A participant on one of the forums Page frequented, Crew38.com, posted a rant on the same day as the shooting that directed others to “start beating scum in your neighborhood,” SITE reported. The next day, a discussion thread on the site lamented what it described as a low level of commitment from “self-proclaimed aryan warriors and soldiers.”
Officials said Monday that they think Page acted alone when he opened fire at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in this Milwaukee suburb. The rampage, coming just two weeks after a mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., forced the nation to grapple with yet another incident of horrific violence, this one aimed at a religious group whose low-key profile in this country added to the mystery of the attack.
The assault Sunday put a spotlight on a little-known but vibrant — and sometimes violent — music subculture, according to watchdog groups. “There is a whole underworld out there of white supremacist music of which the public is almost entirely unaware,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which first flagged Page’s connection to hate groups in a blog post Monday. The group has been monitoring Page since 2000, when he began playing for bands with names such as Max Resist, Blue Eyed Devil and Intimidation One.
“This guy was in the thick of the white-supremacist music scene,” Potok said. “He was not a fringe player. He was well known in the scene and played in some of the best-known bands.”
There is no evidence that Page harbored specific resentment toward Sikhs. Watchdog groups and Sikhs say it is likely that Page confused the religion with Islam, because Sikh men wear beards and turbans.
Sikhism, a monotheistic religion founded more than 500 years ago in northern India, is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. Followers, who revere a lineage of 10 gurus, have led a relatively peaceful existence in this country, although they have occasionally been the targets of violence since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Officials said Page served in the Army from 1992 to 1998, and he was stationed at Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort Bragg in North Carolina. He worked as a missile-system repairman and then as a psychological operations specialist before being discharged because of a “pattern of misconduct” that was linked to his being intoxicated while on duty.
In 2000, Page hit the road with his backpack and motorcycle, he said in a 2010 interview with Maryland-based Label 56. His wanderings at one point led him to Georgia to attend “Hammerfest,” an annual white-power music festival that the Anti-Defamation League calls “a virtual Woodstock of hate rock.”