Remember Lin Newborn and Dan Shersty: Anti-fascists Murdered By Nazis
July fourth of 2018 marks twenty years since Las Vegas anti-racists Lin “spit” Newborn and Dan Shersty were entrapped and shot to death outside Las Vegas. Lin was 24, and Dan was 20.
Although they might have seemed like a clash of identities — Lin being a black skinhead singer-songwriter working at a local body-piercing shop, and Dan having served at Nellis Air Force Base to pay for his tuition, the two met and instantly formed a close friendship. They found affinity in piercings, Ska, punk rock and opposing the racist creeps that threatened them, their communities and the city they lived in.
Both regulars and known best friends in the music scene of Las Vegas, they were vocal about their opposition to the bigotry in the spaces they frequented and the uptick in Nazi skinhead crews in Las Vegas. Lin had started a “nazi terminator skins” crew to counter Nazi recruitment in the skinhead scene, while Dan had worked closesly with Lin to form the Las Vegas Anti-racist Action chapter which distributed anti-fascist literature, staged demonstrations and confronted out and loud white supremacist presence in the city.
Being the visible agitators for anti-fascist resistance at that time in Las Vegas proved to be dangerous for the two, and costly. Lin’s house was shot at in response to speeches he had given at past demonstrations, Dan’s car was broken into with his anti-racist pamphlets torn up, and the two had recieved dozens of threatening calls during this. The two stuck it out with their sizable chapter having their back. Dan once said that “the gamble’s part of the fun.”
On the night of July third, Dan and Lin were driving to what they thought was a Fourth of July party with two girls from Lin’s body-piercing shop. When they arrived, the two were confronted by three nazis who were specifically out for Lin. The two were shot multiple times while trying to flee into the desert. Dan was found on the morning of July fourth; when the same nazis who had shot them came back to clean up evidence. Lin was found on July sixth during police investigation.
The murderers and their accomplices were arrested and sentenced one by one over the span of ten years. Since then, anti-racists in Las Vegas and cities everywhere have told the story of Dan and Lin, a sobering reminder of what the nazis are willing to do when their trash is tolerated no longer; when unity and friendship steps up and fights back against efforts to oppress and take over.