Trading on Patriotism: How Extremist Groups Target and Radicalize Veterans

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This article is the first in a series looking at how extremist groups target veterans for recruitment and the paths toward and away from radicalization. Sign up here so you don’t miss our next major report.

Ken Parker had been out of the Navy for about two years and was struggling to find a good job when he went to his first Ku Klux Klan rally.

He’d watched TV shows about white supremacists, and saw that the KKK had planned a rally in a small North Carolina town that wasn’t too far away, billed as a “family event for whites only” with a cross-burning at dark, according to local media reports.

Parker, frustrated over a lousy economy and a lack of job prospects, went to the 2012 gathering, which had been chased across the border into rural Virginia by protesters.

Chris Barker, a KKK leader in North Carolina who litters his racism with near-constant references to Scripture, took the stage that night and preached to the gathered crowd that all Jewish people represent Satan and should be killed, Parker remembered during a recent interview with

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