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Dear The Media,

[ 140 ] August 6, 2012 |

I understand why you’re reluctant to identify Wade Michael Page as a white supremacist, but I’m an expert in visual rhetoric and I’m here to help you out. Consider the photograph of Page you’re currently using:

There are some subtle clues as to Page’s ideology hidden in this image. First:

That is a Nazi flag. You can tell because it contains a Swastika in a white circle surrounded by a red hem. It is highly unlikely that someone hung it because it means “good luck” in Sanskrit. Also:

The repeating patten on that guitar strap is the Confederate Battle Flag. It reminds white people of those glorious antebellum days when blacks were in their place and no real American had even heard of Muslims. Also:

That is a Celtic cross. It is the most favorite symbol of the good people at Stormfront.org. Also:

That is the number fourteen. It stands for the Fourteen Words most dear to oppressed white men in America today. Those words are “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.”

So let me assure you: if you have correctly identified the man in the photograph above, you don’t need to “speculate” as to whether he was a white supremacist. Because there’s no room for speculation. That man in that picture is a white supremacist. Whether his white supremacist beliefs influenced his decision to murder peaceful Sikhs, that may well be a matter for debate. But that man? The one in the picture? He’s a white supremacist.

You’re welcome.

UPDATE: Looks like they finally figured it out. Glad I could be of service.

UPDATE II: Or not. I watched CNN while eating lunch and Jane Velez-Mitchell was horrified to discover that “There’s an entire underground society devoted to promoting hatred of the sort the Sikh gunman is alleged to have felt.” I’m tempted to be a grammar scold and tell her that she could probably phrase it better than “the Sikh gunman,” but they’re clearly having a rough day over there, so I’ll relent.

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  1. Hogan says:

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

    Gore Vidal, right?

  2. arguingwithsignposts says:

    How could anyone have thought this nice young (white) man would do such a thing? /s

  3. Pathman25 says:

    Nicely done! Of course you’re assuming the media have critical thinking skills. Not so much.

    • James E. Powell says:

      Almost every member of the corporate press/media has excellent critical thinking skills. They just don’t apply those skills to the questions or problems that you think are important. They apply them to things like: How do I keep my job? How can I get more TV appearances? How do I get a book deal? How can I get an even better job that has higher pay and less work? How can I get more invitations to the right parties?

  4. vacuumslayer says:

    Liberals are the real Nazis, ergo this guy= liberal. Just ask Jonah.

  5. mds says:

    He’s a white supremacist.

    So, a left-winger, then. Whew. It’s okay to classify it as domestic terrorism now.

  6. Craigo says:

    A National Socialist flag, huh?

  7. Pathman25 says:

    Quite the fucking troll infestation you have here.

  8. JupiterPluvius says:

    Dude was in a White Power band. Could he be racist? Let’s not rush to judgment!

    Fucking white supremacists are always their own best counter-argument. Dumb shits with nothing to be proud of but a lack of melanin.

    • Randy says:

      It’s not about racism, it’s about ethnic pride. Just ask any neo-confederate why they want to fly that flag.

      • Malaclypse says:

        Poe’s Law strikes again.

      • Craigo says:

        The Confederate battle flag (or naval ensign in most cases) is about celebrating Southern history.

        Four particular years of it, anyway.

        • El Cid says:

          I know — I’ve yet to encounter someone flying the ‘rebel flag’ doing so as a tribute to, say, some exploration of a river in South Carolina in the 1700′s or whatever.

          The “Southern Heritage” apparently is about fighting in a war against the Northern Agressors for freedom or something, and showin’ how bad-ass and gun-good you are.

          It’s not about one’s pride in advances in rice culturing, or poetry.

          “I fly this Confederate flag as a tribute to early 1800s Mississippi pastoral poetry.”

          Just doesn’t happen.

        • Charles says:

          We see a lot of them rebel flags in this neck of the woods, and gosh darn it, those old boys just can’t understand why anyone would think it’s a racist statement. Heritage, by god.

