The suspect charged in Barrett's homicide is a 22-year-old African-American ex-con with tattoos linking him to the Vice Lords gang. Given Barrett's at times incessant racist rants against even the most basic civil rights, the notion that Barrett would come to such an end will likely even please some.
By midnight on the night of Barrett's murder, there were over 183 comments on carionledger.com's online story about Barrett's murder. It would have no doubt delighted Barrett that he got that much attention and that much of it was almost incoherent anonymous exchanges between people engaging in racist bilge.
Richard Barrett was the worst sort of racist - the kind who had the native intelligence and education to know better. Barrett was, in is own twisted way, a true intellectual. He was a gifted orator and debater.
He brought a theatrical sense of showmanship to his white supremacist road show. And more than perhaps any trait I came to recognize in Barrett, he was a stone publicity junkie.
What Barrett wasn't ever - in the three decades I observed his activities, was violent. Unlike most of the Klansmen I've encountered, Barrett's racism was of the non-violent variety.
The investigation into Barrett's murder will continue, but I will be shocked if this turns out to be anything remotely related to a hate crime. Barrett was confrontational only when the TV cameras were rolling.
In 2008, Barrett granted the London Telegraph newspaper an interview. In it, Barrett expressed his support for Barack Obama's election as president. Why?
"This country is facing the greatest conflagration in its history. I'm talking about an Obama victory, about the flag of New Africa replacing the Stars and Stripes, about the extinguishing of America."
That's classic Barrett.
Barrett's Nationalist Movement was a farce, a figment of his imagination.
But Barrett's intellect was real - and that's his legacy. A mind, as it turns out, really is a terrible thing to waste and Barrett wasted his in undecipherable mistrust.
Columnist Sid Salter is Perspective editor at at the Clarion-Ledger; contact him at (601) 961-7084 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.