News is circulating about two unrelated crimes involving two musicians in different states. Some media allege that the burning of black churches in Louisiana and an attack on Republican volunteers in Florida were done for attention. The perception is based on the viral marketing principle—do something outrageous and publicity will follow because clickbait news will run anything these days.
One musician formerly played with a rock band. The other—the man who burned the churches—was a black metal fan and presumed performer.
For starters, both men could technically be charged on the federal level with terrorism. Let’s admit something that may be painful for some. If these men were religious, whether they were Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, media would paint them as terrorists.
Now media appear happy to present an alternative theory.
Many of us saw stories alleging the black metal wannabe, Holden Matthews, burned the churches because of racial bias. I think that’s too easy. Black metal is characteristically anti-religion, except for those bands who are into Satanism which is of course a religious ideology unto itself. As the BBC story on the church burnings reported, there’s historic precedent for black metal musicians to burn churches:
“Holden Matthews, 22, admitted to starting the fires to raise his profile as a “black metal” musician, prosecutors said.
In the 1990s, at least 50 Christian churches in Norway were attacked by arsonists in the name of black metal, a subgenre of heavy metal music. Varg Vikernes was among the most infamous black metal musicians to be convicted of church arson in this period.
A member of a black metal band himself, Matthews told prosecutors he believed the acts would elevate his status.
He admitted to posting pictures and videos of the church burnings to Facebook “in an effort to promote himself in the black metal community”.
The other perp, Gregory Timm, allegedly was kicked out of a rock band based in St. Augustine because of his “xenophobic slurs” among other shortcomings. Timm’s former bandmate told Action News Jax Timm, who violently targeted Republican volunteers, also “hated Hillary Clinton.”
So if Timm didn’t like either nominee, who was he for in 2016? Was he a Bernie Sanders fan? The interviewer didn’t pursue that line of questioning for reasons unknown despite the fact Sanders’ supporter shot a Republican congressman.
The black metal culture theory stands on stronger ground than the attention-seeking Timm’s motives.
The left of center (in my opinion, far left) ACLU defines domestic terrorism:
“A person engages in domestic terrorism if they do an act “dangerous to human life” that is a violation of the criminal laws of a state or the United States, if the act appears to be intended to: (i) intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.”
You can also see the official definition of domestic terrorism at the US government website.
Media coverage of the Florida attack hasn’t embraced the ardor that coverage of the Louisiana attack originally had. At least one high profile leftist website attempted to build a case that the church burner was a neo Nazi. The website ultimately admitted there wasn’t a case for that. Holden Matthews appeared to hate any deity regardless of faith. That holds with most of the black metal musicians in Europe, with some exceptions. Most of the known purist black metal types are nihilists.
These cases aren’t the first time individuals sought attention by committing horrible acts, and they won’t be the last. Although Timm and Matthews were wannabes in their respective genres, the well-known case of Jussie Smollett who once had the fame and glam many musicians would love to have illustrates that seeking attention isn’t confined to failures.
Bottom line on both cases—Matthews and Timm—is that both men could theoretically be charged with domestic terrorism. Whether both were affected by the rabid propaganda distributed these days is anyone’s guess. Truth can certainly hurt, but lies can kill.
Anyone physically attacking a person for his or her political beliefs fits the criteria of a domestic terrorist. It’s time we applied the law equally to all, regardless of faith or ethnicity.
That these individuals were part of arts communities says a lot about the lack of regard for human wellbeing in entertainment these days. Whether Matthews and Timm were really musicians is debatable. They both seem to be wannabes and posers to me.
(Kay B. Day/Feb. 13, 2020)
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