Washington, Oct 30 : A county sheriff has revealed that a phone call from a concerned parent had helped disrupt two skinheads' plot to kill Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and behead scores of blacks across the country.
Haywood County Sheriff Melvin Bond said that a woman called his office worried about her daughter. "As the investigation led on, we found out who these individuals were," foxnews.com quoted the Tennessee lawman as saying.
According to the report, Paul Schlesselman (18) of Helena-West Helena, Ark., and Daniel Cowart (20) of Bells, Tenn., are accused of hatching a plan according to which they would drive into the candidate while wearing top hats and tuxedos. Now, they are slated to be produced before a federal court for hearing on Thursday morning in Memphis.
While authorities say the men had guns capable of creating carnage, documents show they never got close to getting off the ground.
While authorities say that the incident may have been far-fetched, they still conjure images of the segregation era for some. "These incidents, isolated though they are, serve as a reality check. Yes we've changed in significant ways, but there are those that haven't. The alleged plot should serve as a low voltage electric shock. We're a new South, but there are elements of the old South still under the surface," journalist John Seigenthaler said about the arrests.
James Lawson, an 80-year-old Freedom Rider who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement and is now a visiting distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University, said he was not surprised by this latest threat to Obama. He said he has had conversations with fellow blacks at various places, not just the South, since Obama's candidacy began nearly two years and they have been afraid for Obama's life.
"In the black community, there's been all over the country anticipation of his being in harm's way," Lawson said. "That is a reflection of the fact that, by and large, the black community still experiences racism when it comes to access to jobs, in unemployment levels, in housing discrimination and predatory lending in housing."
Mayor James Valley said he doesn't believe Schlesselman's involvement in the alleged plot indicated any organized effort by white supremacists in the city, but he said there has been at least a political tension among blacks and whites. "The white community controls the finances and the black community here controls the ballot box, so that's where you're going to see it," said Valley, who is black.