Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Close to Home

Imagine my interest when I heard that the so called "Jihadi Jane" lived in nearby Pennsburg, PA. A mere 11 miles north of the hacienda here in the Swamp. See Map.

This story here talks about how this woman Colleen R. LaRose was a transplant from south Texas. No biggie, it's a local rag and I think they were trying to deflect some of the stink. Problem is this general area does have its issues with radicals.

When we first moved here from the eastern part of the county we would spend some of the weekend driving around the local area, getting to know better our surroundings. The trips were close to home never far away, different business here and there. We tried out all the back roads getting to know our way around the bottlenecks such as they were.

One Saturday afternoon we were driving on the main road in a little town not far from here (maybe 5 miles) and as we were stopped at a light on of the kids saw something that I had missed. " What do they want?" one of the kids asked. I looked over to the side of the road and at the people that were at that moment were fascinating the kids and to my shock and amazement there on the side of the road, on the sidewalk standing holding sighs were 5 fully costumed and hooded KKK members. Yep, full blooded Klansmen standing there on the side of the road conducting a "demonstration".

How could this be? It was 1985, we were in the North? Well maybe not that far north, the Mason-Dixon Line is only about 70 miles south of here but, come on this was not Alabama or Mississippi.

Turns out they were common on the street corner; a couple of state highways crossed there and the sidewalk was very wide.

The local farm market near here besides selling great meats, local veggies and farm fresh poulty and eggs also does a brisk business in what I call "flea market" or "swap meet". There might be 200 stands in this place including more than one trading in Nazi memorabilia. They also have a large silent auction house on premises and it has always amazed me how every month, every sale they have in there, they sell Nazi or Waffen SS stuff for sale. Right alongside the Longaberger baskets will be a Nazi flag or in the case with the fossilized shark's teeth is the cigarette lighter with the SS skull emblazoned on it.

A couple of years later as a volunteer on my local Townships Environmental Advisory Board I was dispatched with two other volunteers to do a site inspection on a property that was doing some renovations. Our job was to do a certification that wetlands were not impacted by the proposed work. We had site development plans provided by the property owners Architect/Engineer which showed the property and the area on the plot where the work was to be done. They were adding a 5-bay garage and a small building, a meeting house it what was noted on the plans. Part of our inspection was to do a walk of the property border and then inspect the area in and around where the work was to be done. This site is near here, maybe only 3-miles from home, closer as the crow flies. The place as a Militia training center complete with a handgun and rifle shooting range, barracks, chow hall and obstacle course. While we were on site we were assigned an escort who followed us around, he actually helped us get around the very large property. He carried not only a side arm but an AR-15 both of which I assumed were loaded though I did not ask. There were maybe 20 men there undergoing "training", all sporting guns and wearing camo.

While serving as a Township Supervisor we were approached by a "resident" about the purchase of a small horse farm. A 200 plus acre site complete with a nice barn and track with frontage on a local waterway it would make a great community park. The asking price was well below market, way below. We accepted, closed the deal and took possession, clear title in our hands we commenced to planning the transformation of the grounds from equine pursuits to community service. Shortly after I was called into the Township for an "Executive" session of the Board, seems the FBI wanted to meet with us regarding our recent land purchase. Turns out, unbeknown to us, the property was owned by a holding company that was associated to someone who was currently in a Federal Lock-up serving a long prison sentence. The family business was not Horses but well, something less legal shall we say. The FBI was interested in excavating a few areas of the property, including inside our nice new-used barn. They spent almost a month on the site; they had a whole forensic team there. They even brought in a fleet of RV's that the agents lived in while they were working. Large trucks came and went from the property, empty on the way in, heavy on the way out. Rumors of bodies and buried drugs circulated however we never heard anything from the FBI except for a think you as they left. Good as Boy Scouts.

So, strange things are part of the fabric of my little neck of the woods. From Militia to KKK, to Mobsters and now Jihadi's. I wonder if there is some way to get the Militia and the Jihidi's to you know, get together. Maybe get some fireworks going between them. What fun would that be!

BT: Jimmy T sends.


Bag Blog said...

Gee, I thought all the nuts had moved to Northern New Mexico.

Buck said...

Maybe get some fireworks going between them. What fun would that be!

As long as you and yours don't get caught in the cross-fire.

You remember that ol' Stealers Wheel/Gerry Rafferty song, "Stuck in the Middle With You?" The one with the line "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right... stuck in the middle with you?" This kinda reminds me of that.

JimmyT said...

Lou, I always thought that the folks here in the PA area were pretty laid back, you know the PA Dutch thing, Amish folks all around here. But, just under that veneer is this whole ugly thing going on. But, all things considered I'd love to be in Northern New Mexico!!

Buck, yeah I'll keep my head down. The Militia folks went out of business, the place was bought out by a Religious group of some kind, they bring inner-city kids up here for that "country" experience. I have not seen any of the KKK guys in many years, not sure where they went. I still go to that Farm Market, best beef jerky around.

BT: Jimmy T sends.