Before the news broke overnight that Mitt Romney had selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate, one of the stories we'd planned on covering on Saturday's Up w/ Chris Hayes was the domestic terror attack at a Sikh temple in Southern Wisconsin last Sunday. The tragic shooting left six people dead, and army veteran Wade Michael Page has been identified by law enforcement officials as the shooter. Wade has also been identified as the leader of a neo-Nazi band and an active member in the white supremacist movement.
As part of our discussion, we had planned on talking to Pete Simi, associate professor of criminology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and co-author of the book "American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement's Hidden Spaces of Hate." Simi interviewed Page several times from 2001 to 2003 while researching the hate music scene in Southern California. Simi provided several excerpts from his interviews with Page exclusively to Up w/ Chris Hayes, which we wanted to share. With Page dead, we may never know exactly what led him to attack the temple last Sunday. But these quotes may provide some insight into Page’s worldview of racial hatred.
During an interview on August 11, 2001, while discussing the topic of recruiting new neo-Nazi members, Page told Simi, “You can’t hit them over the head. ... If you do that, you just prove that use that approach aren’t helping anything.”
On that same night, while Page and Simi discussed music, Wade told Simi he liked Kiss and Jim Croce: “As long as their (Jews) not explicitly promoting anything that’s totally offensive, I can still appreciate what they’re doing and their talent. I’ll listen to anything for that matter, even hip-hop...” Wade paused, then added, “but it would have to be damned good.”
At an interview at Page’s house on June 1, 2002, while listening to music, Page told to Simi just how “upside down” he thought everything was. He explained, “A faggot drives by in front of your house and you go, ‘hey [expletive] faggot,’ that’s a hate crime, he goes to the cops. It’s a felony, you violated his civil rights. [Expletives] call you a honkey, they’ve got freedom of speech. ... You have not been oppressed like they have been. ... A lot of Jews like to think they’re white but it’s a hate crime if you call them a dirty Jew because they will pull some racial religious [expletive] out of their ass.”
And, during an interview with Simi on June 28, 2002, Page said, “Sometimes a savage beating is necessary, violence plays a big part of the skinhead life … sometimes violence gets out of hand and things happen that shouldn’t happen but at least it teaches people a lesson: the next time they won’t [expletive] with skinheads.”
:: Allison Koch (@allisonlkoch) is a segment producer for Up w/ Chris Hayes ::