(Log in info) Ok. I’ll admit that it looks like I missed the boat on this development out of Red Lake. It turns out that Jeff Weise did, in fact, listen to rap. Specifically, two rappers named Mars and Prozak. This is ironic considering that Jeff Weise would pick fights with people who listened to rap and posted on Nazi message boards about his hatred of people who listen to rap. So not only was he a bully and a racist but he was also a hypocrite.
Of course, some media outlets are trying to draw a link between the shooting and the rapper Mars. According to the article Mars belongs to a genre of rap called Horrorcore. Now I’m not an authority on rap but I guess Horrorcore is the rap equivalent of death metal. All I can say is here we go again. In the 80’s they blamed suicide on metal. In the 90’s they blamed gang violence on rap and Columbine on Rammstein and Marilyn Manson. Now, unfortunately, some people are trying to pin the blame on Mars. Mars himself has, in my opinion, handled himself admirably well by distancing himself from the situation responsibly and intelligently…
“I write a lot of crazy lyrics, but there’s something wrong about anyone who blurs the line between reality and entertainment,” said a San Francisco-based rapper who calls himself Mars. “Maybe it inspired him, but no one knows what was going on in Jeff Weise’s mind.”
“A lot of people who post on my website are a bunch of crazy kids,” he said. “They write about suicide, murder, guns. But to get to a place where you do something, you have to be kind of crazy, pretty warped as a person.”
Mars doesn’t believe his music shares any responsibility for Weise’s actions. “Stuff like this is going to happen,” he said. “My responsibility as an artist is not to change my lyrics to something soft and poppy. What about teachers, principals, and parents? They had some responsibility, and they’re the ones who could have saved this kid.”
Michigan rapper Prozak had similar words to say…
“Yes, it is extremely violent, but you can go to Blockbuster and rent a comedy or a musical or an extremely violent horror film,” he told Newhouse News Service. “You can find violence everywhere, but every time there’s a tragedy involving a teen, it becomes a witch hunt against rap.”
I disagree that it becomes a witch hunt against rap but it usually does become a witch hunt against some form of music.
Of course, we have some busybody group that disagrees…
That misses the point, said David Walsh, who heads the Minneapolis-based National Institute on Media and the Family.
“No, he’s not responsible for what this kid did, but it’s disingenuous to say that, when one of his goals while performing is to alter his listeners’ mood,” Walsh said. “When you take a vulnerable kid like Jeffrey Weise who already was a walking list of risk factors and then immerses himself in violent media, it’s literally stoking a fire.”
Consumption of violent media doesn’t directly “cause” violent actions such as school shootings, Walsh said, “but we know that media affect kids by amplifying feelings that are already there.
“Violent visual media does create aggression, while music is more an amplifier than a creator for angry kids.”
This guy kills me. In one breath he says Mars isn’t responsible but in the next, he says he was “stoking a fire”. So what are we supposed to do? Are we supposed to eliminate all images and references of violence from our society? In that case, you better get ready to ban the news, history books, and the Bible.
Again it’s good to see Mars and Prozak taking the high road on the ridiculous accusations, unlike another alleged “rapper” that I can think of.