Monday--October 28, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 411
The Rap of Terror
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York
City, October 28 --Hunting Terrorism is not unlike a
starving child stumbling into a Godiva Chocolate factory. The
question isn't, "Where is Terrorism?," but rather, "Which
Terrorism is the most deliciously newsworthy?"
This morning, found a big, rich chunk of
chocolate Terrorism. It's a Rapper who promotes to millions of young
people his thoughts on raping his mother, killing his wife--the mother of his six-year-old
daughte--and how he wishes his "fagotty father" was dead.
his story slapped me in the face, I reviewed the flap over the Russian's
use of a deadly gas that killed more than 100 hostages. It was used to
knock out Chechen Terrorists who laid siege on a concert hall just three miles from the
Kremlin. The rebels threatened to kill all 750 hostages. Russian
troops pumped gas into the theater to knock out the Terrorists.
Unfortunately, the dosage was lethal to a large number of hostages.
Grim pictures of dead hostages in their seats, heads lolling back,
eyes staring blankly, greeted me
at 5a.m. Russia's use of the gas has brought suspicious eyes.
Some think the anti-Terrorist "secret gas" is new, and represents a
violation of the non-proliferation treaty regarding biochemical weapons.
Everyone's wondering where the Russians got the gas, and what else they
|Mourning for the
dead in Moscow
Following Russia's gas issue, I
hit on a bright spot--a memorial for Vigilance. On October 28, in
1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated by President Cleveland.
Visitors from all over the world jammed New York City, many from France
where the statue was conceived and built, and then shipped to the United
States. It stands today as a symbol of Freedom and
Opportunity. Or, as Thomas Jefferson said, "Eternal Vigilance is the
price of Liberty."
Ms. Liberty also
represents Freedom of all different sizes and shapes. The most precious--Freedom of Speech.
Without the right to speak one's mind wherein lies Freedom?
Americans have the right to express their opinions--no matter how extreme
they might be. Some claim it lets steam off so the angry don't
take their resentments out with violence.
Opponents to Free Speech
avouch it fosters dissent, spreads pornography, and incites violence.
One of the current targets of Free Speech is rap music, whose lyrics often
killing, raping, murdering. That's where my hunt for Terrorism
Today's New York
Times ran an article on Emimem, the white rap singer who has crossed
the line between black and white, and earned the respect of both ethnic
groups. He has been called by both white and black critics, the
"world's best rapper."
The 30-year-old father of
a six-year-old daughter, has been assaulted because his lyrics, like many
black rappers, are riddled with violence.
He raps about raping his
mother and killing his girlfriend, the mother of his daughter.
Eminem at Grammy's
latest album, "The Eminem Show," has sold 6.7 million copies domestically,
more than any other rapper in any one year.
In his song, "'Cleanin'
Out My Closet," he calls his father a "faggot," and wishes "he would die."
He also relates how he wanted to kill his girlfriend but didn't.
He calls his mother a "selfish bitch," and raps out his anger by telling
listeners how when his uncle died his mother "wished it was me."
His mother sued him
for slander and lost.
are mostly non-black, representing 75 percent of sales. But to be
successful, a rapper has to enjoin the black community, and Eminem has
He presents a "role
model" for many disenfranchised minorities. Unlike the
majority of rappers who wear pounds of gold, swirl around in limos with
stars at their sides and frequent the top echelon of clubs, Eminem is
noted for sticking to his neighborhood roots, wearing street clothes and
avoiding the trappings of stardom.
attraction for some youth in the black community is his dedication to his
daughter. In the Times Oct.28 article, reporter
Lynette Holloway quoted 14-year-old Andre Hannah as saying, "My dads is
gone. It would be cool if my dad was there for me like he's (Eminem)
there for his daughter. I mean, he loves her more than he loves his
wife and mother."
But another comment
was less flattering. A 15-year-old said, "I don't like him.
He talks about killing his wife in his songs. I don't care what she did to
him. That's wrong."
Eminem is moving into another medium--the movies.
On Nov. 8 his quasi-auto biography is being released in fictionalized
format. It's called "8-Mile," titled after a dividing line in
Detroit's racial and economic division between white and black.
Hip-hop artists have a
string of movies including "Barber Shop," "Brown Sugar" and "Exit Wounds."
I wanted to know about
his songs so I downloaded his lyrics, available at
I found it hard to see a
Father of Vigilance in his words. I found it hard to find a
Everything was about anger.
There was no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel. I read
about suffering. And, based on my own background, I related to that
suffering. Any child who feels abandoned would feel the same,
but I didn't see any Courage, Convictions or Right Actions in the words
that would lead me to believe a child seeking a symbol of strength would
find it in Eminem's lyrics.
I saw an angry young man
lashing out at the world, and fomenting those feelings of hatred and
disgust in others. I saw his daughter as a victim of the words,
learning to hate from them, learning to build walls of victimization
rather than castles of Vigilance.
Rapper Ice T
wife and I went to the MSN display in Central Park where major promotions
are being held to announce a new and improved web service.
Ice-T was speaking. It was a small crowd, perhaps sixty people
at the most. Ice-T was telling the audience about how to
become bigger than violence. He was delivering a message about
"rising above" one's pain and suffering and how he decided to "play the
game" (take Right Action). He cited his own experience of
selling hand grenades, and how he moved into music, and now is a major
image of Vigilance on Law and Order, a role model of evolution from primal
Terrorism to media Vigilance.
"Playing the game"
impressed with Ice-T's message, and unimpressed with Eminem's.
I wondered if John
Mohammad, the accused sniper, or his quasi "step son," had ears for rap
music. I wondered if the thirst for "killing" was fed by
lyrics and primal beats that awoke in them or agitated their Beast of
Terror, urging them to kill with indiscriminate carelessness.
Then I thought of the Statue of
Liberty. A hundred and sixteen years ago it was dedicated
to offer people of all diverse backgrounds and beliefs the freedom of
expression. Its symbol of Liberty includes the right of people to
speak about most anything they want. I wondered if the Voice of
Vigilance could rise above the din of angry, violent rap. I
wondered if the children and parents could, by "playing the game" of taking
taking Right Action instead of Complacency Game, turn Fear into
Courage, or hoist Conviction above Intimidation, or convert Complacency
into Right Action as easily as they could embrace a young man screaming into a
microphone about raping his mother, killing his daughter's mother, and
taking revenge on his "fagotty" father. If Ms. Liberty
didn't represent the end-all of Vigilance, she sure did tolerance.
Fortunately, America has
tested the right of Free Speech for long enough to know that its absence
is more dangerous than its presence.
With that in mind, I'm going to send
Eminem a Pledge of Vigilance, in hopes that one day he might rap more
about the Courage to stand up for what is right and good and take a lesson
from Ice-T and rap about "playing the right game" rather than feed the
prurient thirst to further Terrorize
what is already bad and wrong for our children, and their children's
children. Free speech isn't wrong, but the choice to use it to
Terrorize the Terrorized is..
Day With The Central Park Terrorists
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