Devon Arthur, Devon Russell, Tampa Police discussed on Democracy Now
High school dropout named Devon Arthur's would bring to the attention of the Friday night, Tampa police arrested eighteen year old Devon Arthur's. He confessed to killing his roommate's twenty two year old Jeremy Himalayan an eighteen year old Andrew on a fourth roommate, Brandon. Russell participates in Neo nothing. Chat rooms common thread that connected. All full roommates was Neo Nazi beliefs. Why had Arthur's apparently shot two of his roommates? His father agreed to talk to me about what happened that day. I was working in my office and cell phone went off. And it was Devon. And he said dad, I'm sorry. I've really messed up a really messed up. I said, what's what's a matter, buddy? What's going on? The two guys to stay in or whatever they're they're dead. I shot him. They upset me. And I shot him. I tried to hold it together. And I said but the gunned down or any weapon down and go turn yourself in right now. Right now. All I was here. I'm sorry. I'm sorry, dad. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Just turn yourself in. Alan Arthur says Devon began gravitating to Neo Nazi ideas when he was thirteen or fourteen years old. So is this junior rod say, what is what is RTC in high school? He was really interested in the military twenty said, what do you what do you think he was really interested in there were there were two other brothers and another member of that ROTC that were obviously into the Neo Nazi stuff. So you think he was joining ROTC group because there were other kids that were into Nazism. Yes. Yes. Definitely. He had gone hand Arthur says his relationship with his son became increasingly strained. Because by the time we were talking, and I didn't even you know, Devon ended up dropping out of high school. He actually moved into the Tampa apartment with Russell. And the other atom often members did you ever talk to Devon since the answer. Then he said that he would not when he when he figured out what brand was going to do. Couldn't live with himself. That's all he's ever said to me. Tampa police refused to talk to us about the case. But I obtained video Devon Arthur's. Police interview. Over and over. He tells detectives about Adam Watkins envisions. Organization. It's part of the things planning were horrible. Planning bombings and stuff like that and count on countless people they're playing well. Today was. Powerlines nuclear reactors synagogues. Nuclear reactors synagogues that was Neo Nazi Devon Arthur in his police interview after allegedly shooting and killing two fellow members of atom Waffen AC Thompson. Take us back to this this the the founding of atom Waffen, and and how the group has developed. It's really interesting story. So Adam often develops the way a lot of these groups developed now out of the online world it starts with young men. Conversing on a fascist forum called iron mart and on that forum. Devon Russell would post memes about how he loves school shooters about how he loved Adolf Hitler. He posted a picture of himself carrying a Mossberg shotgun with a t shirt that said Natural Born Killers and a Nazi eagle below it. And at one point in two thousand fifteen he said, hey. I'm starting this group. I've been thinking about it for a long time. If you wanna get involved, contact me, we're going to be about the militant stuff, we're going to be about sort of armed struggle for the fascist cost to take over the government and start a race war and impose our fascist ideas on this country, and that's how he got borrowers people joined up with the group that way, and it networked using the internet using modern communications tools. So that there have been no to the group created all over the country better all sort of linked using encrypted chats using various tools to keep them in communication. We now think there's somewhere between fifty and eighty members of the group. We know there's members in Canada, we know people in Australia have gotten involved, we know that the groups linked to five different murders. What about the the their ideological guru that you talk about a James Mason. Who is he and what's his relationship to the group to James Mason was kind of an obscure figure in the Neo Nazi movement. He had been involved with the American Nause party of George Lincoln Rockwell. He'd been involved with other Neo Nazi groups. But he wasn't really a a main player Mason's deal. Is he says, hey, we're not going to create Nazism fascism in America through the ballot box. We're not gonna do it through politics. We're not gonna do it through political protests. We're going to do it through the gun and the way that we're going to do this is terrorism assassination acts of hyper and just general chaos. We're going to collapse the system, and then we will take charge and that message which he promulgated in a newsletter called seeds throughout the eighties. Has been adopted by this new generation of white supremacists. Who say, yeah, that's what we want to do. That's the most extreme thing. We can do let's do it. And they have sort of adopted him as their guru as their intellectual imminence. How important are these people? How many are there? And let's go back AC two when President Obama I came into office. This report on the threat of white supremacy and domestic terrorists that was squelched by wing congress members who demanded it not be released is this what they were tracking. Yeah. This is exactly what they were tracking. And I think we should say also it was retracted eventually by the Obama administration. Yeah. I mean, that's when this whole thing starts taking up two thousand eight two thousand nine you see resistance to the first African-American president in this country. You see dissatisfaction from veterans coming home from wars that have been very hard on them. And they're returning to a disastrous economy and having difficulties fitting in in some cases, and you see anger about potential gun control legislation. What has happened since then is all these things have ticked up they've escalated, and now we're in a much more dangerous place than even Darrell Johnson A D H S was predicting at that time. One of the things he predicted is he said, look, I'm concerned that these returning veterans. We'll get involved with these groups we've seen it in the past it may happen again. And that is exactly what's happened. The vast bulk of service members are decent wonderful people. My father served in the army. My grandfather serving the army, I can tell you this. But there has consistently been this small hard core of members who get involved with these white power groups alike. Atom Watson and end up doing a pretty serious damage to the country. But on this issue, though, given the fact that this group is so small you're mentioning the many of them come out of military experience. The reality is that our country has been virtually perpetual war. So there's constant churn of soldiers going out to fight the learning how to kill and coming back to the country. I'm wondering what your sense is this situation of perpetual war how it's affected not just the veterans who might get involved that these extremist groups, but also who might be susceptible once they're in back in civilian life to this picture painted by. A Trump or another political conservative of the need to fight the enemy. That's you put it. Exactly. Right. And that's actually what we hear from the veterans who've gotten involved with the white power movement. They say perpetual war. They say we have been sent to these wars that have been disastrous that have ruined our friends that we've seen horrible horrible things happen. And now we feel broken and we feel damaged and we're looking around for answers. And where they're finding answers some of them. Honestly, some of them are finding answers and progressive politics, and really decent causes. And some of them are finding answers in Neo Nazism. I was just reading chat messages sent by one member. Batum often who served Afghantistan, and he said the small moral part of me that still exists has nightmares about the people. I know being blown up about seeing them blown up in combat and he says, and I feel guilt because I was a squad automatic gun her with a belt fed machine gun, and I remember. Killing women children inadvertently accidentally, and I feel great guilt about it. And the thing that happens, then is this guilt and anger is being channeled into this, obviously, incredibly noxious not Neo Neo Nazi ideology. But you've nailed it. Exactly. This perpetual war is having damaging effects back here AC time. So we have to break for thirty seconds. And we're gonna come back correspondent for frontline PBS reporter for pope applica- his investigation, documenting hate new American Nazis premieres tonight on PBS stations and online at PBS dead slash frontline. When we come back. We continue with a c Thompson to look at the connections between the US military and white supremacy. Stay with us. My cake. This is democracy. Now democracy now dot.