Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Mass Murderer Robert Hawkins - Music Lover

Hello everyone! I am back from holiday and doing a little catch up on crime news. I was running names through the Google search engine for updates and I came up with this interesting tidbit. It seems Robert Hawkins, the Omaha mall mass murderer, had a t-shirt in his car with a Mushroomhead logo. For those of you who aren't familiar with the band, Mushroomhead is a group of well-groomed young men wearing matching suits and ties who sing of love and kindness and the fellowship of mankind.

No, wait, I must have confused Mushroomhead with the Tijuana Brass or the Spinners. Mushroomhead is a nasty looking bunch of lads with faces painted as skulls who sing about hate and violence and death. Imagine that....Hawkins listened to negative, angry, vengeance filled music....what a surprise!

Of course, now that the news is out about Hawkins' taste in music, the supporters of this garbage are rolling their eyes and claiming the music is being unfairly targeted as violence provoking rather than just great riffs with thoughtful lyrics that have no negative effects on any of its listeners. I can't wait until some of these young men actually grow up and become fathers. I want them to send their kids music and videos that incessantly repeat the message, "Kill your stupid worthless parents" and let's see if they don't sleep with their bedroom door locked at night.

Well, that was a cheery return to the real world! Hope you all had a great holiday and the new year brings less crime and more peace on earth.


Criminal Profiler Pat Brown


Levi said...
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Levi said...
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Preraphazon said...

Unfortunately, the usual reaction to finding out one's child is saturating himself with violent music is for the parent to blame the music for making their kid bad. Instead, it should be used as a signpost. If this is one album out of many that has one song that is bad on it but the kid has a big diverse collection of music, it's probably not indicative of problems. However, if this is just about the only message in most of his collection, it should be used as a signpost that maybe the kid has some big underlying problems and that it's time for a psychiatric evaluation to see if there is any reason to worry. Sadly, the small percentage of kids who bought a CD like this who actually have an underlying problem probably (but not always) have parents who will instead use the music as a scapegoat to remove responsibility from themselves and won't actually parent to see if the kid is in crisis and are reluctant to get outside help and really face the problem.

I'm speaking from the perspective of someone whose career was in music peddling for some decades. I can assure you that not everyone who listens to something which upon close examination is disgusting and violent is also disgusting and violent. They may just like a certain guitar riff and disapprove of the lyrics. I actually worked at a label that had the biggest gangsta rap label one year. It did disturb my sensibilities to peddle it wholesale, but it was a number one record (full of violence), and certainly most people who were buying it weren't really subscribing to its message but just liked the dance beat or whatever. I DO hate to see these artists make money and get big, but there's no stopping it. So we have to learn to deal with it one on one with our kids.

There are legal age limits for this type rated music, and I think that's right. Of course, there really is no way to keep someone from getting exposed to it if they're determined. But if they're that determined, maybe there is a problem. It may not be that they want to go out and, like the record says, kill cops; they may simply need some professional guidance from an outside source getting through the pretty normal angry teenage years.

And then we'll all sleep better at night.

DrSteve said...

It's a real tough one. Censorship, freedom, irresponsibility...

A few things I think are indisputable:
1. Hawkins was a psychopath who intended to cause as much harm as possible (not depressed or on bad meds).
2. People with anger and violence in them (not just fringe teenagers, right?) are attracted to this kind of music and listen to it a lot. (Yes, yes, not everyone who listens, etc.)
3. Psychoanalysts will tell you that one person can have a material effect on another's thoughts and feelings (technical term: projective identification). Same for music, presumably.

Add these together and a kind of chain links up.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown said...

I would have to say there IS a way to stop this garbage from influencing our is called parental responsibility. While it is true seeing a violent movie or listening to some songs with not so pleasant lyrics does not a killer make, pumping almost every child's life full of the crap does a number of killers make, a number of suicides make, and a quite a number of unpleasant humans make. If one raises one hundred children in happy homes with good ethics and morals, homes filled with piano lessons, girl scouts, baseball, family night, Disney movies, cheerful music, musicals, volunteer work, dinner hour, fine literature, and landscape painting and pottery sculpting and compare that with one hundred children raised in homes with absentee parents who spend five hours a day watching violence and sex on television, hours of angry death metal music, repeat visitations to gore sites on the net, and use of alcohol and drugs as recreation, I doubt we are going to see equal numbers of disturbed kids in each group. If this were true, then why even bother raising children well...let's just let them raise themselves.

Preraphazon said...

