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This subject has been on my mind for a couple of months now, but today, our local rag featured photographs of all the people who have been victims of gun crime, since 1999. There were fifty-five people in all, and although that probably doesn’t sound a lot to some of you Americans out there (who are probably used to shootings happening on a daily basis), to me, those numbers are absolutely appalling.

What’s even worse is that in 29 of the cases, nobody was actually brought to justice.

A lot of the shootings have been due to tit-for-tat gangland one-upmanship, which is something I’ve never been able to get to grips with.

One of the killings happened a couple of months ago, and made the national news. The boy who was gunned down, had previously refused to join a gang, despite the pressure put on him. Unfortunately for him, his bravado seems to have led to his death.

My question is, why?

A while ago, I was listening to the radio, and the argument was about the role that rappers play in promoting gun crime, and violence.

I must admit, I tend to want to reject that notion altogether. After all, I have brothers who listened to rap music, growing up, and they are both fine upstanding citizens.

I refuse to listen to rappers like The Game, because I think he’s a bad role model for kids, due to the themes of violence that seem to run through a lot of his songs, but for some reason, I always thought that he was in the minority. Apparently I don’t listen to enough hard core rap, according to some acquaintances, because his stuff is tame in comparison to a lot of the underground rappers. Who knew? Fiddy’s as hard-core as I get, I’m afraid.

So waddaya think? Is there a correlation between gun-crime and rap, or do you think rappers are getting a bum-rap, and being blamed for things that are beyond their control?



  • Anne
    August 7
    6:55 pm

    Yes and no. My kids listen to The Game, 50 cent, and much more, but they aren’t gun-toting gangbangers… same as their friends many of whom are black, Asian, and Hispanic.

    BUT–I DO believe that people who grew up in the same environment(s) as the rappers did CAN be influenced by the image the rappers portray. Not sure about the music (if it’s the music/lyrics, then they are just idiots to begin with)… but I can believe the gangbanger image that is portrayed by some rappers CAN influence.

    Just my 2 cents.


  • Casee
    August 7
    7:21 pm

    Blaming rap music is a total cop out.

    It’s MY responsibility to censor what my son listens to. He’s almost 7. If I let him listen to 2Pac, would he go to school saying bad words? Yes, he would. Which is why I would never let him listen to it. My husband and I are very vigilant on what our kids hear/watch. In addition to that, we teach them things like guns are dangerous and you can’t just hurt people because you feel like it.

    We never place blame anywhere except where it belongs. Which is with us, as parents. That is why I think placing blame on rap music or video games is absurd.

    A Judge just overturned a California ruling that wouldn’t have allowed kids to buy certain video games. In my opinion, that goes back to parenting. It’s the parents responsibility that the children DON’T buy those games that are “made for adults”.


  • emdee
    August 7
    9:59 pm

    Karen, I’m not sure that anyone ever gets used to shootings happening on a daily basis…


  • Eve Vaughn
    August 7
    10:02 pm

    Some people used to and still say listening to heavy metal will make you commit suicide or worship the devil. That was a big load of bull too. Sure some lyrics in rap are violent and misogynistic at times, but blaming the music is ridiculous. The people who would commit violent crimes because they listened to rap music were probably predisposed to that behavior anyway. Not many reasonable people listen to lyrics and then decide to go shot someone. If that was the case, no one would be safe to walk out on the streets.


  • Teddy Pig
    August 7
    10:35 pm

    Huh? Sorry, I was listening to Marilyn Manson as I sacrificed a naked virgin to SATAN OUR LORD!

    Thank heavens my folks never let me listen to Hank Williams or I would be a real mess. Divorce, drugs, the appreciation of the decorative stiching and bright colors of Tony Lama cowboy boots.


  • bettie
    August 7
    11:16 pm

    Here in the States, I’ve noticed that people who carry guns illegally are usually the people with the least power in society. They’re either poor and uneducated, or so crazy they think everyone is out to get them.

    Guns offer the temptation of instant intimidation, instant badass status. Nobody messes with a guy with a gun, right? So for people with no real power over the world around them, a gun can provide the feeling that they are in control.

    Rap and entertainment media are easy targets. Why should _we_ bother changing society, spending more money on education and social services, paying more taxes, when we can just blame a small group of people for all of our problems?


  • Emily Veinglory
    August 8
    12:17 am

    Correlation, sure. But not cause and effect.


  • Ann Bruce
    August 8
    1:22 am

    I strongly believe people are responsible for their own choices and actions. Otherwise “rap music made me do it” might turn into a get-out-of-jail-free card one day, just like “My mom didn’t love me” or “They were mean to me in high school”. Millions of people listen to rap music. Millions of people do NOT go out and shoot people afterwards.

