Quiet-List 1997

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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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