Alternative newspaper distribution to continue in Rogers, for now
By Brook Reinhard
The distributor of a whites-only newspaper will continuing to deliver unsolicited papers to people's doorsteps without interference from law enforcement, barring a city ordinance that restricts the distribution of unwanted publications.
Glenn Miller of Missouri showed up at the Rogers Police Station on Oct. 26 in a dramatic gesture to turn himself in, after police spokesman Cpl. Kelley Cradduck said last week if Miller kept passing out papers he could be arrested for harassment.
Miller came ready to fight, brandishing a newspaper and a highlighted section of the U.S. Constitution, but Police Chief Steve Helms said he'd only be arrested if he trespassed or was giving the incendiary paper to people who said they didn't want it.
"All I'm trying to do is let white people know that they do have the right to speak their minds," Miller said as he handed out a copy of The Aryan Alternative.
The fourth and latest issue blasts Jews, blacks, Hispanics, liberals, the National Football League and the public schools system. Miller said he distributed 700 copies of the newspaper to northwest Arkansas last week and planned to do it again Tuesday. He said he doesn't target specific homes but looks for upscale neighborhoods.
The paper drew multiple complaints last week from homeowners who said they didn't want "trash" in their yards. James Gosserand II, a business owner and member of the Rogers Planning Commission, said Tuesday he'd like to see the city consider legislation to limit the distribution of unwanted literature to people's homes.
Gosserand said the idea has nothing to do with his work as a planning commissioner, but as a private citizen he said something should be done to condemn the paper and speak out against it, even if it turns out that there's no way to stop Miller from delivering it.
"Most intelligent people, most thinking people, most people that believe in God vehemently disagree with this guy," Gosserand said. "I think that it is sad and shocking that in 2005, especially in one of the highest-growth areas in the country, that we have people like this dividing us, spewing hatred. The battle is not between races: It is between good and evil.
The Rogers citizen said he's proud of his own multi-ethnic heritage, and doesn't mind Miller being proud of his heritage, but stressed that having a sense of identity and pride shouldn't lead to hatred of other groups or forcing that hatred onto others through a newspaper.
"I don't want pornography on my doorstep. If someone did that, I'd be offended," Gosserand said. "I feel the same way about this type of material. It's like any other unwanted junk."
City Attorney Ben Lipscomb said there's little the city can do in regulating The Aryan Alternative specifically, besides charge Miller for littering if he distributes a paper to a homeowner who has already specifically said he or she does not want the material.
"As long as he's standing in the public right-of-way and throwing a publication -- and I hesitate to use the word 'publication' because it's crap -- the only statute I can think to charge him on would be the litter statute," Lipscomb said.
However, the attorney added, the Council could pass an ordinance banning the distribution of unsolicited materials, but that ban would include free shopper publications and other unsolicited material.
"The Supreme Court has said you can limit protected speech in 'time, place and manner,'" he said, although content can not be limited.
Mayor Steve Womack said he wouldn't want to regulate the content of a paper, no matter how objectionable. He said limiting unsolicited material could be considered but warned that in general, legislative remedies can sometimes create more problems than they solve.
"Is there a way to make a 'Do Not Call' list for distribution?" he said. "That's something I'd have to talk with my attorney about, but it might be possible.