You may have seen this article, which was recently published by USA Today. If you did, you likely noticed a number of glaring errors in the piece and I’m not only talking about the typo just four words into the article (according to a reliable source at Webster’s dictionary, there is only one ‘o’ in the word ‘protester’). In his article, Mr. Hafner also makes ill-informed and even inaccurate points. Let’s break them down one by one.
Let’s start with this statement: “Those identifying with the group in the past year have both denounced racism and tried to blow up a building.” First and foremost, there is a large difference between “identifying” with a group and being a “member” of a group. The individual Mr. Hafner was speaking to, Jerry Drake Varnell, was not a member of The Three Percenters - Original. He may have said that he “identified” with The Three Percenters but at the same time I can say that I “identify” with the Baltimore Orioles. That doesn’t mean that I’m on the team. Taking this a bit further, If I strike out during a local softball game that is in no way shape or form a reflection on the prospects for the Baltimore Orioles to make it to the World Series this year In essence, making the case that the actions of this individual is somehow a reflection on The Three Percenters - Original is inaccurate. Another problem with the above statement is that the two elements that he presents together (denouncing racism and attempting to blow up a building) have no relationship to each other. Yes, The Three Percenters -Original spoke against acts of racism that occurred in Charlottesville. No, Jerry Varnell’s intention to bomb a bank had nothing to do with racism anymore than it had to do with The Three Percenters - Original. Jerry Varnell was an unstable, arguably easily manipulated, individual who the FBI arrested in a sting operation where they sold him inert “bomb making materials” and then arrested him. He stated that he wanted to use the bomb to blow up a bank in order to start a revolution, which in and of itself should bring into question whether or not he was impaired in some way. Does any sound-minded individual really think that detonating a bomb outside a bank would in some way set off a nationwide revolution?
Let’s move onto another point. Mr. Hafner stated: “An Aug. 12 statement citing the group's "National Council" issued a "stand down order" to members engaged in the violent protests following a deadly neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va., claiming "we will not align ourselves with any type of racist group" and rejecting "anyone who calls themselves a patriot or a Three Percenter" at the events.” This was taken from our website. The Three Percenters - Original did issue a statement regarding the violent protests that occurred in Charlottesville, VA this past year. This did not mean, however, we took part in it. In fact, we didn’t. This message was posted to ensure our members did not respond or get caught in the cross-fire between ANTIFA/BLM and the alt-right white supremacists and Nazi groups that had gathered there to protest the planned removal of Civil War Confederate statues. One is left to assume that Mr. Hafner does not fully understand what “stand down” means. It does not mean that The Three Percenters - Original were acting as white supremacists or Nazi groups, which he seems to take this to mean.
There are more points that could be countered; however, devoting more energy to picking the article apart (or your reading this) gives the article more credit than it really deserves. Our takeaways from this simply are that 1. This is another example of there being a gross misunderstanding of our organization. 2. In order to ensure an accurate understanding our organization and our mission, we must actively promote this understanding in our local communities though our interactions with them and services we provide. 3. Fidelity is ever important – what true The Three Percenters - Original members do is a reflection on our whole organization. Failure to act in a moral and ethical manner that is squarely in line with our nation’s constitution will only tarnish our members, our organization, and our mission. We must keep this in mind at all times, as it is essential to counter the misconception and lack of trust in our organization that some in our local communities may have.
The Three Percenters - Original