Dylann Roof refers to Harold Covington’s white separatist group, the Northwest Front, in his alleged manifesto. The rightwing sci-fi writer distances himself from the shooting, but his followers speculate if his work influenced Roof’s actions
One of the shadowy figures who appears to have influenced alleged Charleston killer Dylann Roof is Harold Covington, the founder of a white separatist movement and, within supremacist circles, an influential sci-fi author. Covington, the latest in a long line of rightwing sci-fi writers, has been linked to racist crimes in the past and this week called the massacre “a preview of coming attractions”.
The racist manifesto and photos apparently posted by Roof makes mention of the Northwest Front, created by Covington, a former member of the American Nazi party who traveled to South Africa and Rhodesia in order to agitate for white power. In the accompanying photos, Roof wore patches with Rhodesian and apartheid-era South African flags on them.
Covington, if you believe his website, runs a growing enclave of white supremacists near Seattle called the Northwest Front. The non-profit group is reflected in a series of sci-fi novels, authored by Covington, about a dystopian future in which a white nation is the only answer to US economic and racial woes.
American science fiction has long had a rightward tilt, from the contemporary strain of small-press sci-fi Tea Party fantasias swarming the Hugo Awards nominations all the way back to libertarian deity Ayn Rand. But Covington’s novels are a breed apart.
His followers see conspiracy in Covington’s connections to Roof. “And why did this young man have a flight jacket with flag patches from the old White ruled southern African countries, which is where HAC spent part of his early days in the Cause, hmmm,” wrote a commenter called Wingnut under a recent podcast on the Northwest website. “Wonder if they’ll ‘find’ a pile of NF-HAC stuff in this young man’s home? Then they can pull one of those ‘the devil made me do it’ numbers on HAC.”