White supremacist David Lane, a member of The Order, a white supremacist terrorist group that carried out armed robberies, assassinations and other crimes during the 1980s, was found dead in his cell at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. Lane, 68, was reportedly suffering from cancer.
Lane was associated with a variety of Klan and neo-Nazi groups, including Aryan Nations, in the 1970s and 1980s and gained notoriety when he and other members of The Order (also known as the Bruder Schweigen or the Silent Brotherhood) went on a crime spree that included the assassination of Alan Berg, a Jewish talk radio host, in Denver in June 1984. The Order also carried out armored car heists that netted millions of dollars, which the group funneled to various white supremacist organizations. The crimes committed by Lane and his cohorts were influenced by The Turner Diaries, a novel written by neo-Nazi William Pierce that laid out the framework for achieving a whites-only homeland in the United States.
The terror spree of The Order was short. By 1985, most members, including Lane, had been arrested by the federal government; its founder, Robert Mathews, died in a shootout with the FBI. Lane himself faced three different trials. In the first trial, held in Seattle, Washington, he was convicted on conspiracy and racketeering charges and received a 40-year sentence. In the second trail, held in Denver, he was convicted for violating the federal civil rights of Alan Berg (by killing him) and received a 150-year sentence. Lane was acquitted of sedition and conspiracy charges in a third trial held in Arkansas.
Lane will be remembered in extremist circles for coining the "14 Words" slogan: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." This slogan, which redefined white supremacy as a desperate, no-holds-barred fight for the "survival" of the white race, became the most prominent white supremacist motto around the world, influencing neo-Nazis, racist skinheads and other white supremacists on five continents. Lane also wrote "The 88 Precepts," which provided guidelines for securing the goals of the 14 Words. ("88" is a hate symbol used by neo-Nazis: the eighth letter of the alphabet is "H"; eight two times signifies "HH," shorthand for the Nazi greeting, "Heil Hitler.")
As a prisoner, Lane actually had more influence on the white supremacist movement than he had as a violent revolutionary. Before his incarceration, he had produced anti-Semitic and racist propaganda, blaming Jews and the government for the destruction of the white race. In prison, serving essentially a life sentence, Lane devoted much of his time to creating propaganda on what he considered "the single greatest issue of all time, racial survival."
Over the years, Lane contributed articles and essays to a variety of white supremacist publications and Web sites. While incarcerated, Lane and his wife, Katja, founded the 14 Word Press in 1995, a publishing company that served as an outlet for Lane's writings and sold white supremacist paraphernalia. Katja Lane handed over control over the company to a New Jersey white supremacist in 2001, when Lane announced his "retirement." Lane, however, continued until his death to write essays and letters to influence the white supremacist movement that revered him as a martyr for the racist and anti-Semitic cause.