More often than none, you question yourself about the state of the world when it comes to the sense of safety and freedom of speech and how this can be misinterpreted. This week, United States sense of paranoia proves that everything can be relative, including your sense of freedom if some people have a narrowed mentality, or if they have been possessed by fear, and during this week I have been seriously questioning myself about it after reading the story of the guy (a 31 years old man cannot be considered as boy) who was arrested for posting part of the lyrics of an Exodus song.
If you have been around the internet in the last week, you have noticed the fuzz surrounding the arrest of James Evans for posting the following lines in his Facebook account:
Student bodies lying dead in the halls, a blood splattered treatise of hate. Class dismissed is my hypothesis, gunfire ends in debate.
For those in the metal world or some remotely opened minded those words are just lyrics, but for the good people in charge of US security, apparently was enough to incarcerate the guy on the charges of “terroristic threatening”. I mean, in a manner, I get the need to ensure people’s security, after all, there are too many crazy people in the world, but to arrest someone solely based on a post on Facebook seems a bit extreme. It kind of reminds me a part in the documentary “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey” where the persecution towards heavy metal bands was evident. Back then, it was a bunch of puritans concerned in the good principles of society, now the inquisition has changed its principles to ensure people’s “security”.
Obviously Exodus had something to say about the matter; after all they were their lyrics.
The band does not promote or condone terrorists, threats or bullying. That being said, the band is somewhat baffled by the fact that this man being charged for what seems against his first amendment rights of Freedom Of Speech.
But guitarist Gary Holt was more detailed about the matter:
The idea that an individual in this great country of ours could be arrested for simply posting lyrics to a song is something I never believed could happen in a free society. James Evans was simply posting lyrics to a band he likes on Facebook, and he was locked up for it… The song ‘Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)’ was written as a view through the eyes of a madman and in no way endorses that kind of fucked up behavior. It was the Virginia Tech massacre perpetrated by Seung-Hui Cho that was the subject and inspiration to write the song, one in which we put the brakes on playing it live after the Sandy Hook shooting, as we did not want to seem insensitive.
Despite the appearances, most metalheads are relatively quiet, they enjoy the music as a way to release, it does not mean most of them would take an axe and go ripping people apart, even if most lyrics make reference to such a brutal act. But It seems that paranoia and fear have won in this case, for the time being. Fear to the unknown, to the change or just plain simple different seems to win every now and then. Would things get different in the near future? Perhaps, but right now my faith in the human race is not very strong.