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tv   The Beat With Ari Melber  MSNBC  August 11, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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i'll never stop trying to make amends for what i've done. just got another email says i need your help. you're my last hope. >> like it or not i know this is what i'm meant to do. >> hello this is christian. tell me what's going on, man. >> this is an msnbc special series. hate is on the rise in america. it's emboldened. >> the war on whites is real. >> normalized. >> the government is nothing compared to the jewish menace. >> destroying lives. >> there are people who will say once a nazi, always a nazi. but i know change is possible. from the age of 14 to 22 i helped build america's first
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neo-nazi skin head organization. i believed diversity was a code word for white genocide. the jews controlled the media, immigrants were raping our women and i was going to save the world, recruiting vulnerable kids and transforming them into violent extremistses like me. but now instead of pulling people into hate, i'm guiding them out. i know how easy it is to get sucked into this movement. >> i hated people messing with me. now i'm gabe the skin head and everyone respects me or fears me. >> it happened to me and i'm not willing to threat happen to anybody else. >> first thing i'd like the say about the american flag because
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they stand for nonwhite states which is alaska and hawaii. and i stand for my own flag which is the banner of the white race. >> with me today 19 years old, director of the illinois chapter of the northern hammer skin heads. >> i believe we're warriors today and we're fighting for a great cause which is the white race. >> it's painel for me to admit but that's me 22 years ago. today i see the world differently. >> he's thrr co founder of life after hate. >> hello this is christian. >> for more than a decade i've made it my mission to help people disengage from hate group businessfore they destroyed their lives or the lives of others. >> has he ever talked about using weapons? >> there's a resistance to work with somebody who was a violent white supremacist. but i've helped over 100 people
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disengage. >> but he's preparinging for the race war and there are so many more people who need help. i get calls and emails from parents all the time saying they're worried about their son or daughter, that they might be violent. >> i used to keep up with my photo albums really well. >> that's gabe. >> yeah. >> okay. >> laurie brown contacted me ea year ago terrified she was losing her 21-year-old gabe to the same skin head crew i helped lead, the hammer skins. >> when gabe got those tattoos, i just thought his life was over. nothing good is ever going to come out of this. >> i remember when you called me and you were devastated by it. it's your baby. >> yep. yep.
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my beautiful little baby boy. >> what do you think it was that led gabe to go down and search for that kind of acceptance? >> i was having problems drugs and alcohol. i was there physically but not emotionally. i'd gotten into an abusive relationship i was supposed to stop seeing this guy and i didn't. so that's how i initially lost custody. it took a long time before he would even talk to me but he finally reached out. gabe told me he attended monthly
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white power rallies, provoked violent confrontations and once dragged his mother's black boyfriend out of her car and beat him up in a parking lot. gabe and i had been working together for eight months now and he's making progress. but i'm still worried about him and need check in. hey. what are you doing, little brother? good to see you. house trr go stphg. >> good. >> so tell me what's going on. what's new? i haven't talked to you in a couple months. >> i have a girlfriend now. >> where did you guys meet? >> at work. she's from puerto rico. >> oh, wow. >> so that's different. >> that's a little different for you. i'm happy to hear it. in the past you never would have considered even being nice to somebody who was from puerto
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rico. and here you are in love with this girl because you see her and not just her skin. i don't know that anybody grows up to aspire to be a hater. something happens in their life that turns them from a normal every day young person into someone who wants to scorch the earth. >> first time i ever heard anybody use the "n" word was the grandmother. i went to a predominantly black middle school. i was always getting messed with, picked on. i looked at myself as garbage, really. that's how i saw myself. >> in my work i call these pot holes, the small traumas that shat arperson inside and drive them towards any community that will accept them. >> i hated people messing with me.
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that's when i really started to feel that resentment and i looked at it as i don't have to take this anymore. you shave your head, put on some boots and nobody's going to mess with you. before that i was just gabe and now i'm gabe the skinhead. they either respect me or fear me. >> according to the southern poverty law center there are currently 78 racist skin head group in the united states. my old crew is the oldest and largest. and have a repue tpraeugz being extremely brutal. a kind of white power special forces unit,eger to engage in a race war. gabe was a hammer skin prospect for nearly two years, hammering his hateful agenda into the group. >> i was trying to change the world to make myself happy tin instead of trying to change myself so i could be happy in a world i already have.
