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Guns and Stuff

January 25, 2006

“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”

This is the story perpetuated by organisations like the NRA and others.

We have the issue of 50 Cent and his semi autobiographical movie “Get Rich or Die tryin'” which has been much criticised by the media for promoting a guns/gangster culture. In fact, Rap & Hip Hop culture is the current bogeyman when it comes to planting the blame for the degeneration of society in the urbanised West.

However I would like us to take a step back and look at guns and why they are so ‘cool’. Guns have been part of music & the media for time immemorial.
Looking back at the early ‘talkie movies’ of the 30s, through the decades to today, guns have been associated with ‘Bad Guys’ and the ‘Bad Guys’ have always been eradicated by the ‘Good Guys’ with a gun.

So what does that mean? Guns have been represented in the media as being ‘cool’ for long before Rap & Hip Hop came on the scene. In fact, if we look at early mainstream Hip Hop, we can see that it contained honest messages about life in the ‘ghetto’, but which always had a positive slant to them. But somewhere down the line, this changed. Gangsta culture saw Hip Hop as a tool for making money as did the Record companies. Along came a more brutal form of Hip Hop called Gangsta Rap. The likes of Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre, who came out of NWA  were and still are the  prominent personalities of this genre. The Gangsta Rap movement was rapidly pushed by the record companies as youngsters were attracted to this genre of music just as a generation before them were attracted to Punk Rock and the generation before to Elvis. They were all forms of rebellion to which youths are always drawn.

So that brings us to where we are today. We have a culture which is inherently associated with violence and abuse. Which leads us into a constant furore of whether Rap & Hip Hop are to blame for this new generation of delinquents. But the important point is that no one group/genre/individual is responsible for where we are. Guns & Violence have been promoted for years, i.e. James Bond, Rambo, The Godfather Trilogy. Which we can claim are all fictional, but fiction is always rooted in reality. And the backdrops for all of these examples are reality, (James Bond – The Cold War, Rambo – vietnam, Godfather – Italian American gangs in the US).

We also have the issue of positive Rap which is not actively promoted by record companies. Why is it that 50 Cent and Snoop will always sell more than Mos Def, Talib Kweli, The Roots etc . To quote Mos Def:

“old white men is runnin this rap shit
corporate forces runnin this rap shit
some tall israeli is runnin this rap shit
we poke out our asses for a chance to cash in
cocaine, is runnin this rap shit
‘dro, ‘yac and e-pills is runnin this rap shit
mtv, is runnin this rap shit
viacom is runnin this rap shit
closet homosexuals is runnin this rap shit “

Finally I ask you to think about who is ultimately responsible for promoting this culture. To my mind the blame lies solely at the feet of 3 groups of people:

1. The media who will find ‘news’ in a ‘Gangland Killing’ as opposed to the news that ‘X has done this positive thing in the community’.

2. The Corporate world who will use this gangsta culture to cynically promote their goods because the youth are attracted to this culture, i.e. Reebok.

3. Society as a whole for looking at Gun Crime as either a minority problem, i.e. Operation Trident, Black on Black Crime. Or looking at it as something which isn’t real and we only need to worry about it if it lands on our doorstep with us being personally affected by gun crime.

We need to move away from the attitude that guns are cool and this can only happen if people realise that the killing/maiming of individuals is not ‘cool’. Having a mother cry for their dead son as a result of gun crime is not ‘cool’. Having a child orphaned because of gun crime is not ‘cool’. Carrying a gun because it makes someone feel more manly is not ‘cool’. A real man would put the gun down and be cool by simply being himself.

“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. With Guns.”

Related Link: Mothers Against Guns

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2 Comments
  1. kayleigh permalink

    i have used this material for an A2 media project. id like to say it is an eye opener

  2. i love your blog, great !

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