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June 18: The Murder of Alan Berg

Lawrence Bush
June 18, 2010

20090618_121931_cd18bergDenver radio host Alan Berg was gunned down in his driveway by four white supremacists on this date in 1984. Berg was a provocative, belligerent, liberal host on early talk radio, broadcasting with a signal that reached into thirty-eight states. His assassins were members of The Order, which used as its manifesto William Pierce’s best-selling The Turner Diaries, a novel about a right-wing revolution against the U.S. Government and a race war leading to the extermination of all Jews and non-whites. The book, which is a Bible of the white supremacist world, includes a scene in which a liberal Jewish talk show host is assassinated. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok described Berg’s murder as “one of the opening shots of the radical right.” Only two of the killers were convicted — not for murder, but for racketeering, conspiring, and violating Berg’s civil rights. All four, however, were convicted for other crimes, while the leader of The Order, Robert Mathews, died in a shoot-out with federal authorities on December 8, 1984.
“Hopefully, my legal training will prevent me from saying the one thing that will kill me. I’ve come awfully close.” — Alan Berg

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.