Editor, Times-Union:
At the candidate forum held April 16, 2014, in Warsaw the three candidates for District 22 state representative were asked their position on gun rights. I made clear I supported the right to bear arms generally in line with the NRA. I further added that I would never accept an endorsement from the Gun Owners of America. Candidate Curt Nisly has received the GOA endorsement with a 100 percent rating. He reaffirmed his acceptance of the endorsement Wednesday evening. Candidate Rebecca Kubacki has a failed rating with the GOA and I have none. If rated I would fail.
I feel strongly that people need to know what the Gun Owners of America is, and especially the activities of its leader, so as to explain why I could never accept its endorsement.
The Gun Owners of America is an extreme right-wing organization. In fact, it borders on reactionary and has been described as absolutist. It been repeatedly been critical of the National Rifle Association for being too “compromising.”
The leader of this organization is Larry Pratt. Pratt wrote a book in 1990 called “Armed Citizens Victorious.” The book is based upon his study of the death squads in Guatemala and the Philippines. In 1992 Pratt attended and spoke at a conference hosted by Pete Peters, a leader of the “Christian Identity” movement. The Christian Identity movement is anything but Christian. C.I. leaders, like “pastor” Peters and others, claim only white people have souls. They claim the current Jewish people are frauds and that they are the descendants of Esau, not Jacob. Some even claim Eve had sexual relations in the garden of Eden with Satan and that the current Jewish people are the seed of Satan. They claim that Germanic/Nordic peoples are the true Israelites. The C.I. movement intersects with the most toxic and, sometimes, the most violent expressions of racism and anti-Semitism in this nation. Far more than freedom-loving patriots, many of these people are domestic terrorists.
The “pastor” from whom Pratt accepted the invitation, Pete Peters, led a church in LaPorte, Colo. I visited one of its sites to watch one of his sermons. Prior to the video an opening scene depicts a branding iron in the shape of a cross being heated in an open fire. The red hot cross is removed from the flames and pressed against a piece of wood. Flames erupt around the cross evoking the image of a KKK cross-burning.
Pratt, the GOA leader, was removed from Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign in 1996 when his white supremacist associations became known. He is reputed to be a regular contributor to an anti-Semitic publication of the “United Sovereigns of America.”
I truly believe, and I think most in our district believe, that the Jewish people are the authentic descendants of Abraham and that there is no place in our society for anti-Semitism. We believe that all people have souls and that no race is superior to another. While we strongly believe in the right to gun ownership we do not embrace secession, armed insurrections, race wars and armed death squads.
When I was a child I learned  this phrase: Birds of a feather flock together. I could never be a member of an organization whose leader associates with white supremacists, anti-Semites or any other hate groups, let alone accept an endorsement from such an organization. And, of course, the reality is I would never get such an endorsement.
David C. Kolbe
District 22 Candidate, Democrat
Warsaw, via email