          But like I tell them, if they didn’t want their flag to be a hate symbol, maybe they should stop flying it at their lynchings.

        • Bill Murray says:

          The Confederate battle flag (or naval ensign in most cases) is about celebrating Southern history.

          Four particular years of it, anyway.

          More like 2 years and ~4 months. After Vicksburg and Gettysburg there wasn’t much to celebrate by Southern standards

  9. soonergrunt says:

    I love how they’re reluctant to call him a white supremacist, but they have no problem identifying him as an Army Veteran, without any context like WHEN he served, what his MOS was, what kind of discharge he got and so on.
    So we don’t want to stigmatize the white supremacists but we have no problem stigmatizing Veterans.
    Which of those two statuses was more likely to contribute to this guy murdering a bunch of people of different skin tone who had different religious beliefs?

    • actor212 says:

      In fairness, there have been so many more veterans than white supremacists. Thank god.

    • Just Dropping By says:

      Meh. A news outlet is very unlikely to even be sued for defamation for mistakenly identifying someone as an Army vet, whereas mistakenly identifying someone as a white supremacist probably means needing to pay out a settlement. (Granted, this particular guy is dead, so he wouldn’t have a claim, but news outlets tend to play it safe in the early hours of a story.)

  10. arguingwithsignposts says:

    Can someone help me out as to why the Celtic cross is a symbol of these groups? I don’t get it.

      • arguingwithsignposts says:

        That link tells me *that* it’s a symbol, but not especially *why* it’s a symbol (other than that it was used by the KKK). Pohl’s explanation sounds plausible, but doesn’t explain the KKK connection.

        hmmmm.

        • Hogan says:

          From the introduction to The Clansman by Thomas Dixon Jr. (one of the novels on which Birth of a Nation was based):

          In the darkest hour of the life of the South, when her wounded people lay helpless amid rags and ashes under the beak and talon of the Vulture, suddenly from the mists of the mountains appeared a white cloud the size of a man’s hand. It grew until its mantle of mystery enfolded the stricken earth and sky. An “Invisible Empire” had risen from the field of Death and challenged the Visible to mortal combat.

          How the young South, led by the reincarnated souls of the Clansmen of Old Scotland, went forth under this cover and against overwhelming odds, daring exile, imprisonment, and a felon’s death, and saved the life of a people, forms one of the most dramatic chapters in the history of the Aryan race.

        • Malaclypse says:

          If memory serves, Wotan was also crucified upon Yggdrasil, so the Celtic Cross is a link to pre-Christian “Aryan” religion.

        • arguingwithsignposts says:

          Thank you all for your added info. I don’t keep up with that stuff enough to know.

      • Steve-o says:

        Well that, and it makes for killer tats. And we all know how skinheads like their ink.

    • J. Otto Pohl says:

      Because the swastika and ss lightning bolts were banned in most European countries they needed another symbol. The Celtic Cross was adopted under the pretense that the Celts are white and not semitic. Indeed the ancient Celts have a better claim to being native to Europe than the Aryans who we know came from Iran and northern India, the same region that the Sikhs come from.

    • greylocks says:

      In addition to what others have said, the Celtic Cross in the form used by Storm Front et alia looks a lot like the cross hairs in a sniper’s scope.

    • atheist says:

      I suspect Neo-Nazis like the Celtic cross symbol because it is a tribal symbol of the Celts, who are “white”. Neo-Nazis are nothing if not tribalistic.

      • The Pale Scot says:

        Because they’re idiots. The Celtic cross doesn’t have any connection to the Jutes, Anglos etc that the morons claim as their own. It’s history is uncertain and tied to the Celtic church in Eire and Britain. The CC was a symbol of attempts of early isle Christians to maintain separation from the imperial motives of Rome. The early Celtic church was strongly influenced by Pelagius and considered a liberal heresy by the continental church, which was lapping up Augustine’s BS.