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>> i'm happy for you. you've made ton of progress. i'm also concerned. >> since we started working together, he's severed ties with the hammer skins but i found out just a few months ago he marched in the first power rally in more than decade. on august 11th and 12th, 2017, white supremacists descended on the small town of charlottesville, virginia. calling themselves unite the right. they claim they were protesting the city's decision to remove a confederate monkwrplgt. monument. more than 1,000 counterprotesters met them in the streets.
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police lost control the governor declared a state of emergency. >> it's 2017. how can you hate somebody that you don't even know? >> a lot of people got hit, a lot of people got hit. >> at 1:40 p.m., a nazi sympathizer rammed into a crowd of counter-protesters. >> this is why when it was all over 19 people were injured and a 32-year-old woman named heather heyer was dead. what were you thinking?
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you were making this progress you go to this rally that ended up being a tragic event? >> i hadn't separated with. i'm still in that nationalist phaoeupdset way of thinking. >> for mose of his young life gabe has had this identity as a neoenazi skin head. it's hard to leave what he left. sometimes if things go bad, it's easier to go back and the last thing i want him to do is go back. [siri: *beep beepá] directions to the greek theater. ♪ can i get a connection? can i get can i get a connection? ♪ ♪ i can see it in my, see it in my reflection. ♪
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first of all i'd like to talk to the lady in the middle. i'm glad you got out of the klan because you're exactly the kind
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of trash we want out of our movement. >> in the 1980s and '90s i pushed white power propaganda wherever i could and i wasn't born a racist and i wasn't raised one. my earliest memories are of chicago surrounded by family who adored me. my parents were italian immigrants. while they worked 14-hour days, seven day as week, i was on my own, the weird foreign kid who spoke italian at home and english at school. i was lonely and bullied by the all american kids who refused to welcome me. i felt abandoned, worthless. i felt like an outsider and i was angry. i spent a lot of time walking these alleys. one day when i was probably my ang reeest, i was smoking a joint when a car came roaring down an alley and a man out and
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he a shaved head and boots and he walked over to me and he smacked me in the head and pulled the joint from my mouth and then he looked me in the eyes and said that's what the communists and the jews want you to do to keep you docile. but you saw in me somebody who wanted to belong, somebody who was lookinging for a family and could be easily mold under to somebody that he wanted. 14 years old i went from normal kid to somebody who was plotting to hurt other people based on the color of their skin or who they loved or the god that they prayed to. i became a mouth piece for hate. the front man for two american white power bands. today there's a much more powerful tool for recruitment, the internet. >> the war on whites is real.
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there are countless voices off hate that permeate the digital world. >> it is diversity that has divided white people. >> nuke africa and cut off the aid there. >> gassing and lamp shading everyone on earth. >> liberating women is the worst disaster ever. >> it's a show about commonsense extremism. >> this is alt-right shock jock, one of the most effective propagandests working today. >> we used to think being called a racist meant we were doing something wrong but after you're fleer a little while you realize it's norm the only reason you avent been seeing it is because the jews have been censuring it. >> today we're on opposite sides of the war. >> he doesn't have anything to say. he tell people if you just stop hating then your life will improve. that's not what this is about.
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he was a gang member who didn't even [ bleep] in his gang. >> i don't even think he's white, okay. >> i don't give a -- if guys like cant well insult me but i'm worried about the thousands of people who infect -- are infected by your poison every day. people like gabe. when one people, one nation, one leader. adolph. >> i've been working with gabe for eight months and thought we were making progress but it's clear he's still holding on to some demons. what kind of looks did you get when you wore this shirt out? >> not good ones.
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it was mainly to provoke people. when you start to question it more and more, you do start to feel a sense of embarrassment when it comes to the symbols. >> that embarrassment is empathy. you were worried about how it wouldefect other people. i think what you were feeling was how that might effect others. you might not even recognize that. i see a confederate flag hanging from your wall. it was pitch this -- kind of this rally to save a confederate monument. do you think that's what the was about? >> i believe that's part of it. but they were trying to erase any symbol of white identity in america, white history or whatever. >> both sides think they're right. both sides had points they were trying to make. but somebody died because of those actions and because of that rally and it doesn't matter
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to me on whose side they're on. innocent people shouldn't die. >> might come across the wrong way but i think if we were separated u we wouldn't have these issues. throwing everyone together and saying hey, get along, obviously that's not working. the people who want to be living together in harmony or whatever should be allowed to. but the people who don't should be allowed to do their own thing as well. >> what would you do if given that choice? >> i can't really say. that's something i'd really have to think on. but into make a split second decision on it, i would have to go the separatists. >> gabe can't imagine a world where different races coexist because he's never allowed him staofl be a part of one. to help him eare scape his
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what made me turn away from hate? it's the question i'm asked most often. the answer is complicated and didn't happen all at once. by 1994 i was 21 years old, married with two children and still a committed neo-nazi skin head. one night as i beat opblack teenager outside mcdonald's my eyes met with his and it hit me what am i doing? but i couldn't let go. my wife and kids left me ewhen it was clear i chose a violent movement over them. hatred wasn't giving my life meaning anymore. it was destroying it.
