Mile High Makeout: The eve of destruction

If you've been hibernating, you haven't heard about what happened outside of Vinyl last weekend. The one and only E-40 -- one of my favorite rappers -- played a set, after which five people were shot on Broadway. It is always sad and disturbing when violence erupts in the music community. What surprised me more, however, was the public response. As I read the comments on various local online news sources, a theme emerged. Most of the commenters seemed to fixate on one of two issues: Regas Christou's reputation or the correlation between hip-hop and violence. Unfortunately, both of these concerns miss the point, in my opinionated opinion. And as we are about to enter into one of the biggest going-out nights of the year, New Year's Eve, I think it's worth a brief discussion.

Between the Darrent Williams slaying and this episode, Christou's clubs have been the subject of scrutiny. And while granted, some hip-hop has always had a violent edge, I think it's safe to say that what happened outside the club couldn't have occurred without handguns. 

In his brilliant book, The Culture of Fear, Barry Glassner points out that all of the media coverage of the so-called road rage phenomenon of the 90s seemed bent on proving that people are getting more violent. In fact, people have always gotten frustrated and angry behind the wheel - probably since the days of the first horse-drawn carriage gridlock - but never before did they have such ready and casual access to handguns. The problem, according to Glassner, isn't people, but policy. I'd argue that the same is true of violence in hip-hop, at least the kind that occurs in the real world, as opposed to rhymes.

1812 Overture aside, firearms pretty much have no place in music. I won't get on my gun control soapbox because I'm neither qualified nor called upon for that, but seriously, since when do you need your gun to go to a show? Speaking strictly for myself, have never needed a 9mm to enjoy a band or a rapper. Unlike alcohol or drugs, I'm pretty sure weapons have never improved a person's music appreciation abilities. 

So how about we make a collective New Year's resolution to leave our guns at home when we go out to see live music? Can we do that? I'd really appreciate it. Happy New Year! -- Eryc Eyl

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