Earlier this week, tragedy struck a Wisconsin Sikh temple when a shooter opened fire on people at the service. The alleged shooter, Wade Michael Page, age 40, killed six people before being shot to death by police.
What makes this tragedy far worse is that the media refuses to focus on the real story. In the CBS/Associated Press lead it states Page was a “former leader of a white supremacist heavy metal band.” There you go, right in the first sentence of the story.
But wait, what is the real story here?
The media isn’t new to placing blame outside the shooter himself. The questions between the media and the families of the deceased are the same – “Why?” Sadly, we will never know but we can only speculate.
This isn’t the first time pundits and journalists have been quick to place blame on music, that of which metal is usually the source as their reasoning for violence. That just isn’t so- I don’t know where the basis of this idea comes from.
Case and points: Remember when Marilyn Manson was accused of being the reason for the Columbine killings? When Judas Priest in 1985 were sued by the parents of sons who committed suicide? When Ozzy Osbourne was sued for the same thing yet his song preached about the dangers of drugs?
This is insanity. In the case of Columbine and with this Wisconsin tragedy, hold shooters accountable for their actions. When Manson was asked about why he thought the media made him a scapegoat he responded by saying, “I think it’s easy to throw my face on the TV, because in the end, I’m a poster boy for fear. Because I represent what everyone is afraid of, because I say and do whatever I want.”
Is metal and violence more than a myth? No. I can understand as an outsider people must see screaming, black outfits, and mosh pits as brutality. But as a metalhead, trust us, it’s not. If you’re a fan of metal, ask yourself: how does listening to metal make you feel? The answer is damn straight good. In fact I feel as if it releases a lot of negative energy.
Speaking on those things we just don’t have answers to, frankly there are a lot of uncomfortable things in life, such as the death of loved ones and war. Metal isn’t so strange then, but now I’m getting off topic.
Page was the vocalist for a band called End Apathy based in Nashville, N.C. On their MySpace page they claim their “music is a sad commentary on our sick society and the problems that prevent true progress.” Are you kidding me? This is disgusting. Their record label, Label 56, issued a statement saying they removed all End Apathy products from their site. Weak statement. As I’ve said before – own up.
I hope that the media and the public continue to focus on how this man’s issue wasn’t metal but the problems he already had in the Army, such as allegedly being drunk on duty and going AWOL. Perhaps criminal history in several states and probation is more telling.
There will never be an excuse for racism and though one cannot deny it still exists in our day and age, it doesn’t mean people aren’t diverse or understand. One has to assume Sikhs were the target for Page along with other minorities. It is my guess because he didn’t understand. Sikhism is a South Asian faith founded hundreds of years ago with about 500,000 followers living in the U.S. (a majority live in India). Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims or Arabs as they do not shave their beards and wear turbans. Or who knows, maybe Page did understand and just didn’t care.
It is my thought that metal and many music lovers have diverse crowds. Many of which, I think, are people who accept many viewpoints and ways of life. They can band together at any moment for a cause worth talking about. But that’s what the media doesn’t understand. They are missing the real story here. We should focus on those who lost their lives that day.