Oak Creek Shooting Updates

[Content Note: Eliminationist violence; racism.]

My original post is here. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has an excellent comprehensive report here. Additional recommended reading: Pam on how disturbingly good at this we're getting.

There is not a lot of news to share this morning. The police still have not released the name of the shooter, which I imagine (and hope) is because they are still trying to confirm his identity and contact his family, and not because they are inclined to protect a terrorist. The shooter has been identified as Wade Michael Page, a white supremacist who, according to the SPLC, had a "long involvement in the white-power music scene."

And the shooter is being considered a terrorist by the FBI. Although no "concrete link to a domestic terrorism group or hate group had been established" as of last night, there have been reports that the shooter has tattoos indicating he is a white supremacist. He also reportedly has a tattoo related to 9/11.

The shooter is described as a white male in his 40s who lives alone. He was also reportedly an Army veteran.

If indeed the shooter was an Army veteran and a white supremacist, the possibility of an incident exactly like this one has been a known concern for at least six years. Of course, when we as a nation are reluctant even to entertain the suggestion of reexamining our gun laws after a series of mass shootings, there's no way in hell we're ever going to have a meaningful referendum on how the US military's lax recruitment guidelines and culture of Christian Supremacy might be a goddamn problem.

The Sikh community wants and deserves to know how something like this could have happened. They deserve something better than another "lone crazy gunman" dismissal. We all deserve better than that. We are all part of the same nation, which is a nation clearly in serious crisis.

The son of the president of the temple, who died, was just interviewed on the Today Show, and, in response to a question from Matt Lauer, he said, which I'm paraphrasing from memory, "We are not Muslim, but I don't want even want to say that, because it is culturally insensitive. ... This is a melting pot, and we should all know more about one another, because we live together."

His grace and decency, and his urging people to expect more of each other and themselves, in response to this ignorant, violent ugliness, was truly extraordinary.

I'll update this post during the day if and when new information becomes available.

UPDATE 1: The suspect has been identified as Wade Michael Page. CBS reports: "According to sources in the U.S. Army, Page enlisted in April 1992 and given a less-than-honorable discharge in October 1998. He served at Fort Bliss, Texas, in the psychological operations unit in 1994, and was last stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, attached to the psychological operations unit. The details of his discharge were not immediately clear." He served in the US Army for approximately six years.

So, Page left the service even before guidelines around white supremacy were eased and white power groups were encouraging members to enlist. This might be a good time for Congress to start taking that issue seriously, because he's going to become a martyr and a hero to men like him, which is a recipe for another Timothy McVeigh.

UPDATE 2: Police are seeking a "person of interest" in connection with the shooting, who may or may not be involved. The Journal Sentinel has an image of the person, a white man with a 9/11 tattoo, who used his cell phone to take "video of media, friends and relatives gathered by police in a parking lot near the Sikh temple in Oak Creek."

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