crime fiction, hammerskins, hate crimes, politics

The Hate Groups Are Enjoying This

The Sikh temple massacre was no accident, no random act of a madman.  It was designed by 7 distinct Stages of Hate Training.

Most people know very little about these fringe, shadow groups.  They hopefully never have to look them in the eye.  Unfortunately, I had to face down members of a just-forming Hammerskin “nation” while fighting apartheid in the late eighties and nineties.  They are not harmless pranks and in fact, their daily work is to inspire members to commit acts like the one committed by Page in Wisconsin.  They revel in the hate.

Understanding true hate groups requires a different sort of mindset than the one we use to try to understand most criminals. They are not inspired by money.  They don’t  structure themselves like drug cartels, more like international terrorist groups.  They have no central “leader” but a loosely connected series of individuals, each willing to die for their cause.  In this case, their motto is:

We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.”

Really, that is their slogan. In this, the 21st century, you can go to their website and find that slogan on the home page.

So back in the Eighties, my little, tiny anti-apartheid group was at first surprised to see people standing on the opposite side of the street from our demonstrations. These “counter-demonstrators”  held up swastikas and shouted racist slogans. 

We had thought we were fighting against a form of slavery half a world away.  Problem was, we were taking that fight to the Southern US, Houston in particular.  That meant that suddenly we were standing in the middle of a racial divide. 

On one side, Black racists were insulting me for being “a white woman leading a movement that should be led by black men.”  It didn’t matter that our group was comprised of people from all ethnic groups.  The only thing they could see was my pale, Irish skin.  On the other side were these skinhead white supremacists.  We thought they were harmless teens, but that wasn’t the case.

At one point I was invited to a forum at a Houston university to discuss the influx of hardcore  “Hammerskins” into Houston.  These ruthless thugs had actually been trained by other racists to recruit teenagers.  They used free rock concerts, “cool” tattoos and a fake feeling of community to pull in disconnected teens.  

Teens were trained to inflict violence as a way of “fighting back against oppressors.”  I’m sorry, but a 95 pound female with no fighting ability is not an oppressor–but I was one of their victims.  Luckily in their world of hate against equality, I was only a small player and the focus on me was brief.   I was probably nothing more than a training exercise.

Training–or brainwashing as I would call it–is the key to any hate group’s effectiveness. 

From The seven-stage hate model: The psychopathology of hate groups, here are the stages they use to bring a person to the point of committing acts like the one committed by Page::

Stage 1: The Haters Gather

Stage 2: The Hate Group Defines Itself

Stage 3: The Hate Group Disparages the Target

Stage 4: The Hate Group Taunts the Target

Stage 5: The Hate Group Attacks the Target Without Weapons

Stage 6: The Hate Group Attacks the Target with Weapons

Stage 7: The Hate Group Destroys the Target

In my case, an accidental interference by law enforcement–the attackers were arrested on other charges–meant that the teens never got past Stage 5, but I’ll never forget ….

I’ll never forget the ruthless thrill the attackers seemed to get out of hurting me. They had a look of gratification in their eyes.

My crime I was told, was the fact that I had betrayed my race.  To them that made me the worst possible threat because I chose to believe differently than they thought a “white woman” should.  To this day, when people don’t understand my absolute aversion to the casual hate language being thrown around by the political Right, I have to mention that loosely defining racist beliefs is the first step to hate violence.

Thus in seven stapes, a “birther” can become like Page, defined as a madman by the media, except he isn’t that.  Page was a trained, encouraged, and valued weapon in the community of hate called Hammerskins.  As the seven-stage article above mentions:

The hate group’s experiences, beliefs, and use of symbols and rituals combine to create group mythologies. Mythologies unify disparate thoughts and act as filters through which group members interpret reality … and protected from outside ideas provide a forum where group members can escape individual responsibility. “When we lose our individual independence in the corporateness of a mass movement we find a new freedom-freedom to hate.”


For more information, please read the seven stages article listed above and visit the Report on Hammerskins from the Southern Poverty Law Center


7 thoughts on “The Hate Groups Are Enjoying This”

  1. Bravery is not merely the act of standing up for yourself, but the act of standing for the Other, for the Stranger, for the ones you never met, but know that they suffer and you must stand with them.

  2. Thanks, ralfast. Apparently commenting on a blog post is an act of bravery too–when it’s about the skins. A few of my regular fans have written to say that they’re sort of worried about commenting here. I guess I can’t blame them. The skins, however, won’t be interested in some distant blogger when they have their everyday enemies in front of them. Remember, even when I was still marching down the street and on CNN, I only rated #5. They have bigger fish to fry.

  3. In the 1980s, the Non-Stop Picket of the South African Embassy in London was periodically attacked by neo-fascists. Sometimes it was anticipated – when they had public mobilizations in central London – and we could gather crowds of anti-fascists for protection. At other times small gangs of them turned up and tried to violently intimidate us when we least expected them.

    Here’s a blog I wrote (partly) about that last year:

    After last week’s shooting

  4. I hate it when I press ‘send’ prematurely…

    After last week’s shootings in the US it is sadly ironic to note that Britain’s current extreme nationalist street-fighting racist organisation – the English Defence League – is so founded on Islamophobia that it has managed to recruit small bands of Sikh and Hindu followers (as well a -2Adisturbinglyhighprofile.LGBT

  5. That is quite disturbing, Gavin. And thanks for sharing it. Unfortunately, the election of Barack Obama has spurred an almost doubling of the hate community in the US. Kinda scary.

  6. Ah, but Lucie, didn’t you know? According to Dave Mustaine (Megadeath), Barack Obama staged the Aurora shooting and the Sikh violence.

    I feel much safer now knowing it’s all a scam. Those pesky hate groups you’re blogging about are probably just misunderstood harmless PTA parents.

    *heads to the cabinet to trash my Megadeath CDs*

    It’s not much, but it’ll make me feel better.

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