Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Gentle And Kind And Loving...

...for a Nazi. Children don't fall into patterns of hate. They learn them. As Denis Leary puts it, "You know what my two year old hates? Naps. That's all."
And yet, somewhere along the way, this man turned into a monster. The sad thing is, in this country we'll never find out why. We don't want to know, I'm guessing, because that knowledge would force us to take a closer look at those around us and realize, there but for the grace of God goes yet another monster.
He has a stepmother. His dad is at least once divorced (from the stepmother). It doesn't sound like a stable "biblical" marriage, as conservatives are wont to put it. Indeed, conservatives are backpedaling as quickly as possible from this tragedy, despite the fact that skinheads, when they actually are religious, tend to be synonymous with a particularly brutish and nasty strain of Christianity called Christian Identity. CI turns Revelations into a race war, much like people like Robertson and other evangelicals have turned the book into a struggle against Islam. 
Had it been the other way, an Indian shooter in a Catholic church, say, you can bet conservatives would be screaming bloody murder.
The gun shop where Wade Page purchased his gun says he didn't stand out. He probably wouldn't. Indeed, his photos suggest more of a computer nerd than a killer.
But here's the thing: he likely drifted along a loner in life. His family had fallen apart, his father likely abandoned the boy in search of his own needs, his mother and stepmother probably identified him with his dad and left him alone. We can make some educated guesses at how his father was to live with, but for libel's sake I will not.
He was a kid, trying to raise himself, without the cultural counterpoint of adult involvement, just exploitation. He was probably a weapon in the family struggles.
When he identified with the neo-Nazi movement, he found a focus for the rage that almost certainly had to be bubbling up behind his calm exterior. As he became more confident in himself, that rage likely expressed itself more overtly. For instance, he was not discharged from the army, just not asked to re-enlist. He was found drunk on duty and went AWOL at least once. These are signs of acting out an internal drama (and possibly re-living his family life.)
Playing in a band satisfied some of his darker urges. Any artist will tell you that in their art they find release. For Page, release was in the form of a relief valve, a way to express his rage through music. And it gave him the one thing he could never find anyplace else: approval.
See, he wasn't an introvert. No introvert gets up on stage and spews anything, much less hate. No, I think he had resigned himself to the fact that he was never going to find love and approval from people, so when the chance to do just that presented itself, he leaped at it.
We'll never truly understand what has happened here, however. What final frustration pushed him over the edge, what was the nail in the coffin of six people and Page.
The shame of it is, as the first Clinton administration demonstrated, that rage is building in segments of society and can only burst out in other places. For that, there are no atheists or Christians or skinheads to blame.
There is only ourselves.