You may recall me and my old associates and the many times I graced the front pages of your paper. If not, good for you.
I want to formally apologize for the image of hate that I helped bring upon this decent community. I could tell you I was ordered to do what I did and that I was young and dumb, manipulated and lied to, but it doesn't change the fact that it was still me. I wish I could take it back.
You don't have to forgive me and I don't blame you if you don't, but I need you, Coeur d'Alene, to know that I and so many before and after me are wrong. Hate is pointless, destructive to everyone involved, selfish, childish, and cowardly.
My name is Zach Beck and this is my story.
I was led to believe that without the white race, civilization as we know it would cease to exist. That the white race is the race of God and therefore it is the duty of the white race to bring forth His will, law, and word on Earth as it is in Heaven. That all non-whites are inferior to the white race and are subjected to our will, God's will. The proof of this? The Holy Bible. This is just a small piece of the foundation of the "white power" movement. I've spent the last 10 years eating, sleeping, talking, walking, thinking and believing this lie.
I was wrong.
I grew up in California and Arizona playing an array of sports. While most kids tried to decide which party they wanted to go to that weekend, I was trying to decide between USC and UCLA. The first concert I attended was the Grateful Dead. My hair was long, my shirts were tie-dyed, and my friends were of every color and background. I dated girls of every race and lost my virginity to a black girl.
I got mixed up in the marijuana culture and was arrested for possession of less than two pounds and sent to prison at the Arizona Department of Corrections. I was 20 years old. Little did I know but this would be the last time I would be allowed to myself, know myself, for the next 10 years.
Here's why. My first 30 minutes in prison were filled with orders from the Aryan Brotherhood. I was told that I was not going to eat with other races, go into another race's cell, share anything with another race, do business with another race, play sports, cards, board games, hang out, or associate with other races.
You're told where to work out, eat, be at certain times, and that if you deviate from these codes you will be subject to violence. Welcome to Racism 101. Next you're told what to read, how to think, talk, walk, and your participation is mandatory or you will be subject to violence and, for some unlucky guys, sexual violence.
Ask yourself: What would you do? At 5 ft. 9 in., 155 lbs. I was the best damn racist I could be. I played the part to the fullest until I eventually became the part. Every day, week, and month this was my life. Under the constant threat of violence and even death (no joke!) I survived.
When I got out I was not accepted by my family, friends, or anyone. So in 2003 I went up to Hayden, Idaho for the "world congress" rally put together by the Aryan Nations' Richard Butler. I became Butler's pupil, accepting his teachings without question.
I worked my way to the positions of "personal advisor" and "Idaho state leader." I began organizing rallies around the country, planning demonstrations, parades, and sold Butler on the idea of running for public office. We were making world news - interviews from London to L.A. I was a true believer who not only talked it, but walked it. I achieved what most neo-Nazis only dream about. At one point I was labeled one of the most dangerous white supremacists in the world by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
I left that environment against my will and for personal reasons. I could go into detail, but not right now. By this time my beliefs were too strong because even though I left that environment I tried to recreate it around me. For whatever reason, this newly created environment would break down. It would continue to break down because it was a structure built on a weak foundation, the foundation of racism.
I didn't want to believe that I was wrong and that I had been lied to, but once you're not under constant mind control the illusion starts to dissipate. How quickly all depends on how consumed one's mind is. Mine? Years.
The foundation of racism is fear.
My transformation from one extreme to the other is more complex than what I can put in this letter. Just know that it is founded and not just based on emotions, but on logic, truth and facts.
I'm writing because I have a true story that the world needs to hear. To debate/defeat racism is first to understand it; otherwise your argument is weak. I can help. I want to help!
I am Zach Beck and I was wrong. This is my story. Thank you for your time.
Feel free to ask any questions you like. Feedback is important.
P.O. Box 13900
Seattle, WA 98198