Year of birth1975
Location Tucson Federal Correctional Institute
Publication The Nationalist Observer
Other media Phone messages, e-mail mailing list (both defunct)
Criminal activity Conspiring to violate civil rights
Ideology White supremacy
Strategy Popularized the "lone wolf" theory among white supremacists
Influences Louis Beam, Tom Metzger
Thanks largely to the power of the Internet, white supremacist Alex Curtis of San
Diego, California, became one of the most influential voices on the racist right in the late
A leading proponent of "lone wolf " activism, Curtis encouraged fellow racists to
act alone in committing violent crimes so that they would not incriminate others. He
called for the elimination of nonwhites by "whatever means necessary" and promoted
assassination, illegal drug sales and biological warfare as useful strategies. He popularized
the so-called "5 words" - "I have nothing to say"- which he urged extremists to use
whenever questioned by police as a means of obstructing prosecution. Curtis himself was
arrested in November 2000 and charged with three federal counts of conspiracy to violate
the civil rights of various individuals. In March 2001, Curtis cut a deal with the
government, pleading guilty to the charges in return for the recommendation by
prosecutors of a reduced sentence. He received a three-year sentence in June 2001.
The Revolutionary Type
Although white supremacists struggle to
achieve a racially homogeneous society in
America, their methods may differ considerably:
some are separatists, isolating themselves
from people who are different, more or less
happy as long as they can be left alone. Others
try to work within the system, appropriating
mainstream conservative anxieties over
immigration, multiculturalism or "Southern
heritage." And some are revolutionaries, eager
to overthrow all institutions that promote
equality or tolerance. Alex Curtis was a
revolutionary: until a jail sentence eventually
silenced him (at least temporarily), he advocated
a violent revolution that would topple the
"Jew-occupied" U.S. government in favor of a "race-centered" state that restricted citizenship
and residency to those of "pure white ancestry." In addition, he considered integration and
intermarriage to be part of a Jewish plot to commit "genocide" against the white race.
Like many white supremacists, Curtis started young. In 1993, just 17, he founded the
Lemon Grove Ku Klux Klan, anointed himself "Exalted Cyclops" and twice burglarized his high
school. Authorities say he vandalized the building with swastikas and racist epithets and stole
lists of student addresses to write racist letters to parents "alerting" them that their children were
friends with nonwhite students. One month prior to his 18th birthday, police arrested Curtis
for the school burglaries and held him on suspicion of sending threatening letters to two local
newspapers and making a death threat against a sheriff's officer. He was found guilty of the
burglaries, but because he was considered a juvenile at the time of his arrest, he was given
probation and ordered to perform community service.
Though Curtis himself was still a student who lived with his father, his imagination was
grandiose. He envisioned a two-tiered hate movement in which "divisive or subversive"
propaganda would be widely distributed and would guide a revolutionary underground. The
underground would consist of "lone wolves" - racist warriors acting alone or in small groups
who attacked the government or other targets in "daily, anonymous acts." Curtis saw himself as
a propagandist sowing the seeds of a racist revolution, and he predicted that "lone wolves"
would reap the harvest.
In a diary entry from 1993, later obtained by police, Curtis wrote, "I plan to make it my
life's goal to rid the Earth of the unwanted un-Aryan elements, by whatever means necessary
and possible." Curtis openly discussed assassination as a realistic and desirable possibility.
Borrowing from former Klan and Aryan Nations leader Louis Beam, who had first promoted
the idea, Curtis posted to his Web site a "Lone Wolf Point System" that awarded scores to
would-be assassins based on the importance of their victims; the goal was to help readers
"intelligently judge the effectiveness of proposed acts against the enemy." Few possibilities for
attacking "the enemy" escaped Curtis's attention: he contemplated illegal drug sales as a way to
further a racist revolution and even postulated the use of biological weapons. His own activities,
however, were considerably more modest: in August
1997, police arrested him for distributing fliers that
illegally featured police insignia. The fliers were
designed to look like a police request asking citizens
to "help fight non-white crime." Curtis pleaded
guilty and received a sentence of three years'
probation and 100 hours of community service.
Howling at the Moon
Curtis employed the Internet, his Nationalist
Observer magazine, and his telephone hot lines in an
attempt to make his destructive fantasies a reality.
Through his "privately controlled media," he
claimed to "reach 100s-1000s of the most radical
racists in the world each week." In reaching his
desired audience, Curtis's youth proved to be little
hindrance. A number of prominent white
supremacists, some decades older, corresponded
regularly with him. He was popular, too, with the foot soldiers of the movement. He claimed
to send his e-mail list to more than 800 recipients; an unknown number of racists called in to
his various telephone hot lines. Whether his rhetoric actually influenced people to commit
crimes is difficult to determine; the very nature of the strategy was designed to obscure such
connections. The little evidence that exists is suggestive, however. For instance, police
discovered phone records indicating that in March 1999 a call was placed from the Palo Cedro,
California, home of Matthew and Tyler Williams to a phone number registered to Curtis. Four
months later, the brothers were arrested as the lead suspects in arson attacks on three
Sacramento synagogues and in the murder of a gay couple in Redding. Whether the Williams
brothers were influenced by Curtis to allegedly commit violent acts or whether they called him
because they were already willing is not clear, but the fact remains that Curtis's aims and the
brothers' actions were, in essence, identical.
