In the wake of back-to-back mass shootings in the United States earlier this month, tensions are high. The El Paso shooter, Patrick Crusius, carried out his attack in a Walmart, and the Dayton, Ohio shooter, Connor Betts, chose a traditional Western-themed bar. Following the attack, the media focused on the fact that Betts was reportedly wearing a shirt from a metal band, The Acacia Strain.
Metal Injection reports that both the Walmart and metal connections to the shootings appear to have scared some Missouri Walmart shoppers, who reportedly called the police on a "suspicious" metal band, Torn The F**k Apart, that was in the parking lot.
According to the band, they were parked in the back of the Walmart parking lot in their van to "stretch out and grab a few things" following a night off of their tour. Eventually, they were approached by a cop car that questioned them and revealed they had received "multiple calls" about a dark van in the parking lot with "suspicious characters" in it.
"The cops were very professional and respectful to us after they realized we were no threat to anyone, and they even took pictures with us as though we were under arrest, and played along with us to tell our drummer we had warrants and were under arrest when he came back to the van," the band said.
"We don't blame the cops for doing their jobs; they handled it well. But it was upsetting that we had been profiled for the way a 'metalhead' looks," they continued, adding that it wasn't something they had experienced before.Per Altpress, one study on metal music and violence conducted by researchers at MacQuarie University suggested that aggressive music that portrays violence through its lyrics doesn't desensitize listeners to violence.
Nick Holmes, the lead vocalist of Bloodbath, the band whose music was used in the study, agreed with the conclusions of the study. He said that people that enjoy metal — death metal, in particular — are no different than people who enjoy horror movies or battle re-enactments.
In addition to metal music, video games have been scapegoated for influencing the accused mass shooters. Despite research suggesting no connection between video games and real-world violence — in some cases, the opposite, per Buzzfeed News — The Inquistr reported that Donald Trump recently announced a crackdown on violent video games. He claims that games that "celebrate violence" should be made more difficult to purchase, although he has not announced the specifics of his plan.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick also insist that video games drove the shooters behind the horrific mass shootings.