Domestic Terrorism: The Tragic Shooting of Sikhs in Wisconsin
August 7, 2012 Morris Dees / Southern Poverty Law Center
The man who allegedly murdered six people at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee yesterday, identified in media reports as Wade Michael Page, was a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band. At various times, he said, he also played in the hate rock bands Youngland (2001-2003), Celtic Warrior, Radikahl, Max Resist, Intimidation One, Aggressive Force and Blue Eyed Devils.
Domestic Terrorism: The Tragic Shooting of Sikhs in Wisconsin Morris Dees / Southern Poverty Law Center
August 6, 2012) -- I was saddened, but not surprised, by the act of terror committed by the white supremacist who murdered six people and critically wounded a police officer at a Sikh temple yesterday in Wisconsin.
As you may have seen in the news, we were the first to identify the gunman, Wade Michael Page, as a neo-Nazi skinhead, a committed racist who has performed with at least two hate rock bands.
Just two months ago, we distributed a special training video about the danger posed by racist skinheads like Page to tens of thousands of law enforcement officers – free of charge. This morning, a number of law enforcement agencies told us that they would be urging their officers to watch it as soon as possible.
The danger, of course, is not confined to one locale. As I'm writing you, we're reaching out to the Sikh community in Georgia to help them respond to anti-Sikh harassment and violence at school.
Alleged Sikh Temple Shooter
Former Member of Skinhead Band Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok
(UPDATE (4:38 p.m. CST) -- Label56, the record label that distributed albums by Wade Michael Page's band End Apathy, released a statement Monday afternoon -- one day after Page killed six Sikhs in Wisconsin -- attempting to distance itself from the terrorist attack.
"We have worked hard over the years to promote a positive image and have posted many articles encouraging people to take a positive path in life," the statement says. "[W]e have never sought attention by using ‘shock value'/ symbols and ideology that are generally labeled as such. With that being said, all images and products related to End Apathy have been removed from our site."
The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed Label56.com as a hate site since 2006 due to its active promotion and distribution of racist hate music. And while the label might have stopped selling End Apathy's albums, it continues to offer such hate rock bands as Stormtroop 16, Children of the Reich, Total War and Bound for Glory.
UPDATE (12:23 p.m. CST):
Wade Michael Page was a member of two racist skinhead bands -- End Apathy and Definite Hate, a band whose album "Violent Victory" featured a gruesome drawing of a disembodied white arm punching a black man in the face. In the drawing, the fist is tattooed with the letters "HFFH," the acronym for the phrase "Hammerskins Forever, Forever Hammerskins."
The Hammerskins is a nationwide skinhead organization with regional factions and chapters that once dominated the racist skinhead movement in the United States.
Both of Page's bands played with a revolving lineup of musicians, and their music was at one time featured on the Hammerskin Nation record label. In 2010, Page and his band mates -- including Brent Rackley, a member of a Confederate Hammerskins chapter in North Carolina -- played at a racist music festival called Independent Artist Uprise in Baltimore.
Other bands featured at the show were Blue Eyed Devils and Max Resist, both influential mainstays on the hate music scene.
The man who allegedly murdered six people at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee yesterday, identified in media reports as Wade Michael Page, was a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band.
In 2010, Page, then the leader of the band End Apathy, gave an interview to the white supremacist website Label 56. He said that when he started the band in 2005, its name reflected his wish to "figure out how to end people's apathetic ways" and start "moving forward." "I was willing to point out some of my faults on how I was holding myself back," Page said.
Later, he added, "The inspiration was based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole." He did not discuss violence in the interview.
Page told the website that he had been a part of the white power music scene since 2000, when he left his native Colorado on a motorcycle. He attended white power concerts in Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Colorado.
At various times, he said, he also played in the hate rock bands Youngland (2001-2003), Celtic Warrior, Radikahl, Max Resist, Intimidation One, Aggressive Force and Blue Eyed Devils. End Apathy, he said, included "Brent" on bass and "Ozzie" on drums; the men were former members of Definite Hate and another band, 13 Knots.