Curtis argued that white supremacists "should never apologize for hate crimes," which
he called "the understandable result of the race-mixers' forcing together of the races." Though
he refused to condemn hate crimes committed against minorities, Curtis was still critical
of them - but for reasons that are perverse. He evaluated these acts according to their
"contribution" to the white racist cause. Following the conviction of John William King in the
dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas, Curtis said, "Here's another crime that wasn't
thought out well, since it ended up trading the life of one mud for that of several white men.
If King was a good lone wolf, he wouldn't try to start a group. He would take out niggers by
other methods that are less obvious and messy. And he would do them alone."
In his e-mail messages, Curtis often reprinted his correspondence with white supremacists
serving time for committing hate crimes. For example, Curtis was in contact with James
Burmeister, who killed two people on a dirt road in Fayetteville, North Carolina, solely because
they were black. Curtis claimed that one out of every three readers of his magazine was
incarcerated, and he boasted of having more friends in California prisons than he had "at large."
He encouraged visitors to his Web site to follow his lead and send letters of support and money
to racist convicts.
Curtis also wanted to help those who were accused of committing hate crimes to stay out
of prison in the first place. He suggested that, when arrested and tried, they respond to
authorities with the so-called "5 words" - "I have nothing to say." He hoped that this strategy
would help to get them acquitted for lack of evidence, reduce the sentences they received, or at
least prevent them from incriminating their colleagues.
By the late 1990s, Curtis had developed a reputation as one of the white power movement's
most hard-bitten and uncompromising ideologues. At every opportunity, he urged anyone who
would listen to strike out against the government and minorities - against all those who stood
in the way of a racial revolution. But on November 9, 2000, Curtis himself was arrested and
charged with three federal counts of conspiracy to violate civil rights. For each count, Curtis
faced 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The indictment stated that Curtis and three allies had embarked upon a campaign of
hateful if juvenile crimes designed to harass and intimidate their targets. The group spraypainted
anti-Semitic symbols and slogans on two synagogues; placed a gift-wrapped, inactive
hand grenade on the front porch of an Hispanic mayor; and left snakeskins at the office of a
Jewish congressman and the home of a civil rights worker. The indictment also indicated that
Curtis and his friends had placed hateful stickers and pamphlets on and around the homes or
workplaces of the mayor, the congressman and the ADL San Diego regional director.
The crimes were somewhat curious. Despite the fact that Curtis claimed to be a
propagandist, not an activist, the indictment charged that he had in fact acted on his beliefs;
though he advised racists to act alone, Curtis worked with associates, and despite his warnings
against cooperating with the authorities, one of his associates quickly turned state's evidence.
I Have Nothing to Say
The arrest of Curtis immediately became a rallying point for extremists. His admirers
created a "defense fund" for him and posted his prison contact address on the Internet. White
supremacist leaders Matt Hale of World Church of the Creator, Richard Butler of Aryan
Nations and Rocky Suhayda of the American Nazi Party spoke out on his behalf. White Aryan
Resistance leader Tom Metzger attended his arraignment, and Vincent Bertollini of the 11th
Hour Remnant Messenger traveled from Idaho to San Diego to visit him in jail.
His supporters were unpleasantly surprised, however, when in March 2001 Curtis pleaded
guilty in return for a recommendation by prosecutors that he serve no more than three years in
prison. In addition to his guilty plea, Curtis agreed to apologize, publicly and privately, to his
victims. For the duration of his sentence, he consented to refrain from associating with 138
"known" extremists and to cease promoting hate via his Web site, e-mail mailing list and
Following his plea, support for Curtis among white supremacists quickly evaporated. Tom
Metzger deemed his activities Halloween "pranks" that were "embarrassing and offensive to the
general struggle" for white supremacy, as opposed to authentic lone wolf actions, which Metzger
strongly supports. According to Metzger, some racists pointed to the Curtis deal as proof that
"Lone Wolf does not work." In fact, Metzger asserted, "the opposite is true," for if Curtis "had
adhered to strict Lone Wolf methods" he might not have been apprehended and prosecuted in
the first place. "I regret Alex Curtis has taken himself out of the game way [too] early," Metzger
wrote. "The best times haven't even started yet for the Lone Wolf."
July 29, 2002: Curtis continues serving his prison sentence.