Shooter at Sikh Temple known to hate group watchers
OAK CREEK, Wis. — The gunman who killed worshipers at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Sunday had become deeply embedded in the white-supremacist music scene and was well known to anti-hate watchdog groups, one of which said it had been tracking the 40-year-old for more than a decade.
In 2000, Wade Michael Page, an Army veteran, sold everything he owned aside from his motorcycle and journeyed from Colorado, eventually settling in rural North Carolina. He joined prominent “white power” rock bands. And over time, he became frustrated with what he viewed as “people’s apathetic ways” and the lack of “strict discipline in our sick society,” according to an interview he conducted with his record label.
Who are the hate-group watchers? Anti-Defense League (ADL), Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) all are hate group watchers and you do not want to get on their list. These hate group watchers do watch and they continually alert law enforcement about those who seem to target others with literature or speech.
Hate groups can only go so far. The rest is up to law enforcement, homeland security and ordinary citizens. Wade Michael Page has been watched for several decades. He wasn’t an ordinary bystander. He sought out like minded people and called attention to himself with his activities and his music.
What can we do to prevent such horrific acts from happening? For starters, Americans can stop being horrified that such groups exist like ACLU, ADL, and SPLC. They should stop being aghast over reports coming out of the Department of Homeland Security and its sub agencies that suggest behavior profiles on people. Remember the outrage when DHS suggested that retired military folks might be involved in domestic terrorism? Right after that outrage, the Holocaust Museum was shot up by a vet and this Page toad is ex military. Not everyone in the military is an exemplary citizen. Nearly every large organization has a few bad apples, for heaven sakes.
Law enforcement has not revealed a motive for the shootings, officials said Monday that they think Page acted alone when he opened fire at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in this Milwaukee suburb, killing six and wounding three others — including a police officer — before police fatally shot him. Sikhs are thought of as a gentle people who keep a low profile. Music seemed to be the tie that binds in this outrageous shooting.
The rampage, coming just two weeks after a mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., forced the nation to grapple with yet another incident of horrific violence, this one aimed at a religious group whose low-key profile in this country added to the mystery of the attack. The assault Sunday put a spotlight on a little-known but vibrant — and sometimes violent — music subculture, according to watchdog groups.
“There is a whole underworld out there of white supremacist music of which the public is almost entirely unaware,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which first flagged Page’s connection to hate groups in a blog post Monday. The group has been monitoring Page since 2000, when he began playing for bands with names such as Max Resist, Blue Eyed Devil and Intimidation One.
Page was known as a white supremacist and a skinhead and rode the hate music tour. He played in bands and was also merely an attendee. He was known to frequent music festivals like Hammerfest, an annual white-power music festival in Georgia. Page have relocated from North Carolina to Wisconsin where he lived with a girlfriend and her son.
No one knows how many powder kegs like Page exist nationwide. Meanwhile, the hate group watchers and law enforcement need to work together to keep an eye on things. Again, we find ourselves walking a balance beam of rights vs safety. How do we protect ourselves and groups from these sick monsters?