Washington: The slain gunman Wade Michael Page, who shot dead six worshippers at a Gurdwara in Wisconsin, preached and espoused white supremacist views even while he served in the US Army from 1992 to 1998.
Former colleagues of the alleged gunman told to US newspaper Star and Stripes which reports on matter affecting the US armed forces, that Page did little to hide his white supremacist views among his servicemen. Among other things, Page not only had racist tattoos, but also drove a Volkswagen Thing, a boxy vehicle resembling a Nazi Staff car, that he repainted from orange to red. With white trim and black tires, it mirrored the colors of the Nazi flag.
"It's kind of amazing he was able to stay in, especially given what was going on around base at the time," Fred Lucas, a former soldier who served with Page at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, told Star and Stripes.
According to the newspaper, among the open signs of Page's extremism were his tattoos. Officials at Fort Bragg — where 21 soldiers were identified as white supremacists after a skinhead soldier was convicted of murdering a black couple in 1995 — conducted tattoo inspections to track down anybody with extremist markings.
Yet a tattoo on Page's left shoulder referencing the 14-word mantra of skinheads apparently went unnoticed, Stripes reported. The credo reads: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." According to Lucas, Page wasn't shy about his views during working hours.
Page often chided him for betraying his race with his interest in Latin culture. Lucas, a fellow sergeant and team leader, spoke Spanish, had served in Latin America and went to salsa bars on the weekends.
Page said that Lucas, blond-haired and blue-eyed, should be committed to the master race, Lucas recalled, Stripes reported. On a day the unit had allowed the soldiers to wear civilian clothes, Lucas said Page criticised him for wearing a Latin shirt called a guyabera, saying that kind of attire wasn't something white people should wear, it said.
After Page left the Army, he became heavily immersed in the hate rock music scene, joining several bands with names such as Intimidation One, Aggressive Force, and Blue Eyed Devils.
In 2005, he formed his own band, End Apathy, Stripes said. According to Stripes, Page's life started to deteriorate in August 2010 when he was fired from his trucking job after he was arrested for driving his personal vehicle under the influence in North Carolina.
During the last few years, it appears that he was not in a good economic condition. Since he could not afford the house he bought in 2007 it was foreclosed.
It is now listed for sale for nearly $ 50,000 less than what Page purchased it for.
First Published On : Aug 8, 2012 09:16 IST