to locate the vehicle used by the civil right activists. The officers were certain that Klan members had employed violence to intimidate black community in Mississippi. (Kempley, 1988) The federal government showed utmost interest in this case, which is proved by the fact that the government had opened the FBI office in Mississippi in order to find the people who had killed black civil rights activists. The FBI agents found that it was difficult to obtain information from the local people concerning the case.
Therefore, the FBI officers approached a few children of the vicinity. By giving candy and other offerings to the children, the FBI officers were able to obtain valuable information regarding the movement of the Klan members. The FBI also announced a prize of $3500 to those who provided relevant information regarding the murder of three civil right activists. (Linder, n. d. ) The FBI officers were able to persuade some Klan members such as James Jordan to reveal valuable information indispensable to arrest the people who had murdered black leaders.
James Jordan, a member of the Klan, accepted the FBI offer of $3500 and relocation of his family in return for his testimonial suggesting the role of the Klan members in the murder of three civil rights activists. This resulted in the well-known Mississippi Burning Trial. (Simon, 2002) This case created immense controversy because initially the Judge, considerate towards the Ku Klux Klan, was unwilling to penalize the people who had dishonored the federal law. After a few days of consideration, the Judge was obliged to give punishment to the offenders including Price. (Smithee, n. d. )
In connection with the above episode, recently Edgar Ray Killen was awarded 60 years sentence for killing three civil rights activists. This ruling showed that US judiciary considered the actions of the Klan members as fanatic acts and decided to penalize them for their act of murdering civil rights activists, who had strived to create equality between whites and blacks in the South. (“Mississippi Burning”, 2006) In this context, tactics used by the FBI can be defended because they did not find any other technique of obtaining information pertaining to this case.
By enticing children and a few Klan members, the FBI was able to obtain information that was essential to arrest the Klan leaders such as Killen and others. (Smithee, n. d. ) Above developments are presented in the form of a movie. This movie has described the tribulations faced by black activists. (Kimpley, 1988) Based on the above-mentioned activities of the Ku Klux Klan, one can suggest that all the members of this organization supported terrorism as they believed in the ideology of their organization, which intended to create terror among black population.
By killing three civil rights activists, the Klan members had committed a terrorist act. Therefore, this offense cannot be considered as a straightforward criminal act; it was committed to block black rights activist’s movement, which aimed to establish equality between blacks and whites, thereby clearly signifying the approach of the Klan members towards civil rights movement. The tactics of the FBI can be supported because in order to obtain information regarding the Klan member’s terrorist activities, it was necessary to use the tactic of bribing the Klan members and encourage them to become government approvers.
References A Brief History of the Ku Klux Klan. (1996-97). The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. 14. Winter: 32. 31 July 2006. www. jstor. org Kempley, R. (1988). ‘Mississippi Burning’ (R). Retrieved July 31, 2006 from Washington Post Web site: http://www. washingtonpost. com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/mississippiburningrkempley_a0c9de. htm Linder, D. O. (n. d. ). The Mississippi Burning Trial. Retrieved 31 July 2006 from Law. umkc. edu Web site: http://www. law. umkc. edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/price&bowers/price&bowers.
htm ‘Mississippi Burning’ convict to remain in jail. (2006). Retrieved 31 July 2006 from Agence France Presse Web site: http://fullcoverage. yahoo. com/s/afp/ Simon, D. M. (2002). The Civil Rights Movement 1964-1968. Retrieved 31 July 2006 from Smu. edu Web site: http://faculty. smu. edu/dsimon/Change-CivRts2. html Smithee, A. (n. d. ). Mississippi’s Burning. Media Matters. Retrieved 31 July 2006 from Media Matters Education Web site: Consultancy. 31 July 2006. http://www. mediamatters. co. uk/