When Travis McAdams, director of the Montana Human Rights Network, received an email last month from Kalispell-based white supremacist Karl Gharst contending that MHRN is "an enemy of the state of Montana" and a "Jewish criminal organization" that's known to "commit crimes against lawful citizens through intimidation, destruction of property, violence and assassination," McAdams' first reaction, he says, was to "almost laugh and say, 'This is just ridiculous.'"
But then McAdams considered whom he was dealing with. In 2004, as the Daily Inter Lake reported at the time, the Flathead County District Court convicted Gharst of threatening a state social worker, whom he called a "filthy mongrel" and a "wild savage from the Flathead Indian Reservation." When the judge sentenced Gharst to five months in jail, Gharst gave him a Nazi salute. Gharst was described in court documents as "a self-admitted member of the Aryan Nations and a white supremacist." More recently, he screened films at the Kalispell library that deny the holocaust.
So McAdams decided to take the violent rhetoric in the email seriously, and reported it to the state Department of Justice and the FBI office in Helena.
The purpose of his email, Gharst wrote, was to give "proper notice" that he will do everything in his power to see that all MHRN members stand trial for crimes against the state. "A list of known criminals in this organization and their crimes is being circulated and citizens are being called [to] convene a Grand Jury for this result," he wrote.
Two weeks ago, the CBS affiliate in Kalispell covered Gharst's email. April Gaede, another prominent Kalispell-based white supremacist, whose twin daughters Lamb and Lynx Gaede used to play in the Nazi-themed pop group Prussian Blue, posted her reaction to the story on her blog. She wrote that the email was "not quite a threat, more like a legal notice." She went on to say that "locals would rather [have] normal red-blooded straight people here than the homosexual freaks the Human Rights Nuts want to march down the middle of small towns all over Montana."
"We think it's important for the community to know what Karl Gharst is up to," McAdams says. "And we also think it's important he hears very publicly that we're not going to be intimidated by this type of behavior."