Washington, Aug. 10 (ANI): The profile of Wade Michael Page, who killed six people in Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting and later shot himself, reflects the changing face of the white-supremacist movement, from an earlier era dominated by a few monolithic and hierarchical organizations to today, which is represented by hundreds of splinter groups that are largely leaderless and unconnected to one another.
The growing technological shift, the Internet, has allowed people to join hate groups anonymously online and public rallies and mass recruitment efforts associated with hate groups have become a thing of the past.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, today, smaller cells can operate more freely and without detection.
“The Internet has enabled social networks to usurp the monopoly that hate groups previously had. If you wanted to belong to that subculture, you had to be tied to that group. Now, you can create your own group,” Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said.
Wade Michael Page, who killed six people in Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting and later shot himself, probably acted alone and without directives from any single group, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said.
“The groups are really, really small; we’re talking about tiny groups of people. But they’re a very dangerous group of people,” the report quoted Kathleen Blee, a sociologist at the University of Pittsburgh and author of “Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement,” as saying.
The number of hate groups has increased 69 percent since 2000, following decades of relative quiet or inactivity, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Today, 1,018 such groups are operating, a historic high. These groups include neo-Nazis, white nationalists, Klan organizations, skinheads, black separatists, and border vigilante groups, the report said.
According to the report, immigration and the election of Barack Obama are the two key factors that explain why hate groups are multiplying.
People who have significant issues, such as social isolation, substance abuse, difficulties with women, or domestic abuse, generally join these hate groups, Levin said.
“Technology has allowed an otherwise splintered, disjointed leadership movement to coalesce around personal anger,” Levin said.
Blee said that white-supremacist groups are no longer “trying to win over the hearts and minds of millions of people,” instead adopting a smaller nature.
“They don’t recruit anymore from the mainstream. They’re deliberately smaller,” she said, adding: “These small, dedicated units are much more important [to the white-supremacy goal] than a big group of people that you really can’t control,” Blee said. (ANI)