Wade Michael Page, 40, is seen in this undated picture from
a myspace.com web page for the musical group "End Apathy".
Photo from Reuters.
The killings of six worshippers at a Sikh temple in
Wisconsin has thrust attention on white power music, a
thrashing, punk-metal genre that sees the white race under
It was a movement fully embraced by shooter Wade Michael
With a shaved head and tattoos, Page played guitar and sang
for a number of white power bands with names like End Apathy
and Definite Hate, espousing views on albums such as "Violent
Victory" and encouraging others to act through his Internet
"Violence is part of this culture," said Robert Futrell,
professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Las
Vegas, and co-author of American Swastika: Inside the
White Power Movement's Hidden Spaces of Hate.
Called "hate music" by detractors and "independent music" by
advocates, it provides an outlet for white supremacists, some
of whom openly preach violence against minorities while
others offer more subtle messages of angst and alienation
found in many forms of music.
"There is a set of ideas that suggests that a race war is
going to happen," Futrell said, in which whites will be
pitted against all others and must fight to defend against
"Part of preparing for the race war is stockpiling weapons,"
he said. "It's instructive to know that one of (Page's) bands
was called 'End Apathy' and part of this ... is this push to
activate people. So his action could be seen as an act that
sparks or catalyses action, that sparks or ends the apathy he
Former white supremacist Arno Michaels, the founder of Life
After Hate, an online magazine that advocates for racial,
religious and gender equality, said white power music was "an
active practice of hate and violence."
"If you are playing white power music ... you are learning
how to hate people and you are practicing emotional violence
against them. Tragically, what happened on Sunday was the
logical conclusion of this hate and violence," Michaels said.
Armed with a 9mm handgun, Page, a 40-year-old US Army
veteran, opened fire at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, killing
six people and wounding four others before he was shot dead
The dead were five men and one woman, aged between 39 and 84,
including the president of the congregation and a priest.
Police were searching for a motive, but the New York-based
Sikh Coalition said it believes Page was driven by hate. The
shooter also left a number of clues in his music and postings
on Internet site for skinheads.
The Definite Hate album "Violent Victory" displayed a drawing
of a white arm punching a black man in the face, one eye
popping out of its socket and blood coming from his mouth.
Page was also closely tied to the Hammerskin Nation, a
skinhead organisation whose 14-word motto - "We must secure
the existence of our people and a future for white children"
- has made the Roman numeral 14 a symbol of the movement.
The neo-Nazi skinhead group is deeply connected to the white
power music scene with chapters across the United States and
in Europe, New Zealand and Australia. The group puts on one
of the biggest white power music festivals, called
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."
"Gather your guns, the time is now," says another line in the
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
"We do not wish to profit from this tragedy financially or
with publicity," Label 56 said. "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
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
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
In recent days, Page turned from his guitar to a gun.
On July 28, he walked into The Shooters Shop in the Milwaukee
suburb West Allis, and bought a Springfield Armory XDM for
$US686.39, said store manager Eric Grabowski.
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