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Should the KKK be allowed to adopt a stretch of Georgia highway to pick up trash and plant trees?
ATLANTA (Reuters) - A Ku Klux Klan chapter wants to spruce up a stretch of roadway in northern Georgia, creating a legal quandary for transportation officials as they consider the white supremacy grou...
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53 comments
 
Not allowing them to clean up a highway isn't going to make them be any less of a group of racists.  Might as well make them clean up the place.
 
perhaps if they did it anonymously? I know I would avoid going down a stretch of highway if I had to see a sign saying "Entering KKK cleanup" or something similar.
Karen M
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Maybe taking part in an act of civil betterment program will help them see the need for cooperation. Maybe?
 
+Tyler Wheeler "Anonymously" is good. Nobody's against anybody cleaning up, but the implied advertising of the "adopt-a-highway" program is undesirable.
 
This is certainly a sticky subject. If referring to the government, can it really stop them from doing something that is not illegal? The people certainly have the right to be against it for obvious reasons but the government should not step in and stop them. 
 
Hell NO!! They are terrorists looking for ways to soften their image.
 
This is America, and they are entitled to their stupid opinion. As long as they're not doing anything illegal,the government has no right to stop them. Just save your trash and make sure you litter on that part of the highway.

Most of them have been sentenced to community service anyway so they're already used to it. Orange jumpsuits and white hoods will make them feel right at home.
 
The world is never so black and white, so this case will depend on their values. I wouldn't want to be governor over this thing. I can see the attack campaign ads now.

Preventing them from officially adopting a highway is no different than preventing a Jewish or Muslim temple from adopting a highway. Someones beliefs/race/gender should not relegate them to second class citizens.

Is it uncomfortable? Very. But blocking them sets a very bad precedent. 
 
Sadly, they have an equal right as other groups to "adopt" a highway. Just as they have a right to exist, to meet, and to peaceable assembly.

One of the problems with having rights, is that everyone gets them...we just have to grit our teeth and ignore them as much as possible.
 
Are they going to clean it up with their smurf caps on or are they going to show who they are.
Well, and imagine they clean up the trash while (black) people drive along creating more trash - maybee made out of kkk symbols and material.
Would give an interesting news headline i guess...
 
+J. S. Hansenius But they have other rights. Why are we choosing to take this one away from them? +Brad Tufts said it right. We (as government and as people) should not be in the business of picking and choosing when to withhold rights or when to restrict them, at least in cases where no law is being broken. 
 
Besides, if they get the sign, I doubt people will leave it in the ground for long. Reporting that sign every week will probably cost more and be more trouble than it is worth.

On the flip side. It is very interesting. Seeing a group like the KKK trying to do PR and social outreach. I think a read a few weeks ago about how they we're picketing a Westboro baptist picket because they wanted to support America.

Not used to thinking of the KKK as a smart organization, and underestimating people is always a bad idea.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/post/westboro-baptist-church-and-the-kkk--unclear-on-the-concept/2011/06/01/AGAH3jGH_blog.html
 
No matter how much highway they adopt they are still a hate group.  As long as we remember that, whatever.  But the thing is, people will NOT remember, and they will start to think less warily of this "organization" -- which is probably their ultimate plan. 
 
Allowing them to adopt the highway gives us the moral high ground. A group that only exist to deny certain groups of their civil rights, is allowed to exercise their civil rights. By denying them, they can claim they're the victims and it's an anti-white conspiracy.

Let the trash pick up trash and keep them out the headlines.
 
I can see it now...."OK, boys, let's clean up this here trash....collect it in a pile that looks like a cross, set it on fire, and we have done our civic duty for today!"
 
I see an increase in the number of "Hit-and-runs" on that stretch of highway.
 
Well, at least something remotely positive in their little narrow-minded lives!
 
You may not agree with their stances, I certainly don't, but if they want to do some good for their community, why should we stop them?
 
I hope the state has set a formal definition of what trash needs to be cleaned up off the side of the road.  I can certainly see the group getting confused and thinking something else is trash needed to be removed from the face of the earth.  
 