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but before i hit rock bottom i opened a record store to sell white power music. >> are you sick and tired of that alternative tkpwrufpg crap? that's why i'm here supplier of the underground chaos record. >> i had to offer other music genres and that meant talking with customers who were black, jewish and gay. i began to realize i had more in common with these strangers than skin heads i'd surrounded myself with and that changed the course of my life. what happened to me was a form of immersion and it's a critical tool in my work. i push people to have an open dialogue with the enemy, the people they think they hate. gabe is just like i used to be living in a white power echo
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chamber. he marched at charlottesville convinced his identity were being erased. >> he had no idea those lies would lead to the death of a 21-year-old named heather heyer and that her death would touch a nerve, not just in charlottesville but around the world. my own story of transformation has taught me that dialogue can lead to understanding and acceptance, the opposite of what the white supremacists are pushing. that's why i want to speak with heather's mother who's agreed to open her door to a man with my
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hateful past good morning. i'm going to come out here. i've got a wacky ankle so i'm not wearing shoes today. nice meet you. stkpwhrrs i can't even imagine what it's been like the last couple of months for you. >> i just looked at the salt and pepper shakers in the house and said i guess i don't have to were a about hgter inherit some of those now. come on in. these are baby pictures of heather and pictures of the family. >> and this is heather here? happy baby, huh? >> yeah. she's gig with her brother. she was a pretty happy kid. always opinionated. always had to question everything once she got old enough. she a strong sense of right and wrong. she was always out talking to people. she was trying to make a difference.
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>> susan raised heather in a single it white trailer in the hills outside of charlottesville. it instilled in heather a passion for social justice. >> no nazis, no kkk. >> heather never planned on counterprotesting until she saw self phone video of the torch rally. >> i saw actual videos of heather talking to a young lady from theality-right asking her why are you here? what are you doing? the girl kept saying no comment. but i have to hope that somehow the girl went home and thought geez, what the -- am i doing here?
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maybe she'll remember that heather talked to her j some soul searching from that. >> how did you find out about heather's death? >> her friend justin called me and he just kept saying i think she got hit by that car and i kept saying i don't know what you're talking about. he said the hospital they need to find the nexet of i said call my parents. i said please pray. when we got to the hospital two ladies grabbed me and walked me up and i walked in the room the detective looked at me. he said she was pronounced -- i
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remember just putting my head down and sobbing so loud. for the first few weeks i kept thinking i raised her just to have her go away like this but the impact of her death has made on so many people i guess i can bear it for that. maybe the world will be a better place because of it. >> what legacy do you want this to leave? >> i want us to help capture those kids who are vulnerable who are needing friendship. let's pre-emptively prevent it in the first place. let's learn to care for one another. >> with a really amazing young
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guy his name is gabe and he was actually at the rally here in charlottesville. this is a kid who wants to do gut g but doesn't know how because he was never set up with the tools to do that. i would really love it if you guys met. would you be open to that? >> i think so. if he's willing to meet me, i would like to talk to him, maybe gain some insight. >> i really appreciate that and i think what's possible is we work hard to make sure no other mothe mothers don't want anybody taoels have to be in this club. there shouldn't have to be mothers who lose their children because of hate. >> susan's willingness to meet with gabe is generous and brave. now i have to convince him to
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frpbltsz i'm dara brown. students at the university of virginia held a rally in the one manufacture year anniversary of the rally that left one person dead. authorities have identified a man who stole and crashed an empty horizon airplane as a 29-year-old amateur pilot named richard russell. he was killed in a crash. his family says they are stunned and heart pwrebg. now back to "breaking hate.