I totally agree it's the parents' responsibility to be the ones who filter what their kids see and do. Sadly, there are many parents who aren't resonsible enough to do that and/or around enough to do that. And it seems there are more and more every day who are nothing but kids themselves. That's why there is such a big problem. If everyone was responsible, violent media really wouldn't be much of a problem. I do sympathize with parents who do try, though, because I know it is hard to stay on top of all the media and know what is the bad stuff. But there are ratings to help with that. There are a lot of parents who would rather censor everything because it would make their lives easier, and I disagree with that, though I understand the impulse.

Of all the media, the internet is the hardest to monitor, especially now that half the kids have internet-equipped telephones that can download movies, music, porn, you name it. It would be a full-time job keeping your kid from getting exposed to everything bad, and that's why I think it's maybe even more important to simply make them understand that they should be shocked and disgusted at this stuff and why. That way, if they do get exposed to it, and they will eventually, hopefully they will keep it in perspective, and hopefully they will be horrified by it, as I was when I was a kid. I really think one of the biggest mistakes a parent can make is letting them watch the violent stuff and assuring them it's not real, it's no big deal, basically, they shouldn't be horrified, and I think that goes on a lot. I think it's better that if they DO see it, they are afraid and horrified. I don't think it's healthy to teach them it's no big deal.

When I was young, anything violent kept me from sleeping at night, stuff that most parents wouldn't hesitate to let their kids watch today. I remember Gone With the Wind scared the crap out of me for years, that off-camera scene where they're amputating a leg. You know, I really wish I hadn't seen that until I was an adult. Now I love the movie, although I usually skip that scene!

Levi said...

Pat, I think you have nailed it in your analysis. Parents need to take responsibility for their children and monitor their activities. It really isn't that hard now-a-days! People say that bad, vulgar, gore, and bloody TV shows and music are everywhere but there are controls on computers which allow parents to restrict websites and only allow certain websites for their children to have access to. And the same goes for TV. Parents just need to take advantage of the controls.

And as far as music goes, just look at what is in your son's CD player, look at what is on their I POD, or MP3 player or what music they have down loaded on the internet.

It really isn't that hard, just MONITOR and take advantage of the controls for the TV and the computer and just use common sense when evaluating what your child is listening to.

And also, I think what Pat and Preraphazon have posted about parental responsibility brings up an interesting point. Today parents and society expect schools to raise children and basically do the parents job.

We tell teenagers that we don't want them to be sexually active for many reasons, but yet we have schools giving birth control to young girls that aren't even in high school. Basically that is like telling your son, you don't want him to play foot ball, but you go out and buy him the protection and gear and a helmet "just in case."

It makes absolutely no sense IMO. I know many disagree and I am going to get some comments for people maybe even all of you that disagree.

Preraphazon said...

Me, me, me me! Afraid so. But I will agree with you that it is a very difficult situation and one with no perfect solution. I believe BC should be available to teens because the reality is many of them are going to have sex, right or wrong. It has always been this way, for centuries.

The school I went to, there were girls with mean fathers and parents who absolutely could not be talked to about these things and weren't fit to make any decisions on their behalf anyway. There are girls who would have been beaten severely if they turned up pregnant and whose parents would have been more of a liability if a baby was brought into the situation. Many teens cannot predict the consequences of their behavior and they're in that hormone hinterland when their bodies are more mature than their minds. History has shown that many teens will have sex, and I am much more happy to see teens having sex without babies than sex with babies. And although teen sex happens across every social class, it is almost a given in precisely those teens with faulty parents, so it is particularly for those teens I believe BC must be made anonymously available.

I know one of the things some schools have implemented is having a parent sign something early on stating that IF their teen comes to them for BC, can they administer it. I'm afraid I do not think this solves any problems either and am not for that.

In my day, a teen could go to a doctor and get BC without their parents knowing. It may have been sometime in the eighties since that stopped and the notification law was implimented -- and coincidence or not, the number of teen pregnancies and resultant badly raised children has increased.

Additionally, teen pregnancy, in my day, forced many girls to seek a bad abortion. I do not think we should do ANYTHING to make a girl feel her only alternative is to have an abortion.

Yes, it would be great if all parents were easy to talk to and reasonable and had a great rapport with their teens and monitored their girls and boys, but it simply does not work that way for everyone or even for most. When discussing this subject I find that the people who understand it least are those who are such good people and parents that they cannot fathom the need for administering teen BC -- but not everyone is so fortunate to be raised by these people. I say let's break the cycle of incompetent parenting by stopping as many teen pregnancies as possible. It ruins lives. And they're too young to understand that.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article.