In the aftermath of the tragic shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, information has emerged regarding the background — and possible motives — of the likely shooter and terrorist, Wade Michael Page.
From current accounts, Page had been a member of the white supremacist subculture since at least 2000. He apparently embraced much of the music of the white racist movement, and was a member of at least two racist skinhead (note that not all skinheads are racist) bands — End Apathy and Definite Hate. One of the bands, Define Hate, apparently had symbolic links to the Hammerskin Nation, a national racist skinhead organization (most are regional) that has, in the past, proven to be influential inside the white racist youth subculture.
What does this apparently linkage mean for American law enforcement?
Turning Crude Racism Into Political Conviction
The white supremacist movement’s leaders, who often depend on a groomed personality cult to gain legitimacy and recognition, use music as a recruiting tool for young prospects. Their goal, say experts, is to use the music to attract recruits into a venue where the leaders can then start to reshape crude racism into political conviction.
In furtherance of this objective, self-proclaimed neo-Nazi leaders such as Tom Metzger (founder of the now-defunct White Aryan Resistance) and Billy Roper often arrive at white power concerts such as Volkfests or “unity gatherings” to deliver their more “sophisticated” form of hate.
Tom Metzger has been an especially crude propagandist and has preached what he has called the Third Position, which he has described as a rejection of both capitalism and socialism. He has embraced the idea of “lone wolf” tactics and has espoused that neo-Nazis should do a better job blending into local communities, eschewing the cruder forms of expression such as tattoos and the shaving of their heads.
Gary Lauck, a neo-Nazi formally from Lincoln (Neb.) — garnering him the name the “Farm Belt Fuhrer” — who affects a German accent when he speaks, has also recognized the importance of this political transformation from young racist skinhead to mature neo-Nazi.
Lauck has made an effort to use the web (DHS estimates there are over 2,400 White Supremacist websites) to recruit skinheads into the larger neo-Nazi cause, though much of his focus has been on Europe, especially Germany, Denmark, and Finland.
The music is an important part of the racist subculture — not only for its recruitment potential, but also as an expression of the racist angst many in the movement feel. In an interview Page reportedly gave to the white supremacist website Label 56, he explained the importance of his music this way:
“When he (Page) first started the band (End Apathy) in 2005, its name reflected his wish to ‘figure out how to end people’s apathetic ways’ and start ‘moving forward’.”
The music was, as is often the case, introspective and helped express Page’s frustration and failure. Like many would-be terrorists, Page likely transformed his personal shortcomings into a larger but skewed worldview of prejudice and oppression.
Serious Officer Safety Implications
For law enforcement, recognizing racist music and record labels has important safety implications, especially during a traffic stop where CD’s could be readily visible on a seat or dashboard. Officers should become familiar with the signs that someone they stopped could have white supremacist and, possibly, violent tendencies.
Record labels could include the following:
• Panzerfaust Records
• Resistance Records
• Diehard Records
• Micetrap Records
• MSR Productions
• White Power Records
• Vinland Winds Records
• Sniper Records
• Hammerskin Nation
Groups could include some of the following:
• Prussian Blue (Lynx and Lamb Gaede)
• Bound for Glory
• No Remorse
• Angry Aryans
• Das Reich
• Nordic Thunder
• Max Resist
• Skrewdriver, or anything by Ian Stuart Donaldson
• Korrozia Metalla (a Russian band)
Music can create a bond, to include language and lifestyle recommendations, on disaffected youth. Just watch a YouTube video of an Insane Clown Posse “Gathering of the Juggalos.”
Though many racist skinhead organizations are localized and short-lived — and the movement is prone to schisms — the subculture’s music creates a more permanent but unofficial alliance among likeminded youth.
The music preaches violence, embraces anger, and professes white Aryan principles. Should the listener embrace the hate, he (or she) could direct unprovoked and unexpected violent attacks not only towards minorities, but representatives of the government, as Pace did when he remorselessly shot Lt Brian Murphy nine times.