The XX Factor

Sikh Shooter Wade Michael Page Was Not Hardcore

Sikh protests.
Sikh men and women pray during a protest near the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi in response to the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin.

Photo by Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images.

As Dave Weigel reports, the Southern Poverty Law Center has announced that they’ve been keeping an eye on the alleged Sikh temple shooter Wade Michael Page for some time now and that he was in a number of hardcore neo-Nazi punk bands. As recently as 2010, Page was still giving interviews about his latest band, End Apathy, for the white supremacist record label Label 56. In the interview, Page talks vaguely about “tyranny” and claims that the public isn’t moving fast enough on some abstract ideal that he fails to specify.

Perusing Label 56’s site is an unwelcome reminder that a certain kind of stupid will never disappear. Despite its pretense of intellectualism, the site is just a hodgepodge of blind hate for basically everyone who isn’t a straight white guy. And this is where the neo-Nazi embrace of hardcore punk has always been a testament to the skinheads’ lack of even basic reasoning skills: The originators of the genre, if they were political at all, tended to lean left. Indeed, one of the most important early hardcore bands on the East Coast was Bad Brains, an all-black band that basically kicked off the influential D.C. hardcore scene. And no one would call Henry Rollins, frontman of the seminal hardcore band Black Flag, anything but liberal. Not to mention that one of the best-selling hardcore bands of all time was the hyper-left band the Dead Kennedys, who struggled trying to run the neo-Nazis out of the scene. So it seems the attraction to the hardcore scene for neo-Nazis has never really gone any deeper than the fact that they like the loud music and think being heavily tattooed makes them look scary. 

One interesting/depressing item of note from the Label 56 blog is a reprint of a Washington Times article from a fellow at Concerned Women for America that regurgitates the usual fearmongering that the social apocalypse is nigh because women don’t respect male authority anymore. There’s also some posturing in support of Voula Papachristou, who was banned from the Olympics for tweeting hate speech. Turns out that just under the surface of these tattooed, mean-looking neo-Nazi punks are a bunch of uptight squares who fear anyone unlike themselves. Not very hardcore. The whole thing would be ridiculous, in fact, if these clowns weren’t also dangerous— the events of yesterday morning demonstrate that they are.