The Southern Poverty Law Center put out the early characterization of End Apathy as a "racist white power" band, but I'm not sure how they know that:
A MySpace page for the band describes them as an “old school” band with “punk and metal” influences.MORE: At the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“The music is a sad commentary on our sick society and the problems that prevent true progress,” reads a description of the band on the MySpace page.
[The now-dead suspect Wade Michael] Page... interviewed in April 2010... said he started the band because he wanted to “figure out how to end people's apathetic ways” and that it would "be the start towards moving forward."
The band's songs, Page said, were based on a variety of topics including, “sociological issues, religion, and how the value of human life has been degraded by being submissive to tyranny and hypocrisy that we are subjugated to.”...
“Back in 2000 I set out to get involved [in music] and wanted to basically start over,” he said. “So, I sold everything I owned except for my motorcycle and what I could fit into a backpack and went on cross country trip visiting friends and attending festivals and shows.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that has studied hate crimes for decades, reported Monday that Page was a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band known as End Apathy.The Journal Sentinel includes some links to places I don't want to link to.
Heidi Beirich, director of the center's intelligence project, said her group had been tracking Page since 2000, when he tried to purchase goods from the National Alliance, a well-known hate group.
The National Alliance was led by William Pierce, who was the author of "The Turner Diaries." The book depicts a violent revolution in the United States leading to an overthrow of the federal government and, ultimately, a race war. Parts of the book were found in Timothy McVeigh's getaway car after the bombing of the federal building Oklahoma City in 1995.
Beirich said there was "no question" Page was an ardent follower and believer in the white supremacist movement. She said her center had evidence that he attended "hate events" around the country.
"He was involved in the scene," she said.
Pierce is dead, and Beirich said the National Alliance is no longer considered to be an influential group.
Also on Monday, a volunteer human-rights group called Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) found links between Page, his band and a white supremacist website called Stormfront.
Jeffrey Imm, who heads R.E.A.L., said in an interview Monday that someone based in Milwaukee using the name "End Apathy" began posting on the website in February 2008. Additionally, appearances by Page's band were promoted on the Stormfront site, including a white supremacist gathering in March 2012 in Richmond, Va.
IN THE COMMENTS: Sorun said:
By the way, what happened to all of the dangerous white militia groups in the 90s? They were everywhere! Did they all just decide to go bowling instead?CommonHandle said:
How much money did the SPLC raise from that great crisis?
I find it a bit creepy that SPLC defines its "intelligence project" as following around anyone who has an association with people or groups that espouse racist beliefs, even if nothing that individual has done or said themselves comes across as overtly racist. Creepiness aside, aren't there plenty of real racists out there? people who regularly and unambiguously engage in racist speech? That the have a "profile" of this man isn't only kind of disturbing, but it seems pretty frivolous.BarryD said:
Sometimes I think the SPLC figures that every time there are two or more white people standing on the street together, it's a white-power group.Chip said:
That said, this guy was, indeed, not apathetic, in the end.
Too bad, really.
There's a lot to be said for apathy, especially among those who are fucked in the head. I think that apathy saves our society from many ills, actually.
From the article:Michael Ryan said:
"According to Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center 's intelligence project, the group has been tracking Page since 2000, when he allegedly attempted to purchase goods from the neo-Nazi National Alliance."
How does the SPLC have access to to information about a private - and perfectly legal - commercial transaction?
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it weird that the SPLC allegedly knows what "goods" people are purchasing, and is following people around the country? An entire group built around stalking?Sorun said:
The SPLC didn't prevent any of this.Rob Crawford said:
What the hell good are they if they're going to get in everyone's business but not accomplish anything other than paying their own salaries.
The description of his band sounds like "Rage Against the Machine" and that "Peace Through Music" crap.Chef Mojo said:
Thank goodness we have SPLC to tell us which is a hate group, which is a bona fide band, and which deserves hundreds of thousands in charity dollars!
The description of his band sounds like "Rage Against the Machine" and that "Peace Through Music" crap.And TMink says:
That was my first thought, too. I wonder what SLPC's criteria is in this charge?
Again, not saying he's not a white supremacist, but I'd like some very specific evidence as to why. Actually, I hope that's what this pathetic loser was, so we can get a partial explanation, so the people dealing with the aftermath of this atrocity can start to gather their lives back together.
OK, it sounds like this guy is an actual, you know, racist. This is what racism looks like. It is stupid and violent and senseless.ADDED: Whatever the degree of racism in the the punk rock music, the music is less connected to the murders than the "Batman" movies were connected to the Aurora murders. You have these artistic forms of expression that entail violence, and then you have one person who crosses over into extreme violence. What is the relationship? Be careful about seeing a stronger causal connection because you don't like the artwork in question — punk rock... Hollywood movies.... Let's try to find out what is true, not what we want or don't want to believe.
Using the term for anything else makes horrid racism like this more acceptable.
UPDATE, August 7: Here's some useful individual information about Page, based on an interview with someone who viewed him as his "closest friend" a decade ago:
Christopher Robillard of Oregon, who described Page as "my closest friend" in the service more than a decade ago, said Page was pushed out of the military for showing up to formation drunk.ANOTHER UPDATE: More here, with specific detail on Page.
He described Page as "a very kind, very smart individual -- loved his friends. One of those guys with a soft spot." But even then, Page "was involved with white supremacy," Robillard said.
"He would talk about the racial holy war, like he wanted it to come," Robillard said. "But to me, he didn't seem like the type of person to go out and hurt people."
Later Monday, Robillard told CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" that Page likely sought attention to his beliefs "because he was always the loner type of person. Even in a group of people, he would be off alone."
Teresa Carlson, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Milwaukee office, said investigators have been told Page may have been involved with the white supremacist movement, but that hadn't been confirmed. No motive for Sunday's attack had been established, but the FBI was investigating whether the killings at the Sikh temple were an act of domestic terrorism, she said.
Page moved back to Denver after his discharge, where he had a tough time in civilian life "and was basically living on the street," Robillard said. It was during that period that Page joined a "racist band" and started to get his body inked, his Army buddy told CNN.
"I asked him why he was aligning himself with this stuff," Robillard said. "He really didn't answer. He would duck it."
Page had a girlfriend who left him for another member of the band, which then kicked him out, Robillard said. The last time they saw each other -- more than 10 years ago -- Robillard said Page was on a motorcycle trip across the country.
It was a trip Page recounted in 2010, in an online interview about his band End Apathy. He founded it in in the small town of Nashville in eastern North Carolina, where he ended up after bouncing around the country from California to West Virginia.
"I am originally from Colorado and had always been independent, but back in 2000 I set out to get involved and wanted to basically start over," he said.
The band put out at least two recordings through a label that promoted them on the neo-Nazi website Stormfront.