So any black, jewish or gay person who drives down that stretch of highway with a KKK sign had to just suck up that threat and deal with it. I bet if the.members of the New Black Panthers wanted to do the same thing many of you would be up in arms. This is an organization with over a hundred year history of raping, assaulting and killing black people and you want to treat them like the Rotary!
 
Absolutely. After the KKK sign all the necessary paperwork, can we rename that particular stretch of highway after Rosa Parks, or Martin Luther King Jr.? 
 
I honestly think this a ploy. It's likely they want to get turned down so they can sue for discrimination to get publicity and possibly money in a settlement. They're a despicable group, but let's face it, they're probably used to picking up trash on the side of the road. Might as well let them do something they're experienced at that isn't illegal. 
 
Of course it's a ploy - but i'm sure the state has some protections built into its side of the agreement.  Surely this can be enforced and the matter resolved before we waste money and time making and posting those worthless signs announcing just exactly who is cleaning up the litter.
 
Hmmmm.  A racist group with a sense of social responsibility.  LOL!
 
Folks grow up...this is not the old days, y'all need to stop being against other racies...we are all human beings and GOD loves us all from the inside and out.  I also think it stupid to burn a cross and GOD don't like ugly(well what y'all are doing)...So grow up and learn to love people from there heart not by the color of their skin.
 
How about Coretta Scott King Hwy, Hank Aaron, or Ray Charles Hwy? C'mon people, you can't let an opportunity like this go to waste...
 
+Jake Carter , exactly. That's what I mean when I say I am not used to thinking of the KKK as an intelligent organization. Telling them no will likely give them more firepower than giving them a sign that will be stolen/knocked down regularly. Underestimating them may be the wrong approach if they have become a more organized and intelligent organization.
 
Since you will never have to fear what KKK will do to you +Matthew James  any comments you make about where I should draw anything are pretty insulting. A white supremacist was just elected to the Republican Committee  of a country in Pennsylvania, another is about to elected sheriff in a country in Colorado. One of his campaign events was a cross burning. There was another cross burning in North Carolina two weeks ago and it was given a boost by the the local paper publishing the flyer on the front page. This may seem like a lark to some of you, but for those of us who are in the sights of these groups and their resurgence in the so called post racial America, it is deadly serious.
 
Are you sure that they really going to plant trees n pick up garbage are you for real
 
This is an absurd!
Is this a real news article?!
 
I thought the klan was am illegal organization. If not then they should be allowed. As distasteful as it is.
 
So you show your true colors +Matthew James . As soon as  I discuss what blacks have suffered at the hands of whites supremacists  and the increase of the influence of  hate groups in this country you dismiss, belittle & begin to talk about the plight of whites. Typical.
 
yeaaaaaaah, because that's what the KKK is going to use that stretch of highway for.... picking up trash...... and planting trees...........
 
No thanks. They can shove their white hoods and robes up where the sun doesn't shine.
 
In my opinion they can do whatever they want within the confines of the law.
 
First amendment protects the right to clean the road, I would think. As others have said, stopping them from adopting the highway will not stop them from being hateful but perhaps it will be a good thing for them to serve others.
 
give me a break.if they get permission maybe they can plant a tree for every person they murdered in last 200 years.
 
+Chuck Green is right. They may be horrible and despicable people with an organization history rooted in murder, hate crimes, and political sabotage of civil rights in the United States, but they have a right to do whatever they want within the confines of the law. To deny them that right would be discrimination, and while I fully understand the irony lf that, we don't want to stoop to their level or hypocritically deny them their civil rights just because we know they're worthy or contempt.
 
After reading many of the other comments, I just want to say +Matthew James, If you haven't lived another person's life, you have no right to tell that person what should or should not offend them. You have no idea where their feelings stem from because you have never lived to have experienced them. The following comment that you made with "the victim card" is clearly offensive, and also greatly undermines the experiences of people today who are discriminated against. Unless you have experienced it (which you have not) or have done extensive research on the subject (which your language and complete dismissal of +S. Joseph's experiences indicates this to not be the case), you may not know that unlike the Christian Crusades, people today are still affected by the discrimination and political hold that white supremacists have. 

