A Face Worth a Thousand Angry Words

Hall added, "I don't know what his mental state is. … Who knows what a psychologist would say or psychiatrist, but I think the fact that the guy would have the nerve to write his description on his face is … it tells you pretty much what he's about."

Campbell said the psychological effects of having the face covered entirely can be severe -- and permanent. Allgier's face reflects his oppositional stance to the world and ensures everyone will see it -- including employers, landlords, creditors and law enforcers -- for the rest of his life.

"We all might have self-destructive tendencies, or the desire to separate ourselves from society as a personal rebellion," said Campbell. "What's really dangerous is the permanence of that decision, and he'll always be … from that moment on … every single person he meets will always treat him differently."

Allgier's Symbols

Allgier has a lot going on on his face. He has everything from the swastika to a band name, from the "property of Jolene" to a sword on the right cheek.

Hall said the swastika, while it has been adopted as the symbol of white supremacists, had meaning in other cultures before Nazi Germany.

"The swastika is a real mark of the Aryan brotherhood," said Hall. "There are a lot of swastikas in Native American art. And you know, that design is also in the pyramids and in the temples in Tibet. It marks the place of Buddhist temples in Japan. It has a huge history, but the whole idea that Hitler appropriated it has made these guys think that this is who they want to be."

Campbell said his shop won't have anything to do with words like "skinhead" or swastikas. He speculates Allgier probably got his tattoos in prison out of a need to be a part of something bigger than his jail cell.

"You hear a lot of stories of people claiming allegiance in prison, just for the sake of belonging to a group, to create camaraderie in jail," said Campbell.

Hall said prison tattoos are also a defense mechanism, used to display toughness.

"One of the interesting things about tattoos in prison is they are badges, and a lot of guys get certain kinds of tattoos because they want to seem tough and it's a protection against other inmates," he said. "It's a predatory place. There are gangs inside and a lot of guys will have gang tattoos even if they really don't belong to them.… They want to appear like they're from the gang."

Documents filed after Allgier's arrest Monday said there could have been more victims besides the guard he shot in the head. A fast-food employee is reportedly alive only because the gun Allgier had didn't fire.

It doesn't appear the world will have to worry about Allgier for a while, and his face won't be preventing him from getting any jobs in the "real world" anytime soon.

Allgier is being held without bail for investigation of eight charges, including aggravated murder, and he could be sentenced to death. Allgier was originally in the Utah Department of Corrections on a parole violation. His criminal record includes burglary, forgery and at least one weapons crime, according to court records.

ABC News' Andrew Chang contributed reporting for this story.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...