Kansas shootings have sad ties to N.C.

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As horrible and tragic as the weekend shootings outside two Jewish centers in Kansas City proved to be, a suspect charged in connection with the murders left a different brand of misery in North Carolina three decades ago.

Frazier Glenn Cross was known as Glenn Miller when he ran for governor here in 1984. Even then, his campaign seemed more focused on hatred than on public office. He had been in attendance as a member of the Ku Klux Klan at a 1979 Communist Workers Party rally in Greensboro. Someone opened fire at the event, killing five of the protest marchers.

Later, Miller became head of the White Power Party before launching his bid for governor. His campaign failed miserably, fortunately, but it was clear his intent was to use the platform to promote intolerance and hate, rather than mount anything approaching a serious bid for the office itself.

It was a tactic he continued to use in later campaigns for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina and a U.S. House seat in Missouri. The Constitution allows even the biggest morons among us an opportunity to speak freely, and Miller took full advantage of his chance.

Today, known as Cross, he stands accused of murdering three people near a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement center.

If found guilty, he’ll have a long time to sit in prison and stew in his own venom.