        The shorter™ version was that the Celts didn’t take to Rome’s attitude on woman, and Rome especially found the idea of not needing priests to intercede on one’s behalf threatening.

    • Halloween Jack says:

      Plus, of course, it’s easy to draw, and lends itself to spraypainting on buildings.

  11. actor212 says:

    Maybe he just likes hate-filled tattoos because, you know, he hates non-haters? Ever think of that?

  12. I don’t know what would be worse in the eyes of wingnuts, being a white supremacist, or claiming Native American ancestry…just like Elizabeth Warren!!1!

  13. DrDick says:

    Come on now! The simple fact that white rightwingers have committed more terrorist acts and killed more people in this country than everybody else combined is simply no reason to believe that there is any such thing as rightwing domestic terrorism.

  14. dave says:

    You could have just stopped the analysis after identifying the swastika. The rest is overkill.

  15. wjts says:

    Scott, that’s not a Celtic cross. It’s a perfectly innocuous surveyor’s symbol.

  16. Linda says:

    Here’s another clue: When Fox News has it figured out, he is really probably a racist, and it’s not the figment of a hateful left-wing media.

  17. Sherm says:

    I’m guessing that he snapped upon learning that Obama is trying to take away his early voting rights.

  18. Lee says:

    Can we not call a duck, a duck once? Even if he isn’t called a white supremicist, can he at least be identified as a lone moron with a gun?

  19. marc sobel says:

    I don’t understand this rush to judgement. Wade Michael Page is obviously a White Male probably Christian. By definition, he can’t be a terrorist, at most, a passionate activist.

  20. [...] calls out the media for only “speculating” about whether or not the Wisconsin shooter was a white [...]

  21. daveNYC says:

    Blue-Haired Lawyer: What about that tattoo on your chest? Doesn’t it say die Bart die?
    Sideshow Bob: No, that’s German
    [unveils tattoo]
    Sideshow Bob: for ‘The Bart The’.
    Woman on Parole Board: No one who speaks German could be an evil man.

  22. SEK says:

    This brand-spanking new article by someone who’s been known to read here seems very familiar.

    • arguingwithsignposts says:

      Damn. Did he quote Bob Dylan in that article?

    • Adam W. says:

      Ouch. I cringed when I found this piece (and a similar New Yorker one by Amy Davidson) after publishing ours. I keyed in on the 14 Words tat late this morning after looking at the End Apathy Myspace page (proof positive these punks are out of touch), but it took a while to get through our editorial wringer – busy day. Believe me, if I had read your piece before, I’d have linked it and given you mad love for spotting the stars & bars – I couldn’t see that. (You’ve got a link on our piece now, btw.)

      On the bad side, I was a moron to think deciphering Nazi tats was a scoop. On the good side, I’m kind of heartened that there’s someone else who geeks out on stalking hatemonger iconography as much as me. Inflamed sense of justice FTW!

      • SEK says:

        That’s the best unnecessary apology ever, and now I feel like a dick for being territorial in the first place. So, my apologies. Dual-inflamed-senses-of-justice FTW!

        (Also, my only editor is my own sense of decorum — such as it is — but I’ve had editors before, and I know they’re not the brood-slaves they’re supposed to be, so it does take time to publish. In short, no worries.)

  23. vacuumslayer says:

    Did I miss the trolls? Goddammit. Next you’ll be telling me I missed the Orcs.

  24. God help us if we find out that this twisted bastard ever used the phrase Social Darwinism

  25. laura says:

    You can tell he’s a far right wacko hat crime from the fact that National Review’s The Corner has not commented on the killing (one, extremely indirect, post mentioning the guy’s white power rock band, but no KJL weeping for the victims etc.) If it’s a lefty or a Muslim doing the shooting, they’re all over it. If it’s somebody with no political affiliation KJL weeps a bit and then get busy defending the NRA and attacking liberals for making everything about gun control. In this case, crickets. That’s as good evidence as the dude’s tattoo.

