Want To Understand Gun Violence? Try Hip-Hop.

              One of the major talking-points Gun-control Nation, particularly now when some kind of gun control law may actually be coming due, is the idea of ‘knowing’ or ‘understanding’ gun ‘culture;’ i.e., why do people own guns?  Because to pass some kind of ‘reasonable’ gun law, we need to make sure that ‘reasonable’ gun owners will go along for the ride. Hence, the term ‘gun culture’ becomes the shorthand for understanding why 90 million Americans live in homes that contain guns.

              I happen to believe this idea to be pure nonsense and just another manifestation of the liberal fantasy which believes that some of the more ‘enlightened’ gun owners can somehow be made to agree with non-gun owners on how to regulate their guns. Did gun violence prevention (GVP) messaging play a role in various Congressional campaigns?  Yes, it did. But did all those House seats flip because gun owners voted blue instead of voting red? Yea, right.

              Anyway, back to gun culture. As far as I’m concerned, if my Gun-control Nation friends want to really understand why Americans own guns, it seems to me that what they need to do is stop worrying about why the average, law-abiding redneck in Kentucky or Pennsylvania keeps some bangers in his closet and get real by asking a question which goes like this: Why do the people whose behavior results in the overwhelming number of gun homicides and gun assaults own guns? This particular population’s behavior happens to account for at least half, if not more, of the total number of all gun injuries which we suffer from each and every year.

              Who are these gun-toting and gun-wielding folks?  They happen to be inner-city residents between the ages of 16 and 34 who listen to hip-hop music all day long. And know who they hear when they listen to hip-hop?  They hear Dr. Dre sing ‘A Nigger Witta Gun,’ or Sticky Fingaz crooning away with ‘My Dogz is My Gunz,’ or Gang Starr belting out ‘Who Gut Gunz.’ And then there’s always the greatest hip-hopper of all time, Tupac, who’s hit ‘Me and My Girlfriend’ was an ode not to a real woman but to the Smith & Wesson revolver which he carried around in his pants. The picture above is of Ice Cube holding what he refers to in a big hit as ‘Man’s Best Friend.’

              I keep hearing how the kids are turned on to guns because they play video games involving guns. In 2017, the video industry generated 36 billion in revenues, of which roughly one-quarter came from shooting games, which works out to $9 billion in gun-shooting video sales. Know what the hip-hop business is worth today? Try $10 billion, okay?

              Of course the quick and easy answer which will allow the GVP to continue ignoring this issue is the fact that most hip-hop songs don’t necessarily evoke guns or gun violence at all. Know who these people are? Yadi Kadafi, B.I.G., Fat Pat, Big L, DJ Uncle Al, Half A Mill, Mac Dre, Blade Icewood? These are less than one-quarter of the hip-hop artists who have been gunned down since Tupac was shot and killed in 1996. And believe me, this is a very incomplete list.

              So tell me. When was the last time any GVP group ever held a candlelight vigil for victims of gun violence like these? Do any of my Gun-control Nation friends talk about coming together with the hip-hop community to discuss issues of common concern? If you don’t think that hip-hop culture and gun culture aren’t one and the same, you don’t know very much about either kind of culture – you really don’t.

              Want to get a taste of what I’m talking about? Just click here and listen for a bit. Then tell me about how all we need to do is contact all those responsible gun owners and get them to line up behind all our reasonable ideas to control their guns.

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