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Music Today: Entertainment or Influence to Murder?

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Music Today: Entertainment or Influence to Murder?

Teen violence, murder, suicide; they seem to be becoming more and more rampant everyday. The media, as well as concerned, angry parents, look everywhere to find someone to blame for these tragedies. Their fingers are pointed in the direction of many music entertainers. Artists and performers are being badgered everyday for their lyrics and image they create for their fans. Can music really influence someone to acts of violence? Maybe, to the mentally unstable or uneducated. Is music at fault for these acts of violence? Absolutely not. It cannot be blamed for the crimes of obvious psychotic adolescents. The music business, mainly “death” metal, has been said to be at fault for major tragedies, for example the Columbine High School Shootings. In fact, one media spokesperson even related the two killers to Marilyn Manson because they were apparently dressed like him. This constant distraction of pointing the blame on someone else just strays our focus on the real causes. Music can directly express the personality of many individuals. The way the dress, the way they talk. Overall it expresses the way a person feels. However, can music be blamed for the actions some of it’s listeners my take?

Over the past ten years or so, music has been the scapegoat to many murders, acts of violence, and sexual abuse for many years now. Many cases have now opened with the introduction of Death Metal to music world. Since many murders are now rampant within young children and teenagers, there must be someone to blame for them. One example is in 1995 the Death Metal band Slayer was blamed for encouraging Royce Casery, Joseph Fiorella, and Jacob Delashmutt to torture and kill Elyse Pahler, 15-years-old. The parents of Pahler blame the disgusting lyrics of Slayer to the crime. The three boys, all fans of Slayer and bands of their stature, were all found guilty and are still serving time in jail. The Pahler’s tried suing both the band, and the record companies for making these albums available to young teens. However, the courts threw out all the accusations against Slayer and the record companies, with right cause. The music didn’t kill their daughter, the three boys did and are now serving their time (Horn, 1). Another case noted, 17-year-old Jay Fieldon Howell was arrested for stabbing a girl in the neck. The girl survived, but Howell still remains in jail. The boy was apparently watching a video by Marilyn Manson before this act of violence took place. The parents of the young girl also tried suing the record companies, but the courts also threw out the case. Whether Howell was watching Bambi or a Marilyn Manson video, this psychotic teen would have acted in such violence because that is what their mind was set on doing. But the parents are still fighting to stop the records from being sold.

Parents of the victims are trying to sensor the lyrics or ban the albums of such “satanic” bands from being sold. They believe the sale to young audiences must be observed much closer, because such albums can influence these young listeners to violence or murder (Temple, 1). Can these bands really affect the way people act? Courts in all these cases dismiss the lawsuits against bands and record companies. The courts agree that the lyrics are obscene and disgusting, but they must follow the first amendment law. These bands have the right to say and write lyrics they believe are appropriate. Just because an obviously mentally unstable youth can misinterpret the idea of the song cannot take away the band’s freedom to speak out their emotions through song. Instead of parents telling everyone else to more carefully monitor their children, they should try taking a shot at good parenting themselves.

Parents of the victims and an angry public are doing whatever they can to inform other parents of the obscene lyrics in the music their children listen to. A Texas group are offering “Marilyn Manson Awareness Training” to all parents of children who are fans of the famous Death Metal artist. One of these members states, “Parents of Manson fans should consider hospitalizing their children (Morgan, 1).” It’s generalizations like these that ruin adolescents. Just because one killer MAY have been a fan of Manson’s music, doesn’t make every listener a serial killer. These parents are fighting all they can so the music companies look into much stricter ratings for the albums they put available to young audiences.

But is music the real reason why teens take these gruesome actions? Or is the real reason right in front of our faces? Music companies, artists and their fans speak out about their opinion and how music does not directly state to anyone to commit acts of violence or even murder.

Slayer vocalist Araya states, “If we were really evil, we would be doing everything we’re writing about. They’re

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