Tom Morello Chat on AOL:
"AOLiveMC3: Welcome to AOL Live, Tom Morello and Hilary Rosen. Hilary, are you ready to start answering questions? Hilary Rosen: Yes I am. Hi, everyone. I am glad that AOL is doing this. It is awesome to have Tom Morello online with us. What we want to do tonight is talk about how music affects young people's lives because in Washington, they are playing the blame game. There are congressional hearings taking place tomorrow where music, video games and movies are going to be blamed for the shootings in Colorado. We wanted to know what you think. RIAA is the music representative in Washington. The Recording Industry Association of America. Tom Morello: Hello, everyone. I'm Tom Morello. To those of you that don't know, I am the guitar player in Rage Against the Machine. I find it shocking how the media has attempted to blame music for the tