This isn't really a new story but it hasn't been that widely reported outside of New York and certain news outlets near there. I just noticed it come up in the Google search while looking for some obscure runic texts a few days ago.
In the area known as Greenpoint, in Brooklyn, somebody had put up graffiti of Armanen runes in 2009. This was a local headline, it didn't get much press attention outside New York.
The reactions were pretty typical - typically ignorant. From "wow there must be a gang-war going on between dorky WoW gamers and Tolkien nerds" to "crap, get out of town, the nazis are here!!!" The misguided politically-correct vigilante-ism is so off the mark with this story, it's downright hilarious.
But of course few people who saw this stuff have any clue what it really is. I will discuss the substantial differences between Armanism and National Socialism (let alone its asinine modern bastardizations) in detail elsewhere, but suffice it to say, those who spew accusations of the two being the same thing are themselves highly prejudiced people, with no real knowledge of the Armanen runes or their history, and to those of us who actually research runes and know the history, such ignorant people and their accusations are idiotic at best. Anyway, on to the pictures!
Here at 103 Norman Avenue, somebody tried to write "Das Geheimnis Der Runen" (The Secret of the Runes, the title of Guido von List's seminal work) and did a pretty bad job of it - in English letters that look vaguely Armanen-ized. Note the Hagal rune at the end.
At 117 Nassau Avenue, a slightly more runic-looking "SAL UND SIG" inscription ("Salvation and Victory"), a common old High German saying often used by Guido von List and other German heathen revivalists in reference to the Sol/Sig rune. Note that this graffiti, just like the last one, isn't purely runic since the "G" looks like an angular Latin "G" instead of the X-like Gibor rune. The "N" rune looks like a combination of "Not" and a Wolfsangel (or upright-tilted Gibor). The "A" and "D" don't look runic at all.
One rather comical reader of the local news/pop-culture blog "New York Shitty" who saw the rune graffiti claimed:
Eat at Maria's Deli, favorite dive and watering hole of all good New York vikings! Notice the Armanen Futharkh is written in its entirety, the the Gibor rune at the end is covered up with an object, perhaps by the owner, out of misunderstanding and fear of its swastika-like appearance. Classic New York "latte-intellectual" ignorance masquerading as tolerance.
“I don’t know what to think about it. I don’t know what kind of writing it is,” said the owner of Maria’s Deli on Meserole Street, who asked her last name not be used.
Business loading garage with Armanen Futharkh painted on. Laf rune is misspelled like the Man rune, and semi-corrected. Hagal, the mother rune, is once again repeated at the end. At least this graffiti looks much more dignified than the garbage bubble-letter gang graffiti to the right of the image. Apparently people are willing to "tolerate" that illegible degenerate drivel, but not the 18 Sacred Futharkh of Odin.
The neighborhood of course started freaking out that some of these runes were the same ones used in several of the Waffen-SS divisional insignia in World War II (Sig rune, Tyr rune, Hagal rune and the like), not to mention the iconic double-Sig rune logo used by all branches of the greater SS organization.
Actually, freaking out is an understatement. Apparently nobody told this "scared yid" character and his friends that the SS only used runes because its "resident psychic" Karl Maria Wiligut simply bastardized a few of the Armanen runes, claimed he invented them, created false "racial" meanings for them, and through his influence on Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler, killed off most of their original practitioners as well as the majority of heathens in Germany. The Armanen runes themselves are not political and they are nothing to be "frightened" of. You don't need Moshiach, you need common sense!
Of course despite this largely Jewish community's paranoia that "neo-Nazis cults are taking over", even the largest zionist "political correctness" lobby in America has serious doubts that this graffiti has any connection to racists, hate-crimes or "neo-Nazi" groups:
...Greenpoint has a few neo-Nazi skinheads—but the graffiti’s reference to the “rather obscure” [Guido von] List probably goes over their heads, said Todd Gutnick, a spokesman for the Anti-Defamation League.
Well there you have it. There's probably a thriving heathen community there, not a surge in "neo-Nazis". There's only a handful of them in Greenpoint, most of whom are probably posers. Indeed, not only are the typical skinhead punks ignorant of the meanings of the Armanen runes (or any other runes), they are also ignorant of the fact that rune-masters and the Reich had a very complex history. Far from being mere tools of the NSDAP, Armanen rune societies and other mystical associations were banned by Hitler at least as early as 1941, and most of the Armanen rune masters and heathen authors of the day actually ended up being tortured or killed on Heinrich Himmler's orders. And modern "neo-Nazis" are nothing more than a puke-faced caricature of the men of the SS, who at least to their credit wore clean pressed clothes and listened to Wagner instead of garbage "hate-thrash metal".
Those of us "in the know" are well aware that the Armanen runes are NOT racist symbols and don't have any hateful meanings (indeed, the question of whether the greater Reich beyond Himmler's SS even ascribed such meanings to them is rather murky, given that official NS party policy - not withstanding the inane habits of the traitor Himmler - was not racist in any recognizable modern sense, as it looked towards pan-Aryan racial idealism rather than being shackled to superficial reactionary notions of quasi-zionist "white"racial identity like modern "neo-Nazis"). In any case the runes, whatever you think of them, are certainly not modern political constructs - they are ancient heathen Germanic magickal symbols dating back thousands of years to time immemorial, which the Gods gave to mankind as a gift of wisdom and empowerment. We humans didn't "earn" this gift, Odin sacrificed himself with great pain to obtain it - upon the great Tree of Worlds, whose roots stretch further than any mortal knows, beyond all human understanding of space and time - and then gave this wisdom to us freely, as a loving father provides selflessly for his children. The least we can do is honor his generosity by understanding the runes and respecting their true inner meanings, which are purely beneficial for mankind, without any "pre-conditions" of race or tribal category.
Now the sayings of the High One are sounded in the Hall
for the weal of mankind, for the woe of Jötuns,
Hail, thou who hast spoken! Hail, thou that knowest!
Hail, ye that have hearkened!
Use, thou who hast learned! (Hávamál, verse 164)
The weal of mankind, plain and simple - thus we see what sort of intent the authors of the rune graffiti most likely had in mind - and it has nothing in common with the paranoid delusions of some of the Greenpoint residents. Whoever wrote the rune graffiti is simply referencing the Futharkh itself and the title of List's book. There isn't a single hateful bone in any of the "secret" messages. To me this looks like the work of an overenthusiastic heathen, expressing his or her passion for the runes and their empowering effects for (at least the spiritually awake portion of) humanity - not a malevolent skinhead gang out to intimidate its victims. The rune graffiti doesn't even fall on any of the typical targets of "neo-Nazi" hate crimes. No windows were smashed, no synagogues tagged, no nooses hung in front of federal buildings, no brown people beat up... just some rather cleanly painted runes (for the most part) on a few random store fronts with no clear ethnic or religious affiliations, Jewish or otherwise. If I saw that, I'd go inside and consider buying from that store, not boycotting it! I'd think that if it hasn't been painted over, perhaps a fellow runer is the owner, why not ask?
These days it is far too easy to jump to ignorant conclusions, to self-censor, and to have a paranoia over anything that might be misread as controversial or "politically incorrect". It is time for us to take a step back and realize what runes and other Indo-European symbols actually mean, instead of swallowing some sheepish mind-numbing media outlet's word for it. Most importantly, we need to stop demonizing anything Runic as "evil", and actually pay attention to context and original meaning (Ur-bedeutung) in its ancient culture. Most Runers take the ancient meanings of runes to be the true ones - not the fake dog-whistle interpretations invented last century by overzealous PC lobbyists.
Of course I don't encourage any sort of tagging or defacing of someone else's property - however if there's going to be graffiti in big cities no matter what, I'd rather it be these noble letters of the Aesir (despite the spelling mistakes in these samples), instead of the ugly illegible punk/ghetto trash that usually litters railroads and street signs in big cities.