Note: This column was published in The Sentinel-News in the early 2000s, when I was editor, and is re-published in its entirety with permission.
While writing about a case of small-town corruption several years back, a police officer told me, "[A mess] don't stink until you stir it." My reply, of which I'm quite proud, was, "But if it doesn't stink, nobody cleans it up."
That's why I do what I do. I don't enjoy stirring things up nearly as much as most people think. Sometimes, I admit, it brings a smile to my face knowing that blatant corruption has been brought to light and that sleazy people got their due. But for the most part, I'm distressed by the nonsense.
With all that said, I revisit a semi-controversial subject not because it's particularly newsworthy, but it's just funny.
Back on July 4, a man from Louisville caused quite a stir himself when he announced he would participate in the Independence Day parade in Mount Eden. Louisvillian James Kennedy, who billed himself as the grand dragon of the Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan in Kentucky, said he and his entourage would march with the veterans and Boy Scouts and kids on bicycles and promote the cause of the Klan. He also courageously vowed to fight anyone who dared to photograph any member of his group. His words and actions brought in the Louisville media and overshadowed the whole thing.
But now we've heard from the big boy, Imperial Wizard Barry E. Black, from the home office, so to speak, of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Inc. (they're incorporated?) in Johnstown, Pa.
As of July 10, Kennedy and his associate, David King, have been banished from the Klan!
"These gentlemen have disrespected there (sic) offices and the organization by committing acts that are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated," Black's press release read.
Here are my questions: Just how bad does one have to be to get kicked out of the Ku Klux Klan? What could possibly be considered "unacceptable" by clowns who cover their faces in shame as they go about their "work"? Just where does the Klan draw that line of decency?
I'm guessing that Kennedy will move on to other equally noble endeavors, like tripping little old ladies in the grocery store.
Writer James Mulcahy
spent 35 years as a newspaper journalist at small and large papers. He is currently a freelance photographer/writer/graphics designer, and he drives a school bus.