Words by Nick Slay
As law enforcement information from yesterday continues to trickles in that the Las Vegas gunman killed a security guard six minutes prior to opening fire, there are still mixed emotions to his motives. After the worst mass shooting incident in American history, it was very easy not to feel safe. Many people still don’t feel safe a week and a half later. In the wake of the deadly actions of Stephen Craig Paddock (he earned his three names because he will go down in history as an assassin now), people are still sad, enraged, and confused. He will go down in history with the likes of John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Lincoln, and Lee Harvey Oswald, famed shooter of President Kennedy. So as anxiety over this incident reaches fever pitch, people will always gather around and quote the famous line, “Who is really to blame?”
Apparently, to some the answer is, “Hip-Hop.” If you turn to Twitter as your daily crowd sourced news outlet, despite the the call for gun reform by the likes of Russell Simmons, Vic Mensa, and Desiigner; some people still feel Hip-Hop and its images of guns and violence are the plausible scapegoat. Even though this tragedy happened during country music star Jason Aldean’s concert, is the public still rushing to blame the Hip-Hop community for the senseless violence? Sources say that Paddock’s original target may have been the Life is Beautiful Festival, a week prior, headlined by Chance the Rapper and Lorde.
However, even if this had been the case, does it still mean Hip-Hop is to blame? No law enforcement data has proven that Hip-Hop was part of his manifesto, and we are still struggling for answers as a nation. Does that mean that the logical leap when there is a lack of evidence is to blame Hip-Hop? We may never know who was on Paddock’s Spotify playlist (if he even had one), but how does Hip-Hop factor in? Yes, Hip-Hop has had a storied legacy of guns and violence tracing back before N.W.A., yet that is also based on the fact that many minorities who celebrate or create Hip-Hop are “perceived’ to come from neighborhoods associated with crime and poverty.
The spirit of so-called “gangsta rap” has been to speak on the reality of the ghetto and places where minorities live. At the same time, Public Enemy and N.W.A. have songs speaking out on the corruption in American government and the police force as well. Hip-Hop has always been a mirror to reflect back on the American eye the stories that are glanced over, forgotten or silenced.
Twitter is divided. Taking a glance of what is seen on the social media giant’s pages, everyone has an opinion. Weeks ago Chuck D was quoted as calling out the, N.R.A. as a “terrorist organization,” and blaming the Trump Administration for its failure to do so.
Take a look at some tweets reacting to Paddock’s deadly shooting in Las Vegas: