Sikh shooting draws attention to white power music
The shooter of six people in Wisconsin at a Sikh temple, Wade Michael Page, was a participant in bands that performed racism-charged music. This music is considered 'an active practice of hate and violence' by some.
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Page's most popular song, "Self Destruct," carried no overtly racial message. But other songs he played on, such as "Backbone," openly preached white supremacy with messages such as, "It's 2010 and here we are to get rid of them; The enemies of the white race."Skip to next paragraph
"Gather your guns, the time is now," says another line in the song.
The Definite Hate song "Take Action" was even more direct.
"All the talking is done and now it's time to walk the walk; Revolution's in the air, 9mm in my hand. You can run but you can't hide from this master plan."
The record label that released works by Page's band End Apathy, Label 56, removed all images and products related to End Apathy and issued a statement expressing sympathy for the victims.
"We do not wish to profit from this tragedy financially or with publicity," Label 56 said Monday. "In closing please do not take what Wade did as honorable or respectable and please do not think we are all like that."
Page emptied several magazines at the temple in Oak Park, Wisconsin, and several more unused magazines were found on the scene.
He was discharged from the Army in 1998 after six years of service for "patterns of misconduct," according to military sources. In June 1998, he was disciplined for being drunk on duty and had his rank reduced to specialist from sergeant. He was not eligible to re-enlist.
The Anti-Defamation League, which tracks white supremacists in the United States, identified Page in 2010 when it noticed End Apathy and Definite Hate were performing at several music events organized by well-known white supremacists, said Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research for the league.
Pitcavage said white power music is modeled after three main genres, Oi, a British subgenre of punk rock; punk rock, and black metal.
There are between 100 and 150 white power music groups in the United States at any given time, he said.
"There's a chicken or egg question there. Is it hate music that motivates some of these people to violence or is it that they already have this mindset?" Pitcavage said.
According to the SITE Monitoring Service, a Maryland-based firm that tracks extremists on the Internet, Page was a "strident member" of the forums he joined and had posted hundreds of messages on websites, agitating for white supremacist actions.
In recent days, Page turned from his guitar to a gun.
He came back two days later, after the 48-hour background check cleared, to pick up the gun and spent 20 minutes practicing in the gun range in the basement, Grabowski said as the practice rounds from other shooters could be felt through the floor.
"Nothing stood out about him. The people we remember are the ones who rub us the wrong way. If something stands out, we deny them a sale," Grabowski said.
"My heart goes out to the families. My first thought when I heard the news on Sunday was, 'God, I hope I didn't sell him that gun.'"
(Additional reporting by Lily Kuo, James B. Kelleher, Keith Coffman and Mirjam Donath; Writing by Daniel Trotta)
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