Home Politics Is Hip-Hop to Blame for the Fort Hood Shooting?

Is Hip-Hop to Blame for the Fort Hood Shooting?

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ft hood shooting 2014
Of course not but it’s blamed for so many other things, I thought I’ll catch your attention.

In response to the Ft. Hood shooting, Butler Shaffer wrote a short blog post (here) noting what has long been true about the military. Despite military members being “trained to destroy the ‘enemies,’ the cost to this “militaristic thinking and behavior” often results in the “dispirited destruction of the inner life—the psyche and soul of the individual—which often generates mental illness and a propensity for suicide by those unable to live with what they have done with their lives.”

I haven’t seen the shooter’s, Ivan Lopez, counseling report to confirm this particular shooting is exemplary but as time passes, more information will be available to make a judgment. To my knowledge, the only thing certain as of yet is that he was diagnosed with PTSD, which we can almost say with certainty he was prescribed psych drugs.

The “dispirited destruction of the inner life” is a recurring theme in Hip Hop that’s connected to the torment from selling drugs, committing murder and engaging in other violent, illegal acts–in short, living the gangster lifestyle.

Going back as far as my musical memory allows me, what comes to mind is the song “Feel Like I’m the One Who’s Doing Dope,” by Pimp C of UGK on their Too Hard to Swallow album in 1992. In the song, Pimp C narrates the life of a delusional, violent fiend who repeatedly blacks out and whose only focus is his next fix. At the end of the song, the fiend is being pursued in a police chase for the rapes and murders he’s committed when Pimp C reveals to the listener the surreal experience was only a dream.

“Mind Playing Tricks On Me” by the Geto Boys is a more popular song and their single released just a year before and, perhaps, was the inspiration for the UGK song which samples a bar of Scarface’s verse for the chorus, “Day by day it’s more impossible to cope/I feel like I’m the one that’s doing dope.” Rap Genius, a lyrical interpretation site, describes the song, correctly in my opinion, as “Hip Hop’s most famous paranoia anthem that inspired a whole generation of rappers to rap about the mental stress of the gangsta lifestyle.”

For my baby readers, perhaps you have heard the Jay Z song “Fallin’” when he says “The irony of drugs is sort of like you using it/Guess it’s to sides to what substance is/Can’t stop, won’t stop, addicted to this new shit.” Jay z’s verses is a bit more nuanced than the previous two which deal with being tormented as a result of an act or lifestyle vs. the dealer, too, being addicted to the consequences, i.e., money, material wealth, and the “high,” so to speak, of the said lifestyle.

This condition isn’t exclusively for military members, veterans and rappers, of course, and can be applied to everyday life when we commit knowingly wrong acts and suffer from guilt, conscious, etc. as a result.

According to the bit of Senate Armed Services Committee hearing I saw held today in Capitol Hill, Lopez saw no combat in Iraq. But this doesn’t matter, as the officers who testified should know. I’m not sure why the media keeps repeating this line. Regardless if Lopez was a truck driver who saw no combat, the mere fear and paranoia of being in a war theater (do you know what happens during war?) is sufficient enough to warrant extreme stress, anxiety, paranoia and other symptoms associated with combat veterans. As a Marine myself, I know non-combat Marines who are on medication to deal with the aforementioned symptoms. In fact, I know a few truck drivers, more correctly, Motor Transport (MOS: 35XX) who “saw no combat” and nearly lost their life during a driving route.

Lastly, the best way to deal with PTSD is to avoid war in general, and considering there should have never been an Iraq Invasion in the first place, all of this could have been avoided.

My condolences go out to the bereaved.