Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson

When Columbine happened, there seemed to be a lot of people chimed in that Marilyn Manson was to blame. That the two shooters who carried out the massacre were driven to their crimes by the music of Marilyn Manson. Students at the school and many parents from the area were all certain that the two boys were hard core fans of the infamous singer. This was later debunked as investigations emerged that they were neither Manson fans nor of the trench coat wearing brigade. However, the accusations aimed at Manson nearly ruined his music career.

In the documentary film, "Bowling for Columbine," during his interview with Michael Moore, Manson points out that on the same day, the US Air Force dropped more bombs on Kosovo than at any other time during that campaign. The bombings were sanctioned by then president Bill Clinton. Manson pointed out that the president has more ability to influence people that Manson does.

Columbine wasn't the only school shooting where music was blamed. When the shooting occurred in Jonesboro, Arkansas, music was blamed as well. One US Senator stated that music was at fault and even got one of the teachers to say of the elder shooter, "He was a fine boy until he started listening to Tu-Pac Shaker and Bugs Harmony." What the senator omitted was that the boy sang in the church choir and at ages 13 and 11, they know how to steal and drive a van and knew right where to get the guns for the big day. The 13 year old stated that the reason he shot only girls and a female teacher was because one girl 'jilted' him by refusing to become his girlfriend on demand. Sorry, that doesn't sound like any musical influence to me.

A study by Alfred University lists the reasons why school shootings occur. There are sixteen of them and I don't see music listed at all. The closest is viewing of violence in movies, games and videos. FFI, you can check it out yourself:

Music being responsible for school shootings also occurs in fiction as well as fact. Two of the books I have talked about on this blog have music blamed in some way for the school shooting that occurs in the story. I also have a little fun with it in "He Was Weird." Therefore, my next three posts will talk about the shootings in those stories and the role music is believed to have played in them. I'll start with Jodi Picoult's "Nineteen Minutes" in my next post. Maybe then, I'll have some understanding why people are quick to blame music for school shootings.

To buy He Was Weird, go to

Published by Michael Lefevre