Earth to American news media: Rammstein doesn’t kill people. Guns do.

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Hey, remember that asshole who shot up a Dark Knight Rises screening back in July? Know who that guy’s favorite bands were? I don’t either, because here’s the thing: The media never reported it. We know he booby-trapped his apartment the night of the shootings and blasted what has been described as a “techno song that sounded like it included gunshots” on an endless loop—an attempt, apparently, to lure the neighbors into breaking down his door and thereby blowing the place up. We even know from his profile that he was into techno and electronic music, but hated dubstep. (Wow, dubstep, even mass murderers hate you now. Talk about a backlash.)

But the media response to those details has been a giant collective shrug. No one’s even bothered to find out what the song was he tried to kill his neighbors with. They’d rather psychoanalyze his other dating profile on Adult Friendfinder and his obsession with comic book characters, because apparently that is all somehow more germane to this horrible tragedy than the fact a grad school dropout had access to enough automatic weapons to shoot 70 people in a matter of minutes.

I harp on the whole music thing because this past week, a thankfully much more inept gunman showed up on the first day of school with his stepfather’s antique shotgun and blew a hole in a kid with Down syndrome. And within 24 hours, the New York Daily News was reporting on the story with this headline: “Teenager who allegedly opened fire in Baltimore area high school was heavy metal misfit obsessed with Rammstein and Manson Family.”

Granted, the alleged Baltimore shooter’s Facebook page (which, somewhat shockingly, is still up) does feature a prominent photo of Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann, looking slightly deranged as is his wont. So the whole Rammstein connection was pretty much handed to the media on a big silver social media platter. But you would think the better headline might be, oh I don’t know, “Teenager who allegedly opened fire in Baltimore area high school lived in a house full of guns with a criminal stepdad.”

So, to recap: Crazed, costumed gunman listens to techno—no big whoop. Crazed, shotgun-toting 15-year-old listens to Rammstein and Marilyn Manson—stop the presses!

Look, America, I get it: Heavy metal and industrial music are scary. Especially when sung in German. But there is zero correlation between listening to bands like Rammstein and going out and shooting people. Zero. None. If there were, Germany, where the band is far more popular, would be a Mad Max-like hellscape full of lunatics in black trench coats marauding through the streets and shooting everything in sight. But it’s not. 99.99% of all Rammstein fans can listen to a song like “Ich tu dir weh” (“I Want to Hurt You”) and not actually go out and hurt anyone. It’s sorta like how the rest of us can listen to a song like Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and not actually abandon our wife and kids.

Sooner or later, we as a society are going to have to stop blaming all this gun violence on music and cosplay and what ever other horseshit our sensationalist media latches onto and look at the main cause, which is easy access to guns. Until we can beef up enforcement of background checks and reinstate some kind of federal ban on assault weapons, these kind of incidents will continue to happen with far too much regularity. Blaming it all on a handful of provocative musicians is like blaming speeding on Sammy Hagar.

I know this is a divisive issue, so I expect a lot of you readers to passionately disagree with me about gun control. That’s fine. Leave your pro-Second Amendment comments below and we can continue the debate. But I hope we can at least all agree that dragging Rammstein into this conversation again (the same thing happened, you may recall, after Columbine) is almost as dumb as bringing a shotgun to school.


6 thoughts on “Earth to American news media: Rammstein doesn’t kill people. Guns do.

  1. shelley o'neil

    Good commentary. You did, however miss-translate ‘Ich Tu Dir Weh’. The title says: I hurt you. The song is misunderstood by even Germans who don’t pay attention to the rest of the lyrics. There is one line that goes: Ich seh’ im Spiegel dein Gesicht, which means: I see your face in the mirror. He is talking about hurting himself, not someone else.
    It’s not always easy to translate their lyrics but that line seems pretty unambiguous.
    Information only… I am a 62 yr old woman who loves Rammstein and I am very proud of their words. They say some very important things and almost always with a sense of humor unseen in any other band. To blame them for murderous rampages is indeed just like blaming the Beatles for Manson’s insanity.

  2. Sheavy

    On a side note here. When will people understand it’s the mentallity of a country’s people that determines how strict gun control shoud be?

