In 1983, The National Alliance—a white activist organization founded and headed by William Pierce—held its annual convention in Washington, D.C. A young mine worker from the Pacific Northwest by the name of Bob Mathews was scheduled to give a talk at the convention. Mathews had been an Alliance member for three years and actively recruiting new members for the organization among the farmers and ranchers and working people around where he lived in Washington State. Dr. Pierce asked Bob to tell the people at the convention how his efforts were going, and about the situation generally in his part of the country. Bob wrote out his speech on his dining table at home and flew out to D.C. for the conference.1
The Bob Mathews those in attendance saw at the podium was a boyish-looking man thirty years of age. He was about 5’7” and had a trim muscular build. He was good-looking with even facial features. His dark brown hair was short and parted to the side and fell forward onto his forehead. Those who knew Bob said he had hazel eyes that shone with intensity and purpose. They saw him as a serious and forceful person. Even those who disliked his politics liked Bob the man. In pictures I have seen of him, he reminds me of an army enlisted man home on leave, or the young working-class fathers I see walking past the stores in shopping malls with their wives, their young children in strollers.
An audio tape exists of Bob’s talk. His voice is youthful. There is a tension and fervor in his delivery that gives a sense of immediacy and electricity to the occasion. Bob talked about ten minutes, not long. An excerpt from what he had to say that day in the late summer of 1983 gives a sense of his message:
My brothers and sisters, from the mist-shrouded forested valleys and mountains of the Pacific Northwest I bring you a message of solidarity, a call to action, and a demand for adherence to duty as members of a vanguard of an Aryan resurgence and, ultimately, total Aryan victory. The signs of awakening are sprouting up across the Northwest, and no more than among the two-fisted farmers and ranchers. The task is not going to be easy. TV satellite dishes are springing up like poisonous mushrooms across the domain of the tillers of the soil. The electronic Jew is slithering into the living rooms of even the most remote farms and ranches. The race-destroying dogs are everywhere. In Metaline Falls [the town where he lives], we have broken the chains of Jewish thought. We know not the meaning of the word “mine.” It is “ours”: our race, the totality of our people. Ten hearts, one beat! One hundred hearts, one beat! Ten thousand hearts, one beat! We were born to fight and die and to continue the flow of our people. The future is now! Stand up like men and drive the enemy to the sea! Stand up like men and swear a sacred oath upon the green graves of our sires that you will reclaim what our forefathers discovered, explored, conquered, settled, built, and died for! Stand up like men and reclaim our soil! Look toward the stars and proclaim our destiny! In Metaline Falls we have a saying: Defeat, never! Victory, forever!
Bob’s talk received a standing ovation. He would be dead in a little over a year.
* * *
Robert Jay Mathews was born in Marfa, Texas in 1953 and grew up in Arizona around Phoenix. From the time he was a teenager, Bob had a fierce racial pride in being a Caucasian. It wasn’t primarily a matter of prejudice against minorities—harboring antagonistic feelings toward them, resenting them—as is usually attributed to whites who hold strong racial views. Bob wasn’t so much against anything as he was for something: white people. He held the conviction that it was white men who had created the greatness that is Western Civilization. He was convinced that America was in a decline and that whites were being brought down to far less than they once were, and that they had to do something about it.
When still a teenager, Bob joined the ultra-conservative John Birch Society, and he tried to start a survivalist-type group called the Sons of Liberty, but that didn’t get very far. He also got involved with a tax-protest movement in Arizona. He wound up getting arrested and put on probation for not paying his taxes.
After high school, Bob didn’t go on to college, much to the disappointment of his parents. He told them that he didn’t want to go through all the liberal propaganda they shove down your throat in college, and anyway, he wanted to get on with his life. He wanted to get out of Phoenix, that was for sure. There were too many laws, too many urban problems, too many minorities, and just too many people in general.
Bob got out a map of North America and started running his finger over it. His finger came to rest on an isolated village in Washington State, Metaline Falls, the last town before the Canadian border. Bob loaded up his pickup and drove to Metaline Falls to begin a new life. Right away, he found a laboring job in a lead and zinc mine. It wasn’t long before he could afford to buy fifty acres of land and put a mobile home on it.
