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Gunplay blames the government for Newtown; why conspiracy theories are dangerous


2Pac’s still alive.

Jay-Z is Illuminati.

Hip-hop loves conspiracy theories. But that focus on ill-supported ghost stories can sometimes be more than a diversion, it can be dangerous.

Maybach Music Group rapper Gunplay posted his thoughts on the tragic elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., last week, during which a gunman took the lives of 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Government killed dem kids to take our guns away. Another 9/11,” he tweeted. “Dont get it twisted.”

“Yall are sheeple 4 thinking da government aint gotta hand in every crisis since the great depression,” he added in a second tweet.

The tweets were subsequently deleted, but not before making the media rounds and raising criticism from others on Twitter. The gun debate has only intensified in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, and this debate could wind up defining the Obama administration’s second term. And, of course, the ill-concieved views of a felon on house arrest who calls himself “Gunplay” should not be taken as anything resembling thoughtful commentary.

Of course, there are valid conspiracies that have been proven. And there’s validity in certain conspiracy theories. One only has to research the history to know that there are, and have always been, powerful clandestine forces at work, particularly in government and religion, and their reach stretches back through almost every era of human history.

But hip-hop’s love affair with empty conspiracy theorizing is rarely rooted in anything other than paranoia and cynicism. Its beyond Gunplay and his ridiculous tweets. Too often, watching YouTube clips pass for “research” and weeded-out late-night conversations take the place of informed debate. With so much at stake, and our avenues of information and communication growing more biased and divisive by the day, it is important for young people to scrutinize and be a little more discriminating in the information they buy into and disseminate on social media sites and blogs.

From Gunplay blaming the government for a horrific massacre in Connecticut to Kendrick Lamar proclaiming that he doesn’t vote without giving concrete reasons as to why; empty cynicism does nothing to change anything. If the “knowledge” you’ve received only convinces you to do nothing, then what good is it?

Apathy isn’t a form of protest. It’s just apathy.

stereo williams