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  • Writer's pictureCraig Silverman

Episode 219  Denver Councilman Kevin Flynn (ace reporter on 6.18.84 neo-Nazi killing of Alan Berg)

Special Craig's Colorado Homefront Show addresses the outbreak of violent fascism in Denver precisely 40 years ago. Alan Berg was gunned down by a felon with an assault weapon who’d come from Idaho to Colorado to assassinate a Jew. Kevin Flynn and Gary Gerhardt, two Rocky Mountain News reporters, wrote a masterpiece on Berg’s killers and their conspiracy titled The Silent Brotherhood: Inside America's Racist Underground.

After starting his young life as a stage actor, Kevin Flynn became an award-winning reporter and social commentator. When he got the big job in Denver at the Rocky Mountain News, Kevin became a top Denver reporter for decades, traveling the country to report on Ward Churchill, Tim McVeigh, and the many people involved in plotting Berg’s death.

An East Coast kid from the Lehigh Valley, Kevin takes pride in his Irish-American and German-American lineage, explaining the good working man’s life provided by his father, Joe Flynn, and Kevin’s mom, who worked at the Easton Express. 

We learn about powerful interactions with Michael Landon, who visited Kevin’s hospitalized brother, Dennis, in 1964. We reminisce about Little Joe from the Cartwright family who lived on Ponderosa. Bonanza was an influential part of the Flynn, Silverman, and baby-boomer upbringing.

Guest and host share an Emmy for a PBS12 Time Travel production of Colorado Inside Out, set in 1959. Flynn was immaculate as Al Nakkula, while the host did an award-winning job portraying his father, slick Denver real estate lawyer Sheldon Silverman.

The subject turns to the terrible night of June 18, 1984, when Alan Berg was gunned down on his driveway at 1445 Adams Street in Denver. The scene still bears bullet damage visible on the area around the townhouse driveway where Berg was ambushed. We talk about Berg. We try to identify his true friends.

Flynn is in touch with Berg’s former wife, Judith Berg, who was with him that evening at a Jefferson County restaurant, and almost got out of the car on Adams Street before a decision was made to take Judith to a different location. The shooting happened when Alan Berg returned alone.

Flynn pays tribute to fellow author, the late Steven Singular, who wrote Talked to Death, a book about Berg, his background, and who his true friends were in Denver and Berg’s native Chicago. We learn about what led to his being targeted for assassination by the Jew-hating bigots.

What was the role of Peter Boyles? Was he Berg’s friend? The competitive talk show host invited bigoted con man Rick Elliot to the shared studio to promote Elliott’s publication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. When Berg arrived, he took on the Jew-hating conspiracists on the air. Here’s Boyles’ version of events.

We discuss the investigation and the federal RICO prosecution of Berg’s murderers in Seattle.  Berg’s murder was part of proving a predicate act in the Aryan Brotherhood’s conspiracy of violence throughout America, and especially in the Northwest. We discuss why the host’s boss, Denver DA Norm Early, declined to prosecute in Denver. 

Robert Mathews was the ringleader of the fascists who came to Colorado to kill Berg. A charismatic leader, he was incinerated as the feds closed in on his house on 12.8.84 in Whidbey Island, WA. Flynn interviewed Matthews’ family, and they explained Robert’s early attraction to Goldwater, John Beirtherism, and hating on “Commies and Jews.”

Flynn wrote The Silent Brotherhood with his great friend, the late Gary Gerhardt. Now, their book is being made into a major motion picture called The Order. Jude Law and Nicholas Hoult are the two lead actors, with podcasting comedian Marc Maron playing the role of the late Alan Berg.

We contemplate the fate of Berg and his former wife if both got out of the vehicle that horrible night 40 years ago on Adams Street. Alan died alone, but the lessons regarding the dangers of fascist hate will not die until they rob all of us of our voices. There are lessons aplenty in this special episode.

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