  26. JupiterPluvius says:

    Underground, Jane? We wish these sick fucks were underground. They’re all over the fucking above ground with their bullshit hate. Read a book, Jane.

  27. f space that says:

    Well I just saw one of NBC’s premiere wankers, Pete Williams, give the Condy Rice defense: no one could have predicted etc. Same thing from some FBI agent. Nothing that we saw would have predicted this.

    See the pictures above.

    • Just Dropping By says:

      What was the FBI supposed to have predicted from these photos and arrested him for? Aggravated tattooing in the first degree? The overwhelming majority of yahoos with white supremacy-themed tattoos don’t go on mass shooting rampages.

      • Vance Maverick says:

        The majority of yahoos without such tattoos who don’t go on rampages is even more overwhelming. There is a connection between hateful ideology and acts of violence. Of course it doesn’t follow from that that we should try to suppress hateful ideologies — but surely we can hold in our minds simultaneously the thoughts that (a) the ideology is toxic and literally dangerous and (b) we accept the danger with clear eyes as part of the cost of a liberal society.

      • Bill Murray says:

        I think it depends on the degree of specificity desired. No one could know which skinhead was going to kill a bunch of brown people, but the chance of one doing so was parlously close to one

      • DocAmazing says:

        How ’bout the FBI does for obvious white supremacist what it does for ecological activists? Plenty of homes raided in L.A. by the FBI to make sure that people who march against the war aren’t Up To Something.

        If the Feds would pay a fraction of the attention they pay to various Left groups to white supremacists, we’d see a whole bunch less in the way of, say,backpack bombs in Tacoma.

        • Malaclypse says:

          Let’s not get crazy – it isn’t like this dude was a Quaker or, God forbid, a nun. Whocouldanode?

        • bradp says:

          If the Feds would pay a fraction of the attention they pay to various Left groups to white supremacists, we’d see a whole bunch less in the way of, say,backpack bombs in Tacoma.

          1. Do we see a lot of backpack bombs in Tacoma?

          2. The phrase “Backpack bombs in Tacoma” is rather poetic. Thumbs up.

          3. Isn’t the treatment of environmental activists against that sort of thing?

          • DocAmazing says:

            Do we see a lot of backpack bombs in Tacoma?

            Juat one during the MLK Day Parade. Had it gone off, we might be looking at something like what happened in Wisconsin. And sorry, it was Spokane, not Tacoma: http://www.esquire.com/features/homegrown-terrorism-us-0811

            Isn’t the treatment of environmental activists against that sort of thing?

            Against what sort of thing? It’s the sort of thing the FBI loves to do: go after soft targets and ignore potentially dangerous groups.

            But you, in your almost-amusing contrarian way, ask the question: Do we see a lot of bacpack bombs in Tacoma? Well, let’s look as mass-casualty terror attacks in the US. Leaving out 9/11 for the moment. we get far-right attackers of various flavors: militia (McVeigh), anti-abortion/Christinist (Rudolph and the innumerable attacks on clinics and health-care workers; the attack on the Unitarian Church); and our most recent. Quick: name two actions by and “ecoterrorist” organization that resulted in loss of life. (I’ll spot you UNABOM; counts as one.)

            So yes, figuratively speaking, we see a lot of backpack bombs in Tacoma. Even though it was in Spokane.

            • DrDick says:

              Rightwing extremists have committed more terrorist acts in the US in the last 35 years than everyone else combined. They have also killed more people, with the possible exception of the World Trade Center attack. So yeah, they deserve a LOT more attention than they get.

              • rea says:

                Just passed through Bath, Michigan yesterday, where a rightwingnut tax protestor blew up the local elementry school, with the kids inside. 1927, though, which just goes to show these thigns have a history.