    Saying rap music=violence sounds like something the US Republican party would do to draw attention away from their disaster of an administration.


  • Dee
    August 8
    5:09 am

    Ok, let’s not drag politics into it. People have been judging music by it’s fans for years. (Remember when Elvis was the reason for all the bad behavior back in 1957?)

    Do I think it glamourizes violence? Yes.

    Do I think it glamorizes dying as a gang member? Yes.

    Or having an illegal gun? Or drive bys? Or violent vengence? Yes, yes and yes.

    But do I think it is the sole reason there’s violence? Of course not. I just think its commentary on how the violence is supposedly justified.



  • Kaz Augustin
    August 8
    5:33 am

    What Emily said (‘cos I’m always the last to these discussions). As my statistics professor used to say: “Correlation is not causation”. It’s cute, it’s pithy, it’s correct.

    Then, there was another of my psych professors ::drifting off on a tangent:: who used to compare the human brain to a bowl of porridge… … lumpy, I presume …


  • eggs
    August 8
    7:12 am

    I don’t think rap music makes people violent, but if people have a violent streak in them, it can give that streak a voice and a world view to live by. Rap won’t make you violent, unless you already want to be violent, and if that’s what you want, then you’ll find an outlet for it with or without rap music.

    That being said, I think a lot of the lyrical content is of such an “adult concepts” level that it shouldn’t be publically broadcast all day on the radio, but should be restricted to certain hours of broadcast like “adult content” tv is. A lot of rap isn’t any more suitable for young kids to listen to than CSI is suitable for them to watch over their cornflakes in the morning. And I say that as a serious CSI addict.



  • shiloh walker
    August 8
    1:01 pm

    I’m going to agree with eggs, but I also wanted to add that when kids hear that music, and they see how a lot of the violent types get so much glory…ie: the rappers with their huge million dollars deal, or an abusive pro sports player getting his million dollar contracts while he’s beating his wife or girlfriend on the side, it gives a bad message to impressionabl kids. If they don’t have a good authority figure in their life to balance out that negative crap, makes it that much easier to start believing the negative.


  • Angela
    August 9
    11:01 am

    I think it’s a cop out to solely blame rap music for anything–after Imus and Professor did it–when the music industry is run and controlled by, and the majority of its buyers are white people. So to say that rap is the source of gun violence makes no sense because we don’t see the white kids who gobble up 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, T.I. and such killing one another.

    Rap is born out of the inner-city life and yes, it does glorify violence as a means to obtain “power” and has caused the inner-city black family(along with “help” from the Government) to degenerate, but we can’t blame it for every bad thing that happens in the black community. I meet with black people from all walks of life online and some live in the hood, listen to rap music, but have a good head on their shoulders. Just like not ALL black people are from the ghetto, not all black people in the ghetto are lost cases.


  • Monica
    August 10
    12:45 pm

    When I was younger, rap was different. Old school rap is far more activist, more happy and exuberant and less about guns, violence and black self hatred and self destructiveness.

    Activist rap is dead. Where are the songs such as Fight the Power?

    Rap is produced by the mega music corporations and the majority are the main consumers, not blacks. Blacks do consume and accept it in great numbers though as far as percentages, as we always do whatever about us served up by the white establishment from stupid stereotypical television and step n’fetchit actor portrayals commercial fiction that must be defined by its materialism, sex and violence and more.

    No way would the majority tolerate the images of their women portrayed as mostly ho’s and bitches and the picture of racial degradation as portrayed by rap. Even heavy metal didn’t sink nearly as low as far as the messages of self-hatred.

    I think some rap singers nowadays are virtually house slaves. They regurgitate crap as ordered for the money they get–thus the silly notion of street cred from people lke middle-class, Catholic-schooled P Diddy. They are step’n’fetchit sell outs.

    There is a black activist movement now going against rap, but I don’t know how far it will get.

    Chuck D (popular rapper of the old school rap group, Public Enemy) has a book out.

    “The 1990’s have been filled with Black men being systematically ripped down and overexposed in the media like we’re the worst criminal son the planet. An increasingly hostile climate has developed in American toward black people . . .” Chuck D


  • Monica
    August 10
    12:51 pm

    I typed the quote fast and jacked it up. It’s worth repeating.

    “The 1990’s have been filled with Black men being systematically ripped down and overexposed in the media like we’re the worst criminals on the planet. An increasingly hostile climate has developed in America toward black people . . .” Chuck D, an actually talented and gifted rapper

    Commercial rap is just more of the same: Black complacence and ignorance along with white hatred reflected in music.


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