People who can’t take pride in themselves take pride in their race. Wade Page, murderer of five Sikhs and an Oak Creek, Wisconsin policeman, was just another loser before he became a famous loser. Kicked out of the army in 1998, fired from his trucking job in 2010, foreclosed on by Wells Fargo in February, and dumped by his girlfriend in June, the alcoholic musician wore his hate on his sleeve. The tattoo aficionado sported a Celtic cross overlaid by the number 14—a reference to a 14-word white supremacist slogan—on his shoulder. People didn’t like him. He didn’t like people—especially people of color, whom he referred to as “dirt people.”
Another white supremacist rebuts his beliefs by demonstrating that the depth of human depravity knows all colors. Page, who murdered six people at a Wisconsin house of worship on Sunday, overdosed on bad ideas. Overlooked among his many mental tics is a fetishization of action.
So consumed was Page with this fixation for proactivity that it named his band. “End Apathy began in 2005 and the concept was based on trying to figure out what it would take to actually accomplish positive results in society and what is holding us back,” Page told a racist website two years ago. “A lot of what I realized at the time was that if we could figure out how to end peoples’ apathetic ways it would be the start towards moving forward.”
Move forward? Purveyors of backward ideas, C.S. Lewis reminded, mistake movement for advancement. “We all want progress,” the English thinker wrote. “If you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
Page’s beliefs strike other Americans as exotic. But the tenet so central to the hate-rocker that he named his band (End Apathy) for it is also an article of faith among his countrymen befuddled by his action. From the 113,000,000 “results” for a “do-nothing Congress” Google search to VH1’s saturation advertising of the “Do Something Awards” (Did you know award nominee Selena Gomez is “the youngest ambassador for UNICEF”?) to air later this month, apathy gets a bad rap.
Could Harry Truman, Selena Gomez, and Wade Page all be wrong?
“End Apathy” is another way of saying lose interest in the important things in your life—love, family, friends, work, God, etc.—to become singularly obsessed with my bizarre crusade. This is precisely what Wade Page did. What the world needs now is another monomaniac. Right.