Blodgett now gets called on by the media every few years -- whenever a racially or religiously motivated shooting happens -- to lend his insight behind the people who did it. His signature takeaway: Most all of these lone-wolf guys can be traced back to the indoctrination of white supremacist-leaning groups, which in turn provide the perfect scapegoat for mentally unstable people looking to blame society for their problems.
We spoke with Blodgett by phone Tuesday, a week after the most recent mass shooting in Charleston, S.C., to hear more about this underbelly of America.
Here's what he had to say (with his answers lightly edited for length and clarity).
FIX: Do you remember your first white supremacist meeting? Can you describe it? (Note: Blodgett was not an informant at the time; in the 1990s he worked as an advertising salesman for a publication run by white supremacist Willis Carto, who asked Blodgett to represent him at the meeting.)
BLODGETT: It was in Southeast Georgia, with a group called "Truth At Last." The Klan conventions were wicked. This one was worse. Aryan Nation people were there. Identity people were there, racist skinheads -- mostly fellas that made Larry the Cable Guy look like George Clooney. I thought, 'What am I doing here?' They were shouting racial epithets, screaming "Heil Hitler!", wearing baseball caps with swastikas and had Nazi tattoos on their forearms. They're chain-smoking unfiltered Camels, belting beers straight from the pitcher. Here I am, around a bunch of these hateful slobs that reeked of tobacco juice embedded in their beards and wore their greasy hair tied back in a pony tail. I had a hard time with some of these people.
BLODGETT: It was just as racist, but they were more skillful in cloaking their racism. The CCC and Jared Taylor [the founder of the white supremacist web magazine American Renaissance and current spokesman for CCC] would bring in people that had the imprimatur of expertise. They'd bring in people who would explain how in their view, black people are genetically inferior to whites. Jared Taylor was very careful about not being anti-Semitic. I actually saw him kick a couple anti-Semites out of there. But he was the only one like that. In the CCC, you'd hear all kinds of Jewish jokes, about how they're taking over the world.
Basically every problem they could find, they found a way to blame Israel and Jewish people for their problems.
FIX: Is there a moment that sticks with you above all others?
BLODGETT: I was at an Aryan Nation/Klan meeting in LA, and this guy Richard Butler got up and delivered a 20-minute sermon behind his lectern that had a swastika on it. He referred to minorities as mud people and said that Jewish people are the devil spawn. After putting up with that, I walked outside, and I saw a little girl, say 5-6 years old. And the mother was an attractive, well-dressed lady -- this wasn't some gal that weighed more than her trailer you'd see at other events. They were walking to their car, and the little girl, as she held her mother's hand, she turned to her mom and said, "Mommy, why does God let Jews live?"
And I had to stop in my tracks. I thought to myself, "God, this is the kind of brainwashing that this indoctrination can do to these people."
And whether it's somebody like Dylann Roof, who kind of self-indoctrinated by logging onto a Web site and eating it up, or a little girl who had sat through this thing, this is what happens. This is an example of the way the hatred gets imbued into the youngest people out there.
FIX: You got to know a bunch of different groups on the racism spectrum all over the nation. But is there a common thread among the people who go to these kinds of things?
BLODGETT: The common thread of all these members of all these groups is their firm belief that white people are the only humans worthy of existing -- at least in the United States. They genetically believe blacks are a failure, Jewish people are evil and greedy, Hispanics are lazy and stupid and the white race deserves to be the only race that inhabits America -- and preferably the world.
FIX: What kinds of people were drawn to these?
BLODGETT: As a general rule, losers. As a general rule, people who have got a lot of problem in their own lives. They often came from unstable families.... It's often a kid -- usually a male, but sometimes a female -- who cannot make it in school. He blames all of his problems on someone else, and when they log onto a Web site like this or they go to a meeting like this or they pop in American Resistance records and it blames other people they already don't like for their problems, they think, "There you go. That's why I'm a dropout. That's why I'm smoking crystal meth. That's why my girlfriend dumped me. That's why I can't get a job and hold it. It's all because of black people. And black people are controlled by Jewish people."
It's a very effective scapegoating technique, almost like Hitler did in the '30s. When I see these [statements from groups like CCC about Charleston] -- there very well could be older members who might feel bad. But I can assure you, most of the members of these organizations are very pleased that Dylann Roof killed those nine black people in that church.
[Editor's note: The statement from the CCC condemns the killing of nine in Charleston, but also cited Roof's "legitimate grievances."]
FIX: How much of a problem are these groups today?
BLODGETT: It's hard to say. But I can say this with total certainty: It will continue to be a problem until attitudes can be changed. That's why I'd like to see these kinds of people run out of the conservative establishment. As far as society at large, I don't see it ending. It's sad, but true.
FIX: Is there anything we can do?
BLODGETT: The best thing that people can do that are concerned about this is to get the word out, and if you see anybody who might be drawn to this kind of stuff, try to steer them the other way. It's like a drug addiction.
FIX: And finally, what made you want to share this story with us? Aren't you kind of worried about your safety?
BLODGETT: If I can do my part to kind of run this crap out of the GOP, I'll feel good about it. And -- I hope [these groups] read this -- I have a conceal and carry permit in 32 states. So I'm always armed and ready for them.