Like Page, I’m a veteran of the U.S. military. I joined to prepare myself for the war against the American government that I believed was coming. I wanted to be a soldier for the white race. When I returned to civilian life, I threw the first Aryan Fest outside Oklahoma City, a festival full of neo-Nazi “hate music,” exactly the subculture in which Page was a figure.
At these types of festivals, everyone is white. To neo-Nazis, it’s an environment that feels great, very safe. When they get back to the real world, with people of all colors, they feel like it’s an assault on Aryan dominance, and plenty of them feel compelled to attack this diversity. The skinhead movement is trying to distance itself from Page now, but in a year or two, I imagine that bands will be yelling, “This one is for Michael Page!” before playing songs that glorify what he did.
If it weren’t for my sons, I don’t know where I’d be today. The beginning of the end of my enchantment with white supremacy came one sunny day in Hailey, Idaho, in 1995. My 1-year-old son, Konrad, and I were watching the children’s television show “Gullah Gullah Island.” We were having a great time, watching and laughing, when my 3-year-old, Tommy, walked into the room and turned off the TV.
Tommy shook his finger at me like a little parent, saying, “Daddy, we don’t watch shows with n------ on it in this house!”
At first I was proud of him, a chip off the old block. But then, as I watched my boys playing on the family room floor, I began to see their future: a nowhere life filled with hate, prison or even death. These were the lives my friends and I had. I wanted more for my sons. I wanted them to be better than I was.
About a year later, I drove to my mother’s place in Southern California. I told her that I’d decided to leave the movement. When she encouraged me to go to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group, and its Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, I started laughing at her. “Are you on crack?” I said. But she kept bugging me.
Eventually, I went. I ended up spending about 21
2 weeks there, handing over 15 years’ worth of racist literature to the center’s senior researcher and talking to two rabbis.