Spotsylvania County resident Gina Terry discovered a white supremacist flier on the way to her children’s school bus stop Monday morning.
The printout had been placed at the end of her driveway, inside a plastic bag held down by two rocks. She said it appeared that the entire neighborhood received copies.
“I thankfully didn’t open it up until the kids were on the bus,” said Terry, 42, who lives in the Creekside subdivision off State Route 3 near Chancellorsville Battlefield.
The flier, which touts a neo-Nazi group called New Order and depicts an image of a swastika, proclaims: “Make America WHITE again-and greatness will follow.”
It refers to President Donald Trump’s promise to construct a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, and states the purpose of the wall is “to keep the non-White invaders out.” The flier says it is “not a bad idea,” but “militarizing the US/Mexico border would be faster, cheaper and more effective.”
The Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office had received four reports of the fliers as of Monday afternoon, Maj. Troy Skebo said. Three Creekside residents called authorities, as did a homeowner on Willow Woods Drive. In addition, a resident of the Smoketree neighborhood near Harrison Crossing told The Free Lance–Star that the leaflets had been distributed there.
“We are currently investigating the situation,” Skebo wrote in an email.
The Fredericksburg Police Department and the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office had not received reports of similar fliers.
Terry said a neighbor has organized a town hall-style meeting with the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office Thursday to discuss the incident.
She and Kate Stafford, 38, who also got the flier, told The Free Lance–Star that the Sheriff’s Office advised them to simply throw away the leaflets. Terry said a deputy also told her the department would increase patrols in the area.
“I’m appalled,” Terry said. “We have a wonderfully diverse neighborhood full of people with different backgrounds and different beliefs. This is a hateful thing to wake up to.”
Mark Potok, a senior fellow for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said his organization—which tracks hate groups—is seeing more and more of what he called “cowardly leafleting” by white supremacists. He said there is not much authorities can do because the First Amendment protects such content.
The fliers reflect “the energy that these groups feel after the Trump victory,” Potok said, but added that they also show weakness. “The great saviors of the white race are basically courageous enough to anonymously throw a pamphlet on someone’s lawn and run away with their tails between their legs,” he said.
The fliers delivered in Spotsylvania include a number for a post office box in Milwaukee. They came with a card featuring a link to New Order’s website.
Stafford, whose home is near Chancellor Elementary School, said her husband found the flier at the end of their driveway as he left for work Monday morning. Her neighbors got them, too.
“I hope it is just a few racists, but I’m worried that it’s not,” she said. “I’m worried that it’s much more than that.”
It’s not the first time controversial fliers have been distributed in Spotsylvania. Residents received anonymous, anti-Islam handouts in 2015, after an uproar over a proposed mosque in the county.
Terry, a professor at Germanna Community College, discussed the latest flier Monday with her students in a “Controversies in Contemporary American Culture” class. The students, she said, mulled over strategies to combat racism.
“Their advice—don’t pretend it’s not there. It needs to be tackled head-on.”