Blame the band

Manson incited Columbine. Rammstein encouraged a school shooting. Slipknot provoked a stabbing. And Ozzy Osborne is responsible for pretty much any violent act inflicted by any metal-loving misfit since 1969. Didn’t you know?

Take responsibility? Why? It’s easier to blame the band.

It would be ignorant to negate the poignancy of music and its influence. In as much as musical preference is an impression of the listener’s values, so too is it a force that has the power to fashion principles. Such is the nature of art; expression is both defining and intrinsically provocative. But to blame the artist for reactionary conduct? – It’s called ‘passing the buck’; avoiding accountability. It’s a blatant denial of the fact that we have been embellished with the gift of thought.

So – Bobby Gladden listens to Rammstein. One of his all-time favorite quotes is “Love is like a flower – even the most beautiful kind dies.” – Till Lindemann, Rammstein frontman. Bobby Gladden opens fire on his schoolmates. And is arrested for attempted murder. Good thing the guy hadn’t read Lord Byron or God forbid, Charlotte Brontë.

Music (art) mirrors the society from which it is birthed. Manson, Rammstein, Slipknot, Ozzy – they’re all symptoms of a broken soul, a broken world. Metal has become a scapegoat for why the Bobby Gladdens of the world are the way they are. It’s easier to say that extreme violence is compelled by abrasive music than to admit that society has failed to understand, and to protect, its own.

The problem is not the symptom but the cause.