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the white power movement i walked away from now considers me the ultimate trader. i've always had to look over my shoulder. that's not something i like the do. not something i like the put my family through but i knowe when i get these responses, it's touching their nerve. i know i'm getting to them and that means that i am on the right track. i was willing to die for something a long time ago that frankly was garb pbl. if somebody wants to hurt me now for doing the right thing, i'm okay with that. >> but i do take these threats seriously because white supremacist violence is on the rise. >> 20-year-old james alex fields said he understood the charges against him. police say fields used his door intentionally mow down a crowd
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of antihate demonstrators saturday killing 32-year-old heather heyer. >> six months after the rally, they claim james alex fields isn't a murderer, he's a martyr forced to flee a crowd of violent protesters. >> outside the court house today two self-proclaimed white nationalists start screaming that police, the media and counterprotesters were blamed for saturday's violence. >> it's all part of a culture of victim hood to justify their actions. the 2017 unite the right rally was the latest example. >> white people have a right to stand up for themselves, southern people have a right to stand up for them sfbls. we're not just going to be little -- anymore. >> the architect behind this chaos is himself a
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charlottesville neighborhood and a newcomer. >> i was the organizer of the unite the right rally. the hate that you hear around you, that is the antiwhite hate that fuelled what happened yesterday. >> the unite the right rally catapulted his status among white nationalists. >> her name was heather, sir. her name was heather, jason. her blood is on your hands. her blood is on your hood. >> he now boasts more than 13,000 twitter followers. dangerous platform to celebrate the tragic outcome of this rally. he's riling people up, making fun of a woman who was murdered. i believe people need to be held acountable for what they do.
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i know i can't change jason kessler but i can expose him for what he truly is. >> hey, youtube, this is jason kessler, i promise kwrod have a little debate today. i thoughted it be interesting to talk to this guy. you call yourself a former white power person. so you were in a skin head gang, right? >> why you keep putting up air quotes. >> because i don't use the term white power. what i am and what i think a lot of people in the altright are are pro white. we're not nazi skin heads. i think white people deserve to be represented like other groups are represented. every other identity whether it's gender or a sexualianitation identity they have lobby groups. >> trarlts because they're searchinge quality. they're trying to be recognized. >> but i think that these
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antiwhite activists, they hate everybody who's white and has accomplished something. they want to tear us down instead of building themselves up. >> do you hold yourself acountable for the violence that happened there? you twhur organizer of this rally? >> those protessers put themselves in a dangerous sit because they were defying the state of emergency order. >> but it was an altperson who ultimately drove his car into a group of people. >> that's true but he has not been tpoupbld guilty and there is a lot of reasonable doubt in that. >> how do you justify marching along side swastika flags. you claim you're not neo-nazi a white nationalist. >> there was one guy with a swastika flag. >> but who were the people chanting the jews will are eplace us, blood and soil. >> i wasn't chanting that but
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one of the -- is skepticism and jewish power. >> do you believe the holocaust happened? >> i don't know. i'm not historian. >> you can claim a public face that has a smile on it but behind those closed doors i know exactly who you guys are. i do. >> i can say that there are people -- we used to be able to spot a skin head or a klansman a mile away and knew they were dangerous. this new movement might be dressed in pretty clothing that looks like what our doctors or lawyers or teachers look like. but they have an agenda that is sinister. the real danger our people like jason kesler who are able to hide who truly are. >> they cling to their twisted world view have no interest in empathy or self reflection.
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but for those who want to disengage from whitacy, i can help if they have the curage to confront their own hatred. i'm going to charlottesville in two weeks. would you consider going with me is? >> for what 3ur7s? >> i'm going to meet heather heyer's mom and sit with her. she's going through a lot of pain because of what happened to her daughter. would you consider going with me? >> i would consider it. i can't say yes or no for sure but i will consider it. i feel like whatever she would have to say would be revolved around trying to make me feel guilty i guess -- >> you haven't met her though. how can you make that assumption? -morning. -morning. -what do we got? -keep an eye on that branch. might get windy. have a good shift.
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♪ six months after marching in the deadly unite the right rally, i've asked gabe to come back to charlottesville. it's time for him to confront the truth of what really happened here. most of the people i work would have never had a meaning action with the people they claim to hate. . what saved me was interacting with the people i thought were my enemies. >> usually the only time you
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reach someone from the other side is when you're like at a rally and you're both screaming at each other about ready to or something but i'm willing to talk to anybody who's willing to talk to me. >> i can't promise anything but i will stick by yourself and i promise i won't leave. >> at my request gabe has agreed to meet with heather heyer's mother. susan, this is the young man i told you about. this is gabe. this is heather's mother.
