Mississippi Burning the 1988 Film Essay

Total Length: 606 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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Membership in the KKK implies a support for hate crime; membership in the KKK is equivalent to membership in a domestic terrorist group. No Klan member can plead ignorance about the motives and tactics used by the organization. The organization exists to perpetuate a culture of white supremacy, by whatever means possible. Using violence, intimidation, infiltration of law enforcement, and conspiracy all point to terrorist acts. The KKK is highly organized and systematic, designed with clear motives in mind. One of the reasons why Lester Cowans becomes such a significant character in the film is because he is among the members who does not participate in the murder but whose membership in the Klan becomes crucial to the FBI's case.

The FBI uses ethically questionable tactics in Mississippi Burning. In one of the strongest scenes of the movie, Agent Rupert Anderson tortures one of the prime suspects in the case. Anderson holds a barber's straight razor to Clinton's neck, making him bleed and beating him brutally in the shop. Anderson admits that his actions might reflect poorly on him professionally when he states, "Make no mistake, I'll cut your fucking head off and I don't give a shit how it reads in the report sheet.
" The scene is chilling and yet, there is nothing that Anderson does that he would not do to any other uncooperative suspect in another murder trial. Significantly, the FBI also uses entrapment as another questionable tactic in the film. Their tactics are used consciously and judiciously. The main reason why their tactics are necessary is because the law enforcement officers in Jessup County are KKK members themselves. When officers of the law can no longer be trusted to maintain the laws of the land, the FBI is forced to….....

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