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Satanism, Crime, & Heavy Metal Rock
An October 15 story in the New York Times describes
a teen cult in Mississippi under the leadership of a
"self-proclaimed Satanist." A sheriff's investigator
has testified that the cult members had formulated a
a bizarre plan to lay seige to the school, set off
napalm fires, and cut telephone lines before killing
selected people and then fleeing to Louisiana, Mexico
and, finally, Cuba.
Below is an excerpt from the news article, posted by
the AOL New York Times feature:
Two weeks ago, a member of the group, Luke
Woodham, a 16-year-old sophomore, arrived at the
school, in a suburb of Jackson, Miss., with a hunting
rifle hidden under a blue coat.
Police officers charged that Woodham walked into
the school's commons area and began firing the weapon
repeatedly, killing two girls and injuring seven other
students before being subdued by an assistant principal.
One of those killed, Christina Menefee, 16, had dated
Woodham about a year ago. The other slain victim was
Lydia Kaye Dew, 17.
Police officers later found that Woodham's 50-year-old mother,
Mary Ann Woodham, had been stabbed to death earlier that
morning in the house they shared in Pearl. He was charged
with that murder.
I am curious to know to what extent the group had been influenced
by heavy metal rock. There is a sub-genre of heavy metal, known
as "death metal," or "black metal," which uses Satanic symbols
and imagery as a promotional tactic. The lyrics of these groups
celebrate death, pain, blood, torture, fire, and "darkness." The
American group Black Sabbath was among the first to gain notoriety
for this style, but there are also numerous death metal groups in
Europe and Scandinavia.
Members of the Christian Right have a strong tendency to try
and impose outright censorship on these groups. Recently an
Oklahoma Christian Right group was unsuccessful in trying to
obstruct a State fairgrounds performance by Marilyn Manson.
The Christian Rightists are missing the boat. The issue should
be hearing loss -- not censorship. All the heavy metal rockers
play at deafening sound levels. If laws were established to
require safe sound limits at public concerts, the heavy metal
rockers, gangsta rappas, and other performers who celebrate
violence, nihilism, and bad taste would be out of business.
Problem is, to be Constitutional you would have to impose the
same sound limits on Christian rock groups and good old Garth
Brooks. Would the Christian Right be willing to accept that?
-- Michael Wright
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