Forty-year-old Wade Michael Page, the man who allegedly murdered six people at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee yesterday, was fatally shot by a police officer in the parking lot, according to the Washington Post, leaving the religious community he attacked, law-enforcement officers and the public at large to wonder what could have motivated what officials are calling "an act of domestic terrorism."
While knowledge of the precise origins of the massacre's motivation, and whether it's ultimately deemed a hate crime, will do little to bring comfort to the Sikh community, an investigation by the Southern Poverty law Center sheds some light on those questions. According to a bulletin published today, Page was a "frustrated neo-Nazi" who was once 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.