There’s not much mourning going on in Boise for Richard Butler, the longtime Aryan Nations white supremacist leader who died in his sleep and was found Wednesday morning in Hayden. Butler’s racist group gave Idaho a public-relations black eye that lasted for decades, but it also inspired some of the nation’s strongest laws against hate crimes, and sparked a well-organized network of highly active human rights groups across a state whose population is becoming increasingly diverse.
“I know this is not the effect that he would have wanted to have,” said Idaho Human Rights Commission Director Leslie Goddard. “I think people disagreed so strongly with his opinions that it caused folks who might otherwise not have done so to examine their own beliefs and their own prejudices, and be willing to speak out in favor of human rights.”
Gov. Dirk Kempthorne had no comment.