The gunman who killed six people in the Sikh temple shooting was in a hardcore racist rock band. Experts say white supremacist groups are on the rise, fueled by a bad economy and the election of a black president.
The deadly shooting at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee is renewing concern about the white supremacist movement in the United States, which experts say is on the rise in large part because of the weak economy and a visceral distrust among some people of the first African-American president.
Wade Michael Page, who gunned down six people Sunday before being shot and killed by police, was a member of a hardcore rock band that was part of underground movement featuring racist ideologies and he had coded racist tattoos. Police have not released any details as to Mr. Page’s motivations.
Despite the increase in the number of hate groups, however, it is relatively rare for their vitriol to result in actual violence, experts say. Instead, their invective shows up on website chat rooms and in social media like Facebook and Twitter, using relatively obscure names oftentimes related to Adolf Hitler.
White supremacist members, often with shaved heads and tattoos extolling the Nazi cause, meet periodically at barbeques and concerts that receive little advance publicity. Their music is often filled with lyrics that appeal to alienated individuals.
“The election of President Obama was a lightening rod for the extremist community,” says Brian Levin, director of the Center for Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. “They regard his election as a marker for the destruction of American society.”
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