The nation has collectively mourned since the tragic shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults. Since then, many have weighed in on the shooting and the shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lamza, whose actions have spurred several national conversations about the faces that we associate with danger in society. But, according to rapper T.I., Lamza is a perfect example of why conventional stereotypes about criminals need to be discarded.
During a recent trip to MTV’s “RapFix Live,” Tip spoke with host Sway Calloway about the shooting, saying that he was saddened like everyone else in the nation.
“It was tragic,” said T.I. “You cannot be a human being with a heart that pumps blood and not feel somethin’ about that.”
T.I. is no stranger to the criminal life. Before he got a record deal, Tip spent time selling drugs in Atlanta. And in 2007, he was arrested and convicted of a federal weapons charge. But despite his time on the wrong side of the law, Tip has a moral code he adheres to, and he believes that children should never be harmed.
“I just feel like children are off-limits because they perfect, they ain’t done nothin’, they ain’t did nothin’ and to cut the lives off of so many young future— [they] could’ve been future anything,” he said. “Their opportunity was cut short, behind just some cowardice. I think that needs to be addressed in a major way.”
As the nation mourns, many have talked about Lamza’s appearance and race, and how he, as a boyish-looking white man, doesn’t fit the stereotype of a killer. But, Tip says that there is no specific look to a killer and that society needs to accept that fact.
“I just really believe you can’t judge a book by its cover, and right now you may have a stereotype in your mind of what danger looks like. But to be honest with you, in recent history, the look of danger has changed,” Tip explained.
There is certainly truth to what Tip has said, and considering the way Lamza’s mass murder-suicide has been met with a noticeable degree of compassion, whereas murderers of color, the ones who have been historically tagged as the face of danger, have been met with damning commentary.
Check out some other criminals that defy the stereotypes as well. –nicholas robinson