A man who staged a well-publicized white supremacist rally in December 2007 in the southwest Washington community of Longview says he's sorry now.
The Longview (Wash.) Daily News reports that Zach Beck, who is currently serving a 51-month stretch at a federal prison for violating the civil rights of a black man he attacked in June 2011, writes in a self-published book that he's ready to disavow his neo-Nazi ways and that his behavior was "childish, immature and lacking intelligence."
In a series of letters written to the Longview Daily News, Beck wrote that his beliefs were "rooted in fear" and that he "needed to evolve."
Beck's book, which he calls "Hate Behind Blue eyes, Memoirs of an American Nazi," rambles for long stretches according to the Daily News' Tony Lystra, "and includes chapters on neo Nazi dogma."
Beck particularly points to his moving away from the late Richard Butler's Aryan Nation compound in North Idaho as instrumental to his reform.
"Getting out of there (Butler's Idaho compound) and meeting new people, going to different places, coming across old pleasures—music, girls, friends and experiences—made me experience life for all that it is and not all that it can't be," wrote Beck. "The love I have for life is stronger than any sort of manufactured hate I've ever experienced."
Dennis Weber, who was Longview's mayor at the time of Beck's 2007 neo Nazi rally, told the Daily News that Beck had written an apology to him.
"I did forgive him," Weber told the Daily News. "Interesting though, that now he is trying to profit from his experience by writing a book. I don't feel obligated to go out and buy it."
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, told the Daily News that it still had a file on Beck.
"We never took Zach Beck as any important leader. He's a bit of a street thug," said Mark Potok, editor of the SPLC's Intelligence Report. "He made a spectacle of himself, living with Richard Butler ... basically being a loudmouth jerk."