N.D. Town Mulls Over Threat Of White Supremacist Takeover
A tiny town in North Dakota is considering handing its governance over to the county to prevent a small group of outsiders from declaring a "white supremacist haven."
The Associated Press and The Los Angeles Times report that Paul Craig Cobb, a 61-year-old who moved to the town of Leith a year ago, planned to secretly bring in enough like-minded people to tip a local election in favor of declaring the town a "White Nationalist international community."
Cobb, who moved to Leith in May 2012, said on a supremacist Internet chat forum: "I want people to move now and quietly get going here without letting the cat out of the bag."
On the message board, Cobb said with just 16 residents, it would be easy to take over the city.
The Times says:
"After a Southern Poverty Law Center researcher tracked Cobb to Leith and published a report last week that Cobb had purchased more than a dozen lots of land in the area, the town government of Leith is now considering whether to self-destruct so that Cobb can't take control."
Ryan Schock, a 38-year-old farmer and the mayor of Leith, told The Associated Press that although Cobb could still own land in the town, without a city government, he couldn't take over.
The AP quotes Cobb as saying he hoped to build a park and maybe a swimming pool in Leith that would be dedicated to a neo-Nazi or white supremacist activist:
"[Cobb] pictures the town decorated with fluttering flags and banners bearing the swastika — the symbol of Nazism.
" 'They would have to be approved by the town council, of course,' Cobb said, gazing out over Leith's sparse downtown from his overgrown, weed-infested front yard."
The AP reports quoted Cobb's neighbor Bobby Harper, who is black, as saying that he has spoken to Cobb only once and that Cobb's plans don't bother him much.
"The most extreme thing you can do is hate another man because of the color of his skin, [but] I don't think we should get too excited," he told the AP. "I believe right will prevail."
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.