Thirteen years ago, a South Carolina jury decided that Joseph Gardner should be executed for helping to rape, torture and kill a white woman in what prosecutors described as his revenge for centuries of oppression against blacks.
State officials said Monday that Mr. Gardner will be put to death Dec. 5 for his crimes. He can choose between lethal injection and electrocution.
Mr. Gardner was assigned to a Navy ship in Charleston in December 1992 when he and several friends began talking about the injustices done to blacks since they were brought to the country as slaves. The group decided to kill a white woman as retribution, said prosecutors, citing a letter found by investigators that contained passages aimed at justifying revenge against whites.
The circumstances around Ms. McLauchlin’s death stirred racial fears in Charleston just nine months after riots in Los Angeles that followed the acquittal of four white police officers in the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King.
Last December marked the tenth anniversary of a vicious but virtually unknown racially-motivated murder. On the night of December 29/30, 1992, Melissa “Missy” McLauchlin was abducted, raped, tortured, and murdered just outside Charleston, South Carolina, simply because of who she was. This killing is not celebrated like the James Byrd and Matthew Shepard murders. “Anti-racist” groups do not include her name in fundraising letters. There is no hate crime legislation named in her memory. There were no MTV or PBS documentaries made about the attack, and ministers did not arrange protests or candlelight vigils. Missy McLauchlin is not a name that comes up in “sensitivity” courses or in lessons on bigotry and intolerance. Indeed, her murder was not even classified as a hate crime by the police. Though the case received much local attention in Charleston ten years ago, even there her name has faded from memory, leaving only family members and a fiancé to grieve. It is because Missy McLauchlin was killed for being white.
Police reports paint a clear picture of what happened. Missy McLauchlin, 25, was a native of Wixom, Michigan, living with her fiancé’s family in North Charleston, South Carolina. On the night she died she had an argument with her fiancé, John Owen, at a nightclub. She stormed out of the club and began to walk home. Police spotted her, obviously drunk, and gave her a ride home, but she quickly set out on foot for another club. Three black men, Matthew Mack, Matthew Williams, and Joseph Gardner pulled up alongside in a car and started a conversation. They offered her drugs if she would come back to their trailer and have sex with them. Miss McLauchlin, who had a history of drug problems, foolishly accepted their offer.
The men had spent most of the day drinking and watching pornographic videos of black men having sex with white women. At one point Mr. Mack exploded in anger at his white girlfriend, saying he wanted to “stab her,” but that “it ain’t got to be her, any white” would do. Mr. Williams said he wanted to have sex with a white woman. Two hours later, the group watched a television news account of the biggest stories of 1992. When the videotaped beating and arrest of Rodney King came on the air, the third man, Mr. Gardner, spoke of “four hundred years of oppression,” and made a “New Year’s resolution” to “kill a white bitch.”
It was in this state of mind that the four returned to the trailer where the three blacks lived. The men offered Miss McLaughlin no drugs, but she willingly had sex with them—at first. She began to resist, especially when the men wanted to sodomize her, and soon the men were raping her.
They put out the word within the trailer park that they had “captured a white woman,” and three other blacks arrived and raped her. Two black women, girlfriends of some of the rapists, were present in another room of the trailer, but did nothing to stop the attack.
After they had enough, the men decided to get rid of the evidence—including Miss McLauchlin. They soaked her in bleach and hydrogen peroxide, and scrubbed her under the shower with a nylon brush, in the hope of ridding her skin of sperm or other evidence that could be linked to them. They forced her to scrub out her vagina with the same chemicals. They also talked openly of killing her.
The men handcuffed her, blindfolded her, and put a heavy coat over her head. They then took her to a car, and forced her down onto the floorboards in the back. After they had driven for some time, she managed to get out of the handcuffs and began to struggle. Joseph Gardner, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, reached over the seat, held back her head, and shot her twice in the face. The driver pulled over 14 miles outside Charleston, where Mr. Garnder shot her three more times in the face and once in the arm. The men dumped her on the side of the road, drove back to Charleston, and went nightclubbing. A passing driver found Miss McLauchlin, miraculously alive, but she died before the ambulance arrived.
It took police four days to identify the body, and a day later they located the trailer where Miss McLaughlin was raped. By January 9, 1993, police had arrested seven people including two of the ringleaders—Matthew Mack and Matthew Williams—and two women, Edna Williams and Indira Simmons, who were charged with being accessories to murder and sexual assault. Three of the rapists were sailors stationed at nearby Charleston Naval Base. The only suspect not in custody was the triggerman, Joseph Gardner, who had carried out his New Year’s resolution. Mr. Gardner, who was AWOL from the Navy, eluded police for nearly two years, and might never have been caught had the FBI not put him on the “ten most wanted” list. He was living in Philadelphia when someone saw his picture in the post office and tipped off the police. He was arrested on October 20, 1994, and is now on death row.
Police suspected a racial motivation from the start, since they found a “crudely written racial diatribe” in the trailer, complete with racial epithets about white oppression, which claimed blacks were “justified in seeking revenge.” However, and as is common with black-on-white violence, police and the media tried to hide the racial angle. “I think we have to be responsible to the community and the people we protect,” explained North Charleston police captain Charles Caldwell. “I didn’t want to believe this was a racial crime. And we tried to look for other motivations.”
