Corina Olsen evolved from a loner, a white supremacist, a bodybuilder, to a Muslim.
She grew up in Eugene, Oregon, which at that time was primarily white. In her all-white school district, she rarely encountered anyone of a different race.
Eventually, she chose a career as an embalmer. She specialized in working with people who have been the victims of crime or were in accidents that severely impacted their appearance.
Olsen admired her younger brother Harley who died at 20 in a boating accident. His death prompted her to learn more about his interests. For instance, she found out that he was an anarchist who liked punk rock music and hung out with similar kids who called themselves “skinheads.”
Not knowing what skinheads were, she went online and learned they were neo-Nazis. Her research took her to a website, Stormfront, a white supremist website. (Link not provided because of warnings about this site).
Stormfront at that time, was the leading white supremacist website in the country.
It had news and articles from scores of people who all shared the same two things:
- White pride
- A disdain for anyone living in this country that was not white.
Olsen was intrigued by what she discovered. She rationalized that people of color celebrate their roots, so why shouldn’t white people. In one post on a white supremacist’s site she wrote:
“Is there something wrong with being a white supremacist? I don’t outwardly profess hatred for other races; I work with them and serve clients of different races. I don’t advocate violence toward other races. What is wrong with seeing our race as superior to that of the blacks?”
That post changed her life. According to Olsen, people started befriending her. For someone who never had friends, she now had lots of friends. Hate became a cure for her loneliness.
In time, she got more involved with white supremacist groups. Her involvement reached a high point at Barack Obama’s election; she and her friends in supremacist organizations believed action was needed to save America.
Soon, Olsen lost her job and devoted all her time to white supremacist organizations. However, her commitment began to wane. Then, an incident that would change her life occurred in January of 2011.
Spokane, Washington, police were called in to disarm a pipe bomb set to go off during a parade celebrating Martin Luther King’s birthday. According to the New York Times, the bomb contained “128 fishing weights coated with rat poison (which impedes blood clotting) and human feces, which teem with infection-causing bacteria.”
When she learned that the builder of the bomb, Kevin Harpham, frequented the same forums and websites that she did, she realized these white supremacists’ groups were too violent.
Leaving the groups started a chain of positive events for Olson.
She got her old job back and started bodybuilding, winning amateur competitions. She also had friends. This time, instead of the bond between her and her friends being hate, it was health.
But that was not the end of her journey. In 2018 she discovered Islam. What she liked about it was what drew her into bodybuilding: it had structure, required discipline, and just like in the gym, the people she met through Islam always seemed glad to see her.
This true story tells us several things. People can and do change. Further, some of the more than 1,000 hate groups in this country may dissolve in coming years as their members change and leave these organizations.
But what does not change for corporate America is our ongoing need to be proactive and on guard. We are going through an exceedingly difficult period in our country’s history. Protecting your people and your property must always come first. Talk to us, we are here to help.
As always, we value your feedback, which helps us shape our perspective on recent events, security, and the services we offer.
A post related to this may be found here.
Chief Executive Officer