I used to live in Birmingham, so I know that Aston has a reputation for being unsafe, but the murder of two girls and the non-fatal shooting of two others by gang members has shocked a lot of people. Rightly so.
However, for the police to blame ’violent rap music’ for glamorising guns strikes me as passing the buck. Yes, rap music (well, some of it) does glamorise guns, along with drugs, conspicuous consumption, misogyny, tacky oversized jewellery and other threats to life, health, public morals, and good taste. In Britain, you can point to So Solid Crew, whose members seem to make the news on a weekly basis by being arrested for firearms offences. Not so glamourous now?
Nevertheless, the glamorisation of guns is hardly a new thing. You can point to any number of films that do the same, as far back as old Westerns. Maybe further, even. And artists of all kinds have been making anti-social works for a very long time indeed. De Sade, anyone?
It’s not music that turns people to gangsterism so much as a thriving gangster infrastructure. You can’t buy a gun if no one is there to sell you one. You can’t join a non-existent gang unless you start your own—and that’s a lot harder to do. You can’t sell drugs if you can’t buy them from your supplier. There’s a complete food chain in place.
Rather than blaming the idiots who do glamorise guns, make it clear that they are idiots. Paint them as the fools that they so apparently are. And as for men who keep their ’piece’ tucked into their jeans, that’s just asking for trouble. Not so much penis extension as penis replacement, if they aren’t careful...
And while you’re at it, try catching the people who have guns before they use them, not after they have killed someone. That’s too late. Reducing gun crime is the job of the police, who must find and apprehend the criminals, the legal system, which must deter and detain, and the government, when current legislation is inadequate or outdated. It may be hard, but those are your jobs. Passing the buck is unseemly.