Writer G. J. Krupey wrote what is perhaps the only detailed account of the Missy McLauchlin murder. It appeared in the now-defunct publication Heterodoxy, and later in a collection edited by David Horowitz called The Race Card. Of Captain Caldwell’s remarks, he writes:
“It seems unlikely that such cautious sifting of theories would be tolerated in a case involving, say, the burning of a black man by two white youths, to cite an actual case that happened in the same week as McLauchlin’s murder only a few hundred miles south in Tallahassee. Nationwide, the press showcased that murder as a typical hate crime: one perpetrated by vicious white racists against an innocent black. President Clinton mentioned the Tallahassee burning in his State of the Union address as an example of the sort of violent racism that still needs to be expunged from the American character. Neither the national press nor the president mentioned Melissa McLauchlin.”
Local black leaders did not ignore the crime. They went on a full attack against the police and the white community, with state senator Robert Ford leading the effort with help from the NAACP. Not only did Senator Ford claim the killing was not motivated by race, he said the police should be investigated for inventing a racist plot in the McLauchlin case. He chided “decent white people” for remaining silent against white racism and claimed the police would not have looked so hard for the killers if the victim had been a black woman.
Letters to the editor of Charleston’s biggest newspaper, the Post and Courier, voiced complaints from whites who were angry about the crime and the obvious double standard. Letter after letter noted that if the races had been reversed the murder would have been national news, complete with protests, vigils and civil rights marches. One reader wondered why there was so little interest from the federal government: “Where are the U.S. Justice Department and the Attorney General’s office to look into violations of her civil rights? When this tragic event is compared to some of the petty events in which there have been questions of civil rights and racial prejudice in the Charleston area in the past six months, there is no comparison in their harshness.”
Inevitably, there were whites who denied the obvious. A 31-year-old former teacher urged whites to “get a grip,” and reminded them of the “many contributions” blacks have made to Charleston. She wrote that all the serial killers she had ever heard of were white, and that most murder victims are killed by people of the same race. Still another white woman claimed the killings were as much about anti-female bias as anti-white bias. According to her, “sensationalizing the rape/murder as 100 percent racially motivated adds to the already serious racial tensions and downplays the importance of rape as a crime of hate against women.”
On February 17, 1993, Miss McLauchlin’s parents appeared on the nationally syndicated Montel Williams Show to talk about the crime, but no other program was interested. Of course, Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, and virtually every other paper took a pass on the story.
What happened to Missy McLauchlin illustrates two of the most prevalent but least discussed realities of race in America. First is the tremendous amount of black-on-white violence. The New Century Foundation’s 1999 report, The Color of Crime, points out that of the approximately 1.7 million interracial crimes of violence involving blacks and whites each year, 1.5 million are committed by blacks against whites. This means 90 percent of interracial violence is black-on-white. Given the differences in the sizes of the black and white populations, it means that any given black is nearly 60 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa. (The report is available on the Internet at www.amren.com.)
Second is the jarring double standard that requires anti-black crimes be reported and deplored coast to coast while anti-white crimes are ignored. Every institution in America conforms to the double standard, which is why James Byrd, Emmett Till and Medgar Evers are known throughout the nation—and around the world.
Fortunately, a few things have begun to change in the last decade. Jared Taylor’s Paved With Good Intentions (1992) was published around the same time as the McLauchlin murder. This underground bestseller put into words what many people silently understood, namely, that it is whites, and not blacks, who are most victimized by racial violence.
Since that time, the Internet, talk radio and alternative media have ensured that there is no longer complete silence about anti-white hate crimes. The mainstream news media continues its blackout, but popular columnists like Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Paul Craig Roberts, and John Derbyshire have each publicized such attacks and the hypocrisy that surrounds them. The Washington Times recently printed almost daily coverage of the “Wichita Massacre” trials in which two black men in Kansas slaughtered five whites.
Of course, there is still a long way to go before the hate crime double standard crumbles. In December, the New York Times ran a lengthy article on Emmett Till, who was killed by whites 47 years ago. No reporter from the Times would even recognize the name Missy McLauchlin, let alone think to commemorate the 10th anniversary of her death. Until anti-white murders and attacks are considered news fit to print, it is up to pro-white groups and publications to report these crimes and remember the victims.
Unlike the murder of Missy McLauchlin, some racial attacks never fade from the headlines. Perhaps the best known example of racial violence in the history of the United States is the killing of Emmett Till. Despite the fact that the murder happened over 47 years ago it is still front-page news today. In December, the New York Times sent reporter Rick Bragg to Mississippi to write an article on the killing. ABC News did a story after the passing of Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, on January 6. Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival screened a documentary, “The Murder of Emmett Till,” which was featured on PBS in January. An upcoming documentary, The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, is scheduled for television next month. No fewer than three books on the killing are scheduled for release this year: Death of Innocence (Random House), The Lynching of Emmett Till: A Documentary Narrative (University of Virginia Press), and Getting Away With Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case (Phyllis Fogelman Books). Nationally syndicated columnist Bill Maxwell wrote a column in January that accurately described what the killing of Emmett Till has come to represent: “[T]he entire nation was reminded all over again that Americans, especially Southern white men, were capable of unspeakable crimes in the name of race.”
The double standard lives on.