February 2005 (v7 i4)
Counting the Ways Since 1997
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White supremacists bicker over checkers
Men almost come to blows over who will play as black
by JJ Hermes, Design Director

“Jeepers! This basement is haunted!
TRENTON, GA — Under a canopy of exposed insulation and duct-taped electrical wires, two lifelong neighbors almost resorted to violence over a game of checkers. Although the match had yet to begin, witnesses reported loud shouting followed by several gunshots in an argument regarding who would play with the black pieces.

"Them black pieces are inferior to them white pieces," said Billy Roberts. "Ain't no way I'm gunna use no black nothin'. My father's grandfather was a colonel in the Confederate army, and if he could see how our Medicare and Social Security been bankrupted he'd be stormin'."

Although the men take to the checkerboard on a regular basis; this was the first the time the black-piece dilemma arose.

In the past, the two used a standard board with black and red pieces. But when one of the men's rottweilers ate five of the red pieces, the men used white backgammon pieces as a replacement — offering a non-minority color selection.

Seventy-four-year-old Roberts alleged he was about to sit down behind the new white pieces when his neighbor, Stan Reed, threatened that if he did he would "tear him a new asshole."

"It don't mean I'm racist," explained Reed, standing beside a rusted truck with a "God Save America" bumper sticker. "Just think a rainbow should have all the colors... not just be black. That happens when you integrate. White people to white pieces and the black people to black pieces, I say."

The two were drinking heavily before the incident, say neighbors who witnessed the altercation.

After a rebuttal from Roberts, the confrontation escalated to shouts and slurs and Reed exited his home to grab a hunting rifle from the backseat of his truck. Neighbors alleged he then fired four "warning shots" into the air.

"I ain't never heard a time when Billy din't get his way and din't say nothin' about it," said Tawnya Roberts, the ex-wife of one of the men involved in the dispute. "Sonnuvabitch Billy ain't got no manners. Shoulda got his head shot off."

Police were called to the scene — their fourth trip to the neighborhood in as many days on domestic disturbances.

"Last time we got called out to this particular place we found three teenagers pouring gasoline into water bottles," said Deputy Jeffrey Jones.
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