In 2000, the Southern Poverty Law Center has found that Page also attempted to purchase goods from the neo-Nazi National Alliance, then America's most important hate group.
Morris Dewa is the Founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center Skinheads and Law Enforcement Southern Poverty Law Center Video
Law enforcement professionals are more likely to encounter dangerous extremists than virtually any other segment of American society — and those confrontations are, tragically, sometimes fatal.
In fact, a 2010 University of Maryland study found that 49 of more than 400 people killed by far-right extremists since 1990, or nearly 15%, have been law enforcement officers. With that in mind, the SPLC has undertaken a number of initiatives to equip officers with information and other resources that may help them carry out their duties with a minimum of danger to themselves.
Our free law enforcement trainings teach officers how to recognize hate groups, symbols and activity; the threat potential of specific groups; and how to respond to hate group activity. The Intelligence Files contains updated biographical profiles of leading hate groups and extremist leaders, plus background on the various extremist ideologies. And our Hate Map helps officials locate extremist groups within their communities.
Racist skinheads are among the most violent and volatile elements of the white supremacist movement and have been responsible for numerous murders and other acts of violence, often targeting minorities. Law enforcement officials face significant danger when confronting them. Below is a 12-minute training video produced by the SPLC to help officers learn more about the skinhead subculture and the warning signs that can help them deal with the threat. Other SPLC resources are also listed.
Essay: Skinheads in America
Racist Skinhead Symbols and Tattoos
Timeline of the Racist Skinhead Movement
Leaving the Neo-Nazi Lifestyle, and Tattoos, Behind
• Blood & Honour
• Keystone United
• Vinlanders Social Club
• Eric "The Butcher" Fairburn
Randal Lee Krager
American Front Members Arrested
Intelligence Report Special Edition -
Racist Skinheads: Understanding the Threat
If you are an officer who specializes in tracking racist skinheads, there is a national organization dedicated to that purpose. The Skinhead Intelligence Network – or SIN – is a unique network of officers that is meant to aid law enforcement in monitoring, tracking and prosecuting racist skinheads involved in criminal activity. Active-duty officers interested in more information about joining SIN can email their inquiries to email@example.com.
Terror From the Right: 75 Plots, Conspiracies and Racist Rampages Since Oklahoma City. This booklet outlines terrorism from the domestic radical right since 1995. Includes a roster of murdered law enforcement officials.
Skinheads in America: Racists on the Rampage (PDF). This resource outlines the history of the racist skinhead movement in America. Includes a timeline, a glossary of skinhead terms, profiles of several leaders, and a section detailing racist symbols and tattoos.
The Second Wave: Return of the Militias. This 2009 white paper detailing the return of the antigovernment "Patriot" militias that produced so much criminal violence during their first iteration in the 1990s.
The articles summarized below are selected from the SPLC's quarterly Intelligence Report magazine and may be of special interest to law enforcement officials.
"Devil's Den: Inside the Aryan Nations," 2008. A review of a book by confidential informant Dave Hall and his handler, FBI agent Tim Burkey, that details their work against the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations.
"Breaking the Skins," 2006. Details the work of Mesa, Ariz., Detective Matt Browning, who infiltrated murderous racist skinhead groups.
"Going Undercover," 2006. In an interview, former FBI agent Mike German discusses working undercover against racist skinhead groups and antigovernment militias.
"End of Watch," 2005. Details the stories of 15 law enforcement officials murdered by radical-right extremists. Also includes a slide show of the slain officers.
"The Abbeville Horror," 2004. Tells the story of two law enforcement officials murdered by members of the Bixby family, zealots of the antigovernment "Patriot" movement, in Abbeville, S.C.
"At Death's Door," 2003. An interview with David Koenig, a former Dayton, Ohio, police officer who was shot nearly to death in a 1979 encounter with the late Harold (Ray) Redfeairn, one of the most notorious figures of the radical racist right.
"On the Streets," 2003. A profile of Sgt. Brett Parson of Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police, who headed one of the country's most effective liaison units to sexual minorities in the community.