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>> sit down. >> pretty chilly out there. >> yeah a little bit. >> gabe, what are you feeling right now? >> honestly a bit awkward. >> just because we both know you were here this summer. >> gabe, what's it like being here now? what's the feeling of being back in charlottesville? >> just realizing the magnitude of what happened there because that got like national attention. i wasn't even expecting that to be honest with you. >> how did you feel somebody had been killed? >> i didn't know how to feel and honestly i really didn't care -- >> i think that's part of the problem is there's this image of
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this communist protester rebel -- >> so not her. heather came from a broken home. her dad had drug problems. he's clean now but he was never clean while she was growing up. heather seemed to just take it all in but i know it damaged her in ways. >> gabe, would you mind sharing your upbringing lat with susan. >> when i was around seven years old my mom kind of went off on a binder for a couple years and dating less than desirable and one of those less than desirable men tried to kill her on christmas eve while me and my brother were in the house. that was fun. >> i'm so sorry.
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>> i know we shrug but it's a lot of pain. it's like you can't fix. i get it. >> i appreciate you listening to me because a lot of people that may have knew your daughter or shared the same ideals that she ehad would probably want to kill me. can i ask you something. it was pretty common sentiment surrounding round the nationalist movement that she didn't die from injuries from the car accident. she died from a heart attack. is that true? >> the medical examiner's report says blunt force trauma to the abdomen was the cause of death. so her heart stopped but it stopped because she was hit by the car. >> not because of a heart attack. >> not because of a heart attack. you know jason kesler was in the court room and he knows the medical examiner's report said
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blunt force trauma to the abdomen and he's not issued that information to anyone. >> in fact he's helped spread the fake news. >> that's pretty. [ bleep] sorry. >> i think god understands. >> because you can't keep something going and based off lies and expect to last. the thing that really didn't settle into my mind until later was how was going to this city that i've never even heard of before and provoking these people to violence, how is that really going to change anybody's mind about anything? it just makes everyone look bad, really. and people got hurt from it. >> susan, i'm asuming nobody has
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ever reached out you and said really sorry for what happened. >> nobody who was at the rally. but i don't hold him responsible. i hold the leaders responsible because they deliberately stirred up the anger. he was used. i'm sorry you were manipulated. >> i'm sorry you lost your daughter. >> thank you. i appreciate that but i don't hold you accountable. you understand? n sehow -- where do we go from here? >> i think a good start is sitting down and talking about it to people that normally would never do that. it's a start. susan's only daughter, heather, was killed by a white
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supremacist just six monthess ago. >> can i help you out? >> do you remember how? >> to witness her compassion for a misguided young man like gabe is remarkable. >> do you want a stphug if you're not comfortable, it's okay to say so. okay. >> at first i was really reluctant about meeting with heather's mom. >> seemed like you guys connected. >> yeah, we did. i'm glad she was able to see where i was coming from. >> this is a big step in gabe's journey but it's not last. what will you discover with a lens made by essilor?
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before gabe ever contacted me he used a spoon and lighter to try to burn the nazi tattoos off his face. ready? >> yep. i was born ready. >> he couldn't do it then. he's ready now. i think starting with a clean canvas is going to have a major impact. >> for sure. >> peepdleserve a second chance and your getting one. >> i know it and i'm grateful. >> you can put those on. three, two, one. there you go. is that bad? >> everybody that i meet i see as me 30 years ago. i know that they weren't born that way. they learned to do this.
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>> oh, that does not tickle. >> one, two, three. there you go. >> if somebody were to look at gabe a year ago from a mile away they would have judged gabe as being a monster. another 15 seconds, 3/4s done. five, four -- you got it. come on. you're toughe enough to put it on, you got to be tough enough to get it taken off.
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[ bleep] >> gabe changed the outside but that didn't really change the real gabe. >> this is probably going to be esome people that i know that are going to think i'm a traitor or whatever. it's pretty refreshing to say that i really don't give a [ bleep] >> there you go. >> it takes a kind of twisted nerve to try to join the hammer skin nation. but it takes real curage to walk away from them. >> it's just little stuff that happened that kind of built that doubt more and more, you know, just grew that seed of dissolution. >> i think the people that stay are afraid. they're afraid to start over. >> i wanted to be me again, not this thuggish, skin head nazi guy. i didn't want to give that impression to people anymore because that's not how i really felt. >> hate always has consequences.
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it destroys everything in a person's life. if we let it. >> they tried to kill my child to shut her up. well, guess what? you just magnified her. you need find in your heart that small spark of accountability. what is there that i can do to make the world a better place? you take that extra step, that's how you're going to make my child's death worth while. i'd rathver my child. but by gally if i have to give her up, we're going to make it count. >> 30 years ago i dedicated my life to spreading hate. i can'te race those years.
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but i'll never stop tryinging to make amends for what i've done. i just got another email. says i need your help. you're my last hope. like it or not i know this is what

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