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On an overcast, oppressively muggy mid-August afternoon at John Prince Park in Lake Worth, the "Racial Holy War" seems far away indeed. As I sit at a picnic table under a pavilion by the bank of a stagnant creek that meanders through the park and empties into Lake Osborne, six Hispanic toddlers play with their parents on the nearby jungle gyms, shouting and laughing in English and Spanish. Under another pavilion, a knot of black men drinks from 22-ounce bottles of malt liquor in soggy paper bags, the Old English twist-off lids thrown on the ground. Across the main road from them is a group of good ol' white boys in soiled cotton T-shirts and dirty blue jeans mirroring the black men's actions, hanging around the backs of two Chevy F-150 pickups, one white, one red, and quaffing 16-ounce cans of Budweiser.
Five minutes after 6 p.m., as the last of several Hispanic fishermen reels in his line for the day, the threatening skies finally open up. Three black children, shrieking when the rain catches them by surprise and chills their skin, scurry for the shelter of the splintering wooden pavilion that I occupy. As the drops pelt down, a white BMW sedan that looks about ten years old rolls up. From the two front seats emerge the two soldiers I am here to meet.
The passenger stands about six feet tall with a trim build and short graying hair worn messy. He's covered in fading tattoos, the most exposed ones washed out beyond recognition. A pentagram adorns his left hand between his thumb and index finger, a relic of his time in a satanic cult in South Texas years ago. He wears black jeans with a six-inch shepherd's knife attached to a belt loop. His black vest is unbuttoned and fits snugly over a white T-shirt that depicts a phalanx of hooded Ku Klux Klan members holding a Confederate battle flag. Scrawled across the top are the words, Join the Klan.
His younger buddy, with his blue jeans, striped Polo shirt, and cell phone strapped to his belt, looks more like a businessman on "casual day" at the office -- except for his pitch-black baseball cap with a white-circled cross on it. Around the circle are printed the words, White Pride World Wide.
The pair shoot each other a glance after they scout around me to make sure I don't have a cameraman squatting in the bushes or a tape recorder hidden under the table. They also check to make sure that I am there, as promised, alone. They leisurely walk through the rain to the ramada where I sit and warily take their seats atop an adjacent picnic table. They sit about a foot apart, and both turn their heads when, 15 yards away, there's a rustling in the bushes.
They immediately knew who I was because I'm the only white man under the pavilion and because I'm carrying a notebook. They introduce themselves: The younger one is Sean Quinn, a member of the World Church of the Creator, which preaches that the Jews created Christianity 2000 years ago to trick white people into getting along with nonwhites -- thus destroying the white race. While the older man, Doug, sympathizes with the WCOTC -- as well as the Klan, the South Florida Aryan Alliance, and the American Friends of the British National Party -- he is not a member of any organized white-pride group. (The two have known each other only a couple weeks, brought together by that propaganda tool of the new millennium, the Internet.) Doug, who asked that his last name not be revealed, formally calls himself an Aryan Werwulfe, or a Lone Wolf for short.
They regard me with a mixture of curiosity and contempt. Quinn's startling azure eyes, in particular, seem to carry an inherent challenge to a staring contest. Time after time, he wins.
As I'm the one who requested this meeting, I venture a simple question to Doug: What exactly is a Werwulfe?
Doug lights up a Doral. "The Aryan Wolf Brotherhood was started by a lot of like-minded people," he says. "Instead of having a national organization like the Klan, we don't have membership lists or dues to pay. If someone wants to be a Wolf, then all they have to do is e-mail me and be prepared to work with me."
He reports that dozens of Werwulfeslive all over Florida, linked together by way of the Internet. (The name comes from Hitler's special SS troops trained to operate behind enemy lines.) And they're not your stereotypical skinheads. Doug boasts that Wolves can be anyone, from struggling workingmen to high-powered business executives. The Wolves don't advocate violence, but at the same time, they stop short of condemning it, so long as it's "for a good reason."
"I've never called a man a nigger and hit him," Doug says. "I'd rather sit there and argue until he throws the first blow, and then I'll defend myself. If someone gets upset with me, that's fine. If they lay a hand on me, then I'll beat them down."