SAN BERNADINO (WKOW) -- The director of an academic center on the issues of hate says his colleague had frequent contact with Oak Creek shooter Wade Page as part of research on southern California's hate rock scene.
Director Brian Levin of California State University-San Bernadino's Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism says center board member Pete Simi, of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, became familiar with Page as Simi tracked the use of music to promote hate themes.
"I'm quite familiar with Mr. Page," Levin said. "Page was someone who was awkward. He drank a lot to the extent of passing out."
Levin says Page was involved as a musician in not only hate-rock, but other forms of rock.
The hate-rock scene involves record labels and tours of shows. Representatives of a label with one of Page's hate-rock bands as a client have distanced themselves from Page's violence at the Sikh temple.
Levin says the hate-rock culture is not merely an outlet for people to channel their ideology through music. Levin says it gives people who are socially isolated, alienated and frustrated lyrics with identified targets for violence.
Arno Michaelis is a former white power skinhead who lives in the Milwaukee area and founded the non-profit group Life after Hate. The group's website features a video statement of condolence to the Sikh victims of Wade's Sunday shooting rampage. Michaelis also recounts some of his past experiences on the video, including beating people simply based on their race or sexual orientation.
Michaelis says he did not know Page, nor Page's motivations for his deadly act. "But I can remember my own sense of urgency that I felt as I embraced this paranoid lie that my race was under attack and that I had to do something about it."
Michaelis' group promotes a motto, "kindness is not weakness," and uses the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others to help counter hate-group messages.
Levin says Page's recent break up with a girlfriend and departure from a Milwaukee area factory job could have combined with mental health issues to prompt Page to try to prove himself by acting on his white supremacy ideology.