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Another Mass Shooting: Must Be the Music

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It seems one of my past articles on Blog Critics has been dug up now that another mass shooting has been reported. Specifically, an article about how for some reason some of us out there actually think it’s reasonable to cast blame upon musicians for the actions of others. Further, it’s usually a “goth” or “metal” type like a Manson or an Osborne that gets the blame. Some people out there actually insist that because a teenager wears a trenchcoat and listens to Manson they must be getting ready to shoot someone, or at least they must be thinking about it.

Music doesn’t have that absolute power of contol. Music may assist in re-enforcing a given point of view, but it is not responsible for that point of view. Music doesn’t load a gun and shoot it. Music isn’t responsible for poor gun control laws in the United States. Music doesn’t perpetuate the N.R.A. Music doesn’t make anyone do anything. If music really could totally influence someone that much, George W. Bush would likely be recording an album called “Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad” all about how fascism is great and therefore we should all just shut up and take it and/or go blow up another country outside the North American border.

What irks me the most is that while Manson gets blamed for these shootings, no one pays much attention to Tu Pac and 50 Cent and their gun toting lyrics. Why is that? Perhaps because up until recently that type of music was predominantly listned to by African Americans? What if the Columbine shooters had not been “goths”, what if they were African Americans that listened to N.W.A. and Snoop Dogg? Would we even hear about what was in their disc men on the way to school. I don’t really think we would. I think it would be reported as some “black” kids shooting up a high school. Just a thought.

Either way, I’m imploring you to think before you start blaming all this shooting business on a couple af musicians expressing themselves via their right to freedom of speech. Wasn’t it John Stuart Mill who said every opinion is worth hearing. Censorship is wrong. Laying the blame on an easy target is wrong too.

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About jason

  • Carl Lot

    Who’s blaming the music? Certainly not me. If there are fingers to point, then lets get them pointed in the right direction. Young people these days have no concept of “value” or “self” or “morality”. They know not what purpose their life has and therefore fail to find any other direction for themselves than evil. Do good, knowone notices. Do bad, the entire country notices. Lets not blame guns either, they are just objects with no mind of their own. Guns dont kill people, people kill people, so until we as a nation begin leading our youth towards good values and morality (yes the ten commandments too) we are all to blame.

    Carl

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/djradiohead DJRadiohead

    If a company dumps toxins into the environment, someone will try to hold them responsible for birth defects or other health anomalies even if they are not the only possible cause because it is likely their actions were a contributing cause.

    I do not support censorship. LET ME REPEAT: I do not support censorship.

    But I cannot for the life of me understand why people think the only power music has over people is the power of commerce. There is a lot of evidence that suggests music does have an effect on people, sometimes that effect is profound, sometimes that effect is positive and sometimes not. Music has the power to draw money out of millions of pockets. Music communicates ideas. All kinds of ideas. Ideas are not responsible for the people they attract. But music is a medium that transfers thoughts and emotions. There is a power in that.

    Fertilizer can help things grow. Fertilizer can be used to build a powerful bomb. We do not ban fertilizer, but there are restrictions and safeguards in place. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But people kill people with guns. Do we ban all guns? No, but we do place have some restrictions and safeguards.

    Music may not pull the trigger. It might not even suggest violence as a means to solve problems. But music can (and often does) have a powerful effect on the human mind. It seems valid to consider it among many possible factors when situations like this occur. There are no easy answers so we have to ask hard questions.

  • jezebelle

    Excellent comment above. I would add that Music is a powerful toool, both for communicative purposes and expressive purposes. On it’s own, in any capacity, music cannot “make” anyone shoot,violate or dessicrate anything. The “factors”: you adress so poignantly are predisposing factors, especialy where school aged children are involved/implicated need to be considered.Environment, peer, social support and eduction and well as SES, SOCIO ECONOMIC STATUS, is one of the leading causes of psychological well being in the USA. Further, it is the perpetuation of patriotism and nationalism that leads to this sort of deviant behavior. It instills a rebellious, “you told me to, so I won’t do it” response in children. If they had the basic freedom/sense of self efficacy to begin with and were not treated as lesser, incompetent imbeciles, this would be lessened. The mass media and conservatist views that plague your country do not aid in this matter.

    Ipso Facto, you guys are being bamboozled by your government, your president and your “right to bear arms” The political agenda going on right now is so much more than just censorship and this is just the beginning. Just wait until Uncle Sam blames Manson/Ozzie/Pantera/Anguilara for his latest “war on terrorism” or should I say “cover my ass-ism?” I find your definition of “free speech” and “freedom of the press” to be an utter fallacy.

  • http://www.getyouroj.com jason

    Thanks guys, great thread.