                • DrDick says:

                  Because I am not a historian of the early 20th century, I wanted to stay with what I know. While the anarchists and others on the left were pretty active in the early part of the century, I would guess that the Klan alone would have made my statement true for “since 1900.”

            • bradp says:

              But you, in your almost-amusing contrarian way, ask the question: Do we see a lot of bacpack bombs in Tacoma? Well, let’s look as mass-casualty terror attacks in the US. Leaving out 9/11 for the moment. we get far-right attackers of various flavors: militia (McVeigh), anti-abortion/Christinist (Rudolph and the innumerable attacks on clinics and health-care workers; the attack on the Unitarian Church); and our most recent. Quick: name two actions by and “ecoterrorist” organization that resulted in loss of life. (I’ll spot you UNABOM; counts as one.)

              I’m not pitting left terrorism against right-terrorism. I’m asking if we see enough “domestic terrorism” to justify the current level of government surveillance?

              Isn’t the misplaced surveillance on environmental activists evidence that we should be rolling back state surveillance?

              • Malaclypse says:

                Yes, it would be silly to place groups actively endorsing and carrying out violence under any sort of monitoring.

                • bradp says:

                  I assume they are under some sort of surveillance, and I never said they shouldn’t be under any sort of surveillance.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  I never said they shouldn’t be under any sort of surveillance.

                  Isn’t the misplaced surveillance on environmental activists evidence that we should be rolling back state surveillance?

                • bradp says:

                  Mal,

                  there is plenty of room to roll back before you get to nothing.

                  DocAmazing,

                  I am all for more efficient law enforcement, thats an obvious good. I am just unsure that current surveillance of hate groups is below an acceptable level, nor do I know how you go about redirecting the surveillance apparatus.

              • DocAmazing says:

                How about redirecting the existing surveillance from environmental and anti-war groups (with no murders to their discredit) to anti-abortion and wihite supremacist groups? The Feebs could even scale back the surveillance program and still have agents enough to infiltrate the next White Power concert.

                • DocAmazing says:

                  Brad–

                  Redirecting the surveillance apparatus is as simple as forcing the director of the FBI to do his god-damned job.

                  And if hate groups are managing to kill as many people as they are, I’d say it’s time to quit manufacturing bomb plots in Liberty City and do the job the taxpayers are bankrolling.

                • bradp says:

                  Redirecting the surveillance apparatus is as simple as forcing the director of the FBI to do his god-damned job.

                  Sure, but that seems like a rather complex task.

                  Especially if we want to make sure the next person doesn’t have a really bad idea of what his or her job is.

                  Where does the accountability and enforcement come from?

                  And if hate groups are managing to kill as many people as they are, I’d say it’s time to quit manufacturing bomb plots in Liberty City and do the job the taxpayers are bankrolling.

                  I agree with that. I just have a feeling if law enforcement did shift, they would just be manufacturing bomb plots in Idaho, Montana, and rural Michigan.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Especially if we want to make sure the next person doesn’t have a really bad idea of what his or her job is.

                  Given that we keep Quakers under surveillance, how much worse can we get? Nursing homes for Quakers, I suppose, although I don’t think that actually is a real thing.

                • DrDick says:

                  Given that we keep Quakers under surveillance, how much worse can we get?

                  You’ll be sorry when the Quaker Revolutionary Liberation Front burns a cross in your front yard!

      • rea says:

        The overwhelming majority of yahoos with white supremacy-themed tattoos don’t go on mass shooting rampages.

        Do you have some statistics to verify this? Because it’s not self-evidently true–getting a white supremist tattoo is a pretty extreme act. If you’re not prepared to kill somebody, what are you going to do when the multiracial/multicultural tyrants start checking skin?

  28. [...] 100% positive this guy’s a white supremacist. I mean, how do we know know? SEK helps him out with visual aids. (via Wonkette) Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailStumbleUponDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  29. [...] But I’m not opposed to conservatives claiming it did, if only because it makes my life even easier than it already was. Here’s the allegedly damning [...]

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