    Switzerland has insanely lax, to most americans, gun control. Yet …. “Police statistics for the year 2006[14] records 34 killings or attempted killings involving firearms, compared to 69 cases involving bladed weapons and 16 cases of unarmed assault. Cases of assault resulting in bodily harm numbered 89 (firearms) and 526 (bladed weapons). As of 2007, Switzerland had a population of about 7,600,000. This would put the rate of killings or attempted killings with firearms at about one for every quarter million residents yearly. This represents a decline of aggravated assaults involving firearms since the early 1990s. The majority of gun crimes involving domestic violence are perpetrated with army ordnance weapons, while the majority of gun crime outside the domestic sphere involves illegally held firearms.[15]”

    If only Americans were, as a whole, more responsible…..

    And also Germany doesn’t allow citizen’s to own guns.

  3. Matt R

    Hey Weirdest band guys, I agree with your post 100%. I am still old enough to remember the early 80s when heavy metal was blamed for just about everything. A kid killed himself while listening to Ozzy Osbourne and the mom tries to sue Ozzy over the song Suicide solution which she swears caused her son to commit suicide (not becasue she was a shitty mom or anything). Of course it was laughed out of court because the song was not a cry for teens to kill themselves but rather an anti-alchohol abuse song.

    People to do want to talk to their kids or keep teh damn guns locked up because it is too damn hard so they blame the music. It’s very silly.

  4. Ron

    The entire mis-representation of the Second Amendment is based on taking the amendment out of context.

    When it was written, the USA had no professional standing armed forces or police forces. With this in mind, the writers sought to address the need to defend the fledgling country by this piece of legislation. In effect, it enabled the government to muster a civilian militia to defend itself from the enemies of the state. And in those days it meant Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, pirates from the Carribean and a host of First Nations that surrounded the newly-liberated country. Its sad and tragic that pro-gun lobbyists and proponents of universal arms have not grapsed this single fact.

    This was the original meaning behind the Amendment and nothing more. The founding fathers could not have imagined a world where a single automatic weapon would equal the entire firepower of an 18th century battalion. If they would have, they would never have written the Amendment into the Constitution and left it as temporary emergency legislation.

    As a result of their inability to foresee a time when guns would out-number civilians, thousands upon thousands of innocent people have died. unfortunately, thousands more may die unless the government re-addresses the “right” to bear arms.

    (PS. I love your crazy blog. Keep up the weird work!)

  5. As someone who has listened to a whole fuck of a lot of G.G. Allin, yet never engaged in rape, murder and corpse sodomization, I can certainly see your point. I mean, shit, Charles Manson himself spun off on some kook tabs over the goddam Beatles. So, I agree wholeheartedly with your argument-however, this is America. You make the guns go away and people will be going on murder sprees with frying pans.
    It’s not just the guns, it’s not just the music or video games other media-and I don’t buy in to the whole media analysis anyway because you take some other countries (like Japan, for instance where a person can purchase vending machine buru-sera panties and violent octupus rape comics on the same train platform in the middle of town, or Mexico where grisly death scenes appear on the front pages of newspapers and tabloids) where children aren’t murdering their schoolmates, or whackaloon gunmen aren’t shooting up theaters…and you just realize that we maybe do not live in that much of a civilized country.
    I mean, the whole reason America is even here is because a bunch of people came here and more or less successfully exterminated the native population, then put our fledgling nation on the world stage economically by way of slave labor. I mean, fuck, it’s like when you have a bunch of gerbils in a cage and they just go nuts and eat each other. They do that shit because they just do that shit, it’s in their blood. Same reason we have kids running around at school with firearms, and scumbags killing moviegoers, and face eaters, and why we had the “trenchcoat mafia” and Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy and why shit like Abu Ghraib and Matthew Shepard’s murder and Christians murdering doctors happens… all that shit. The list could go on and on. It happens because we’re just kind of fucked up. It’s in our history and the overarching culture, so yeah, it’s in our blood.
    I don’t think tougher gun restrictions will be some kind of pancea that will address that-sure, it’s a great idea and wouldn’t be a bad start at all, however the underlying current of America’s thing with violence goes deeper than just addressing gun control.
    Sorry for being so longwinded. I mean I guess if I write so many words they should be aimed at a trolly “they’ll take my guns when they pry them from my cold, dead fingers” type argument, but the opposite is true. I totally agree with you, and btw you’se are in my top five music blogs. Even if I’m still waiting for that Hasil Adkins post.
    Now I’m going to get back to listening to the Dwarves’ “Blood, Guts and Pussy” album while I make a birthday card for my developmentally disabled co-worker.

    1. weirdestband

      Thanks for the kind words and the long-winded but thoughtful rant. I agree with most of your points…America’s problems run much deeper than our obsession with guns, for sure. We have a lot of bloody history to live down.

      That said, I’ll take my chances with frying pans over guns any day.

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