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Civil Rights Group: Ozarks Area A 'Hotbed' for Hate Groups

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- As a shooting rampage that took three lives near Kansas City is investigated as a hate crime, civil rights groups are tracking hate groups all across the country -- some of them in the Ozarks.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- As a shooting rampage that took three lives near Kansas City is investigated as a hate crime, civil rights groups are tracking hate groups all across the country -- some of them in the Ozarks.

Frazier Glenn Cross, of Aurora, and better known in the Ozarks as Glenn Miller, is charged in the shooting.

A former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, said he no longer has ties white supremacists and no longer shares their beliefs, told KOLR 10 News on Monday that perpetrators of hate are more prevalent than some might think.

"There is more activity going on in Missouri than you know," the former KKK member said. He asked not to be identified.

The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks all 900-plus known hate groups across the country.

"Southwest Missouri, Northwest Arkansas has been historically, for the past 30 years or so, rather a hotbed for those kinds of individuals," Mark Potok,  a senior fellow with the SPLC, said.

A map shows 23 groups are pinpointed in Missouri and 24 in Arkansas. About one dozen are here in the Ozarks region.

"The reality is that there are thousands of people with very similar views, and it is extremely difficult to tell when it is going to be acted out," Potok said.

The former KKK member said hate groups use minorities as scapegoats for their problems, falsely using religious ideology to fuel a lifetime of hateful teachings and beliefs.

"He snapped and blew and went and killed people," the former KKK member said. "His whole lifetime has taught him that this is the right thing to do, and I've heard a lot of white supremacists saying when they get of age, if something hasn't been done and it doesn't matter anymore, their kids are raised,  that they're going to go do their evil deed."

For a look at the SPLC's hate group activity map, visit splcenter.org.
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