Several Colorado Springs-area residents received an alarming piece of mail on Sunday -- invitations to join the Ku Klux Klan.
The Gazette reported that fliers in plastic zipper bags targeting minority racial groups were reported to have been found taped to numerous mail boxes in El Paso County's Security-Widefield neighborhood. A phone number was also included which when dialed connected to a recorded message advocating for white supremacist views.
According to 7News, one resident said she was concerned what else might be in the bags and contacted the FBI asking that the bags be tested for ricin.
The U.S. Postal Inspector is investigating the mail saying it is a violation of federal law. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office will assit in the investigation.
Back in 2012, without releasing any official numbers, the KKK said their membership was "booming" in Colorado, with 12 active white supremacist groups active in the state at the time, according to a report by the Durango Herald.
Herald staff writer Chase Olivarius-McAllister reported that Cole Thornton, Imperial Grand Wizard of Colorado’s United Northern and Southern Knights Ku Klux Klan group, claims that membership has grown steadily in the past few years.
“I’m really pleased with the kind of people we’re getting in – college-educated, professionals, teachers – even a couple congressmen. People would be amazed to know who I’ve talked with at midnight in isolated areas – it’s almost comical,” Thornton said to the Durango Herald.
Also in 2012, the number of anti-government “patriot” groups, including paramilitary hate organizations, reached an all-time high, fanned by President Barack Obama's reelection and talk of gun control following the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre, according to a recent report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Patriot groups have been classified by the law center as hate organizations because their anti-government sentiment is almost always paired with racism, ranging from fear of everyday crime to a looming race war, said Mark Potok, the law center's chief hate group and hate crime investigator.
The law center found 1,360 patriot groups in 2012 -– an 813 percent rise since 2008, the year before Obama took office. Of those groups, 321 constitute militias. The law center also found a near-record 1,007 hate groups with animus directed at minorities, gay men, lesbians, and transgender individuals in 2012. That's a slight decline from the 1,018 groups counted in 2011.