Look at how long it took Zimmerman to be arrested in the pursuit and murder of a black kid who was doing nothing wrong. If you looked at the news, it was attempting to be justified because Martin was wearing a hood. A FOX news representative even remarked that "parents, especially the parents of young black or hispanic children, should urge them not to wear hoodies in public." How likely do you think it would be that a white kid would be accused of looking suspicious if he was wearing a hoodie? Clearly there was a racial aspect involved, not only in his shooting, but in the wide-spread reaction to this, one that partially accused the victim for being at fault for his death based on his race. 

This is to just show the relevance of topics like these to today. You have no basis to accuse someone of playing a victim when you have no perspective on their experiences, nor do you seem at all interested in gaining insight to it.

With that said, I still disagree with +S. Joseph that the KKK should not be allowed to adopt this highway... Because if we deny one group something as simple as adopting a highway, we are only practicing the same type of discrimination that they preach. It we deny this to them, they can justify their actions by saying that the U.S. government clearly has a right to practice discrimination based on a person's or group's beliefs (however despicable they may be), so why, they could argue, may we not more openly discriminate against others based on qualities of theirs which we don't like? It becomes a slippery slope.

Also, +S. Joseph, your answer of "typical," was a bit offensive as well... Not all people of +Matthew James' demographic position are as much of narrow-minded jerks as he is... And perpetuating stereotyping from either direction is wrong... 
 
I've thought about it most of the day and I think I know a way Georgia DOT could handle this.
I still think it's an attempt at a con on the KKK's part. Just like any internet troll they want people to get angry and revolt. In this case probably so they can sue for discrimination/1st Amendment violation or whatever.
I say give them a rural stretch of highway and make sure they follow the GDOT codes limiting the size and location of signage. That's the best way I can think of minimize the controversy.
I understand many like +S. Joseph are going to be offended and not without good reason, but in this case the best way of dealing with a hate group is to ignore them. At least while they are limiting their activities within the confines of the law as others have said.
If they start harassing people, or break any codes or laws. Fine the organization as heavily as possible and lock up the offending members.
Speaking as a journalist, I can honestly say trying to fight or outright censor them will only give them more publicity.
 
They have all the legal rights to do so. I may not agree with what their philosophy/dogma is; but I do support their rights for free speech, and peaceable assembly. 
 
i was going yeah they can adopt a highway but since they dont respect people of color's rights, why should they have the right to adopt a highway?
 
"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." - 14th Amendment, this is why I support them getting a highway, The questions are: Do they have the means to adopt a highway? Yes/ Is it their legal right? Yes. The 8th circuit court has ruled on a similar court case in Missouri so there is precedent.   Most people are making this a personal matter and not a legal one. 
 
Of course they should. They're a legally protected organization. If they have a right to exist and protest, they have a right to contribute.
 
yeah but there protests envolved killing African-American people.
its completely racist!!!
 
+Nåah Lifland It doesn't matter.  Being an organization that believes other ethnicities are inferior isn't illegal.  Killing those ethnicities is.  There's nothing illegal about racism, as long as it doesn't fall into realms protected by the EOE act, etc.  I like analogies, so I'll use one:  Telling the KKK that they can't maintain a highway is the same as telling Narcotics Anonymous that they can't maintain a highway.  Most of the people in NA have been doing illegal things, many are still doing illegal things, and maintaining a highway has nothing to do with it.
 
this has nothing to do with wether i can make arguments.
it is evil to march under a flag that means hate.
i know that they legally have the rights. But who want's to drive by a sign
that says something like "this highway was adopted by the KKK"?
i don't.
and i think your the one who was attacking me just because of my opinion.
if your angry at something in your life than don't take it out on someone
you don't know!
 
listen to J. S. Hansenius hes 200% right!
 
+Steve Sauls  I hope you mean that in terms of both organizations should have the right to freedom of speech / highway adoption, and not to suggest that these two organizations are comparable in history or radicalism. 
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