Wade Michael Page, the man accused of killing six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, was a member of a white supremacist band called End Apathy, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, and in a 2010 interview about the band had expressed disappointment with a “sick society.”
Page, a U.S. Army veteran who was administratively discharged in 1998 after being demoted in rank, was shot and killed Sunday after ambushing two police officers who arrived at the temple, authorities said Monday. Federal officials told the Los Angeles Times that his tattoos and biographical details led officials to treat the shooting as a potential act of domestic terrorism.
Page’s landlord in Cudahy, Wis., Kurt Weins, said a photo on the band’s MySpace page appeared to show Page. In the photo, the man identified as Wade has “14” tattooed on his arm on top of an Odin’s cross, which represents white pride. The number 14 is a common neo-Nazi tattoo that alludes to the popular 14-word supremacist phrase, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
In an April 2010 interview posted on the website of his band’s label, Label 56, Page talked about starting the band in 2005 based on “trying to figure out what it would take to actually accomplish positive results in society and what is holding us back.”
“A lot of what I realized at the time was that if we could figure out how to end peoples [sic] apathetic ways it would be the start towards moving forward,” Page said in the interview. “Of course after that it requires discipline, strict discipline to stay the course in our sick society.”
On MySpace, the band’s most popular song is called “Self Destruct,” posted in 2006. Many of the band’s lyrics, where intelligible, express a generic sense of alienation. A few lyrics from “Submission”: “Compassion is a weakness,” “adapt to the trying times or pay with your life,” “refuse to think for yourself, you want to be led!” “Unable to see the big scheme / you could care less what it means / you don’t deserve to be saved / Submission! You’re a slave!”
Other lyrics, in snippets, express rage against power and against the decay of society. “The music," the band says in a biography posted on MySpace, “is a sad commentary on our sick society and the problems that prevent true progress.” The biography does not detail what those problems are.
The MySpace account has been idle since February. All told, listeners have played End Apathy’s songs 8,790 times on the site. Of those plays, 1,231 came Monday, after news broke that Wade was a member of the group.
In the Label 56 interview, Page, 40, said he was originally from Colorado “and had always been independent, but back in 2000 I set out to get involved and wanted to basically start over.”
In a statement released Monday, Label 56 said it did not wish to profit from the tragedy and had removed all images and products related to End Apathy from its website.
The statement said, in part: “Label 56 is very sorry to hear about the tragedy in Wisconsin and our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who are affected. We have worked hard over the years to promote a positive image and have posted many articles encouraging people to take a positive path in life, to abstain from drugs, alcohol, and just general behavior that can affect ones life negatively.”
The statement also said, “In closing please do not take what Wade did as honorable or respectable and please do not think we are all like that.”
Chicago Tribune reporter Daniel Hinkel contributed to this report from Cudahy, Wis.