On July 20, fellow Allvoices Anchor Veronica Roberts posted a probing piece entitled “Massacre at movie theater: What's behind the white male home-grown terror?” Her report came in the bloody wake of the Aurora, Colo., mass murder of 12 people and the wounding of 59 more by an apparently unhinged young white male, just over two weeks ago.
Now, following yet another young white male’s rampage through an otherwise supposedly “safe” environment, it is useful to revisit Roberts’ piece. She brought to the forefront, for example, the issue that most people in this country simply refuse to face: “There is something utterly maniacal about this kind of violence, completely beyond the realm of sane and logical interpretation. What fuels this madness, this evil?”
After recounting the mass murders by several “young white males,” going all the way back to Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City eruption in 1995, Roberts answered her own question. Generally, these guys begin to go off the rails, as it were, as “troubled teens.” Their socialization into their roles as “masters of the universe” begins to break down upon or just after the onset of puberty when they encounter a wider world and the reality of their numerical “minority” status. As they leave the cocoon of America’s lilly-white suburbs, many seek solace in a deeply racial (not particularly racist at first) machismo that demands them to over compensate for their minor status through an embrace of guns, violence, gender superiority, and ultimately, a pathologically exclusive “racial” solidarity.
That is, far too many young, white males (both in suburbia and in ever-diminishing white enclaves of cities) are still, from birth, raised to believe that they are God’s gift to the world, or that the world is God’s gift to them.
Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old U.S. Army veteran with reported links to the white supremacist movement, has been identified as the gunman in this latest incident. He is also said to have been leader of a white supremacist/white power rock band called “End Apathy,” which used their “concert” appearances to recruit other vulnerable young, white men. There are hundreds of these bands nationwide. Countless “festivals” extolling “white power” and white supremacy are held every single year. Think of them as the Lollapaloozas of hate.
His Army career was cut short due to bad behavior involving alcohol and violent outbursts. He served from 1992 to 1998, making sergeant before being busted back down to "specialist.” He never served overseas and received a “general discharge.” According to the Pentagon, he was deemed ineligible for re-enlistment.
And so, we come back to Roberts’ question. What motivates these men? Where does their “superior” attitude come from?
These are people who have thoroughly internalized the white supremacist ethic which has dominated the American body politic since its foundation. For the first time in its history, more “non-white” babies are being born in America than “white” babies, resulting in the ultimate “browning of America.” These disturbed young, white males interpret this – in social critic Pat Buchanan’s terms -- as the “destruction of the white race.” This is the basis for their anger, resentment, frustration…and their striking out against all who do not conform to their notion of what America is, was, should be, or what (who) it should look like.
Patrick J. Buchanan, Suicide of a Superpower (Will America Survive to 2025?), Thomas Dunne Books, 2011