Police, emergency services, and even the National Guard rushed to a home in the remote north Georgia hamlet of Morganton, located near the point where Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia meet.
The reason for the clamor was because a Morganton resident, William Christopher Gibbs, had walked into the local hospital, telling staff there that he had come into physical contact with the deadly toxin ricin. Ricin, which can be lethal in even miniscule doses, is a poison derived from the castor bean.
The Fannin County Sheriff’s Office reported that a field test of Gibbs’ vehicle had, in fact, returned a positive result for ricin. This was the cause of the dozens of vehicles descending on Morganton last Friday, to make sure the community was safe from any contamination.
Gibbs is currently being held on reckless conduct and probation violation charges, though more serious charges may well follow.
Ricin is occasionally used to poison people; it is both deadly and relatively easy to make. For more than a quarter-century, however, right-wing extremists in the United States have been particular fans of ricin, which some seem to have viewed as a sort of “poor man’s anthrax.”
White supremacists and anti-government extremists alike have attempted to obtain or to make it, as well as plotted ways to use it. In 2014, for example, members of a north Georgia militia group were sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of conspiring to make ricin to be used as a weapon and possessing a biological toxin for use as a weapon.
It may come as no surprise, then, that Gibbs, too, appears to have extremist connections. On one social media profile, Gibbs identifies himself as belonging to the Georgia Church of Creativity. On another profile he repeatedly posted Creativity graphics and he also shows up on the website of the Creativity Alliance, where he has posted photos of himself wearing a Creativity jacket.
The Creativity Movement is a hardcore white supremacist group that dates back to the 1970s, notable for its attempt to assume the guise of a religion as a way to promote its racist and anti-Semitic views. Originally known as the Church of the Creator, then the World Church of the Creator, it collapsed in 2003 after its then-leader Matt Hale was arrested for soliciting the murder of a federal judge. Hale received a 40-year prison sentence for the crime in 2004, after which his group broke up into various factions and remnants.
One of the factions that, in recent years, has tried to assume the mantle of the Creativity Movement has been the so-called Creativity Alliance, led by Australian Cailen Cambeul. The tiny Georgia Church of Creativity is part of the Creativity Alliance.
Gibbs appears to have joined the Creativity Alliance relatively recently. His social media profiles contain both numerous references to black rappers—which would certainly not be looked upon favorably other white supremacists—as well as social media “likes” of terms such as “white supremacy,” “white power,” “white nationalism,” “white people world wide,” and “I love being white,” among others.
This apparent contradiction may possibly be explained by the fact that sometimes newly-minted white supremacists go through an “adjustment period,” during which they learn what things they should now embrace and what things they should no longer like.