A writer describes the place Bob went to:
Minorities were virtually absent from the Metaline Falls area, and a white man living there could imagine that he was existing in a country that wasn’t ethnically diverse or full of crowded, complicated cities. A man could dream of starting over here, of rebuilding his life from scratch. Mathews loved the landscape the town was set in. Canada’s Selkirk Mountains rose in the distance. At dawn, deer walked across the main street of Metaline Falls. Heavy snow only made the hills and evergreens more beautiful. God’s country. It was the kind of climate one would find in northern Europe, where the Aryan people had flourished before their heirs came to America. In centuries past, those ethnic groups had given rise to Norse and Viking sagas, grand tales of the courage and strength of northern warriors in battle. They had no fear of death: if they perished heroically, the Valkyries (the handmaidens of Odin, the Supreme Being of Norse mythology) would whisk their souls away to Valhalla, where they’d be enshrined in the great hall of immortality. A modern-day religion, Odinism, has sprung from these sagas. Bob Mathews was familiar with it and liked it. He regarded it the same way he regarded the Northwestern Passage—both could inspire a man to become a hero.2
Bob wanted to start a family, and he met his wife in an unconventional way, through an ad in the nationally circulated Mother Earth News. His ad read, “Looking for a mature, intelligent woman, 18-25, to share my life and land in Washington.” One-hundred-thirty women replied. The letter that most caught Bob’s attention was from a Kansan who had moved to Wyoming after college by the name of Debbie McGarrity. Debbie wrote Bob that she thought the most important job a woman could do was to raise children. “You can’t have a good society unless the home is a decent place,” Debbie wrote. Bob drove to Wyoming to meet Debbie. She moved to Metaline Falls and they were married in 1976. Debbie and Bob didn’t have children of their own, but they adopted a son.
Bob had really taken to Dr. Pierce’s book The Turner Diaries.3 He pored over every word in the book and gave it to his friends along with his highest recommendation. But the thing about Bob was that he wasn’t content to just read the book and agree with what it said. Bob was a man of action. He had a fire burning inside him. He was going to create an Order of his own like the one in the book, and start a revolution like the one he had read about. Bob meant business.
Right after Bob returned home from his speech at the National Alliance convention, he gathered together eight men in a barracks-like structure he had erected near his mobile home. “I’ve asked you to come here because I think we share a common goal.” Earlier, he had talked to them about forming an Order like the one in The Turner Diaries, a group of racial kinsman who would let their deeds do their talking for them. The goal Bob had in mind was to carve out a part of eastern Washington as a homeland for the white race, purged of Jews and minorities. They would use The Turner Diaries as a blueprint for getting that done. “I’m telling you now,” Bob said, “if any of you don’t want to get involved in this, you are free to leave.”
No one left.
“I’m going to ask each of you to take an oath that you will remain true to this cause. I would like to remind all of you what is at stake here. It is our children and their economic and racial survival. Because of that, I would like to place a white child before us as we take this oath.” A six-week-old daughter of one of the men was placed in the center of the circle as a symbol of a Caucasian future they were about to pledge to create. She stared up at the figures looming above her in the glow of the candles.
The men clasped hands and recited an oath of loyalty and commitment to their race and to their cause Bob had written:
I, as an Aryan warrior, swear myself to complete secrecy to the Order and total loyalty to my comrades.
Let me bear witness to you, my brothers, that should one of you fall in battle, I will see to the welfare and well-being of your family.
Let me bear witness to you, my brothers, that should one of you be taken prisoner, I will do whatever is necessary to regain your freedom.
Let me bear witness to you, my brothers, that should an enemy agent hurt you, I will chase him to the ends of the earth and remove his head from his body.
And furthermore, let me bear witness to you, my brothers, that if I break this oath, let me be forever cursed upon the lips of our people as a coward and an oath breaker.
My brothers, let us go forth by ones and twos, by scores and by legions, and as true Aryan men with pure hearts and strong minds face the enemies of our faith and our race with courage and determination.
We hereby invoke the blood covenant and declare that we are in a full state of war and will not lay down our weapons until we have driven the enemy into the sea and reclaimed the land which was promised to our fathers of old, and which through our blood becomes the land of our children to be.
The group obtained a trail-clearing contract with the U.S. Forest Service, but that didn’t bring in enough money fast enough. Bob and two others in the group robbed a porn shop in Spokane, Washington. One of Bob’s partners slugged one of the clerks. Their take was $36.
Bob went into a Seattle branch of Citibank, handed the teller a note and walked off with almost $26,000. A snapshot exists of a smiling Bob Mathews in a long-sleeve flannel shirt holding a Halloween trick-or-treat bag containing the money.
The group captured the courier of an armored car while it was parked in front of a Fred Meyers department store and made off with $43,000.
They hit another armored car, this one parked in front of a Bon Marché food market outlet. The take in this one was a half-million dollars.
The Order bombed an adult movie theater in downtown Seattle and a Boise, Idaho synagogue. Neither bomb did much damage.
The group talked about people to assassinate. Names thrown out included Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, and Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The person they wound up taking out was a Jewish radio call-in host in Denver named Alan Berg. The killing inspired part of the film Talk Radio. One of the Order had lived in the Denver area and was very put off by Berg, who went off on monologues about the joys of oral sex, the flaws in Christianity, why whites were afraid of blacks, and how white women fantasize about sleeping with black men.
Bob and several others of the Order drove to Denver. They ambushed Berg getting out of his car in front of his apartment. One of the members of the Order, not Bob, started firing from close up. Bullets hit Berg in the face, neck, and torso. The garage door behind Berg splintered from the spray of bullets. When Berg was found lying face up in a pool of blood, the cigarette he had been holding was still lit. Autopsy reports couldn’t be sure how many shots there were because Berg was twisting at the time he was shot, although it was probably around twelve. Two slugs struck near Berg’s left eye and exited on the right side of his neck. Others hit the left side of Berg’s head and exited from his neck and the back of his skull.
The armored-car stick-ups continued. The biggest one took place on the side of a highway near Ukiah, California, in the northern part of the state. Bob and 11 others in two pickup trucks forced a Brinks truck to stop and jumped out of their trucks wearing bandannas over their faces. One of them held up a sign that read “Get Out or Die.” Bob jumped onto the front bumper of the truck and shouted for the two guards to get out, but they seemed frozen and didn’t move. One of the robbers blew dime-sized holes in the windshield with an automatic weapon. That did the trick—the guards opened the door and scrambled out.
All this was happening with traffic going by on the highway. People gawked as they went by, and some stopped their cars. It must have seemed unreal to the passers-by, like a movie. The group started a chain to unload the bags of money out of the money compartment in back of the armored truck. They had given themselves five minutes to complete the job, and it was approaching seven minutes. Somebody could have called the highway patrol. A traffic jam—they hadn’t thought of that until now—could block their way out. They had to get out of there!
Bob was inside the truck frantically scooping up money bags and passing them on. In all the excitement, he didn’t notice that the 9mm pistol he was carrying had fallen out of his pocket. It turned out to be a fateful error, because the gun was traced to him and the FBI knew whom it was looking for.
Finally, the men jumped in their pickups and sped away, tossing nails out of the back to slow down anyone chasing them.
The Order made a clean getaway (except for the gun left behind), and when they counted up the money they found that the take was a whopping 3.6 million dollars. They used some of the money for salaries, and most of them quit their regular jobs. Money went into things like mobile homes and a ski condo. They purchased 110 acres in Idaho and 106 acres in Missouri to use as paramilitary camps. Money went for all-terrain vehicles and guns and ammunition. Two members of the group formed a company called Mountain Man Supply Company with the intention of using it to provide supplies to the Order.
Like the fictional Order in The Turner Diaries, Bob Mathews’ Order counterfeited money. Along with the dropped pistol, the counterfeiting activity turned out to be Bob’s downfall. One of the people who passed the money got caught. In return for the FBI going easy on him, he told them when he was scheduled to meet Bob at a Sheraton Motel in Portland, Oregon.
On the day of the meeting, FBI agents and Portland city SWAT team members converged on the motel. Bob was in room 24. The other guests were herded into the motel’s small lounge and told to keep their heads down. Bob went outside his room to stretch and spotted a man hiding in the bushes and realized what was up and bolted down the stairs past a female agent who fired a shot at him. The shot missed Bob, and the slug smashed through the window of the lounge where the other guests were crouched down and ricocheted off a stone fireplace.
Bob ran two blocks down the street and got behind a concrete pillar next to an apartment complex. Bob later reported that it was at this point he decided to stop being the hunted and become the hunter. A couple of officers chasing him ran up to the pillar and Bob fired, wounding one of them in the shin and foot. Bob later said that he first had aimed at the officer’s head, but when he saw that he was a white man he lowered his aim. The other officer blasted a shotgun and the pellets smashed into Bob’s exposed gun hand and searing pain shot up his arm and blood shot from the wound. Bob escaped, but the hand injury would throb for the remaining weeks he had left to live.
Bob made it to a house on Whidbey Island near Seattle. There he wrote up a “declaration of war”:
It is now a dark time in the history of our race. All about us lie the green graves of our sires, yet in a land once ours we have become a people dispossessed.
By the millions, those not of our blood violate our borders and mock our claim to sovereignty. Yet our people only react with lethargy.
A great sickness has overcome us. Why do our people do nothing? What madness is this? Has the cancer of racial masochism consumed our will to exist?
Our heroes and our culture have been insulted and degraded. The mongrel hordes sever us from our inheritance. Yet our people do not care.
Throughout this land our children are being coerced into accepting non-whites as their idols, their companions, and, worst of all, their mates, a course taking us straight to oblivion. Yet our people do not see.
Not by accident but by design these terrible things have come to pass. It is self-evident to all who have eyes to see that an evil shadow has fallen across our once fair land. Evidence abounds that a vile, alien people have taken control of our country.
All about us the land is dying. Our cities swarm with dusky hordes. The water is rancid and the air is rank. Our farms are being seized by usurious leeches and our people are being forced off the land.
They close the factories, the mills, the mines, and ship our jobs overseas. Yet our people do not awaken.
Do you hear the approaching thunder? It is that of the awakened Saxon. War is upon the land. The tyrant’s blood will flow.
From this day forward, we will no longer submit to the tyranny placed upon us by Tel Aviv and their lackeys in Washington. Our people are being put into a lobotomized, lethargic state of blind obedience and we will not take part in collective racial suicide.
This is war!
This “declaration of war” was followed by an “open letter to Congress.”
All of you together are not solely responsible for what has happened to America, but each of you, without exception, is partly responsible. The day will come when each of you will be called to account for that responsibility.
The day will come when your complicity in the betrayal of the 55,000 Americans who were sacrificed in Vietnam will be called to account.
The day will come when your subservience to the anti-American “Israel Lobby” will be called into account. Your votes to strip American arsenals so that Zionists can hold on to stolen land and your acquiescence in a policy which has turned our Arab friends into enemies—those things are inexcusable.
The day will come when you will pay for betraying your race. You may say you are against the forced racial busing of school children, that you are against the “reverse discrimination” which takes jobs away from Whites and gives them to Blacks, that you are against the flooding of America with illegal immigrants, because you know these things are unpopular. But you brought every one of these plagues down on our heads. You passed the “civil rights” laws which gave us busing in the first place, and then you refused repeatedly to outlaw this monstrous crime against our children. It was your scramble for Black votes and your cowardice in the face of the controlled news media which allowed our cities to become crime-infested jungles. You set up the requirements that employers had to meet racial quotas. And you passed the immigration laws which started the flood of non-White immigrants into America—a flood that is out of control.
We hold you responsible for all these things: for every White child terrorized in a racially-mixed school, for every White person murdered in one of our urban jungles, for every White woman raped by one of the arrogant “equals” roaming our streets, for every White family hungry and desperate because a White worker’s job was given to a Black. Each day the list grows longer, but the day will come when the score will be settled and you will pay every one of these debts in full.
On November 25th, 1984 Bob wrote a letter to a small weekly newspaper in Newport, Washington that included: “It is logical to assume that my days on this planet are rapidly drawing to a close. I have no fear, for the reality of life is death. I have made the ultimate sacrifice to secure the future for my children.”
* * *
On December 7th, one hundred FBI agents surrounded the Whidbey Island house. Bob was alone inside.
They cut off his electricity.
They attempted to negotiate through a bullhorn—”Come out and we won’t harm you.”
His hand mangled and throbbing, Bob opened fire with an automatic weapon.
A standoff lasted through the night and into the next day. The press converged on the site.
The FBI lofted in tear gas. Bob must have had a gas mask. He continued to fire—da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da.
“Give up or we’re coming in to get you.”
More automatic weapon fire from Bob.
At 3:00 p.m. on December 8th, a SWAT team stormed into the house. When they got inside, bullets rained down on them through the ceiling from the floor above. The SWAT team returned fire as they retreated.
After it had gotten dark that evening, a helicopter flew over the house and dropped white phosphorous illumination flares onto the roof. The house ignited, and flames shot one hundred feet into the air.
Bullets ripped from inside the burning house—Bob was still firing away! The agents kept down as the slugs whistled through the night air and split the trees above them.
Then everything was still.
The next morning, in the charred ruins of the house they found a body burned beyond recognition. Dental records determined it to be that of Bob Mathews.
- This account is taken from my book, Robert S. Griffin, The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds: An Up-Close Portrait of White Nationalist William Pierce (1stBooks Library, 2001).
- Stephen Singular, Talked to Death: The Life and Murder of Alan Berg (Beech Tree Books, 1987).
- Andrew Macdonald [William Pierce’s pen name], The Turner Diaries (National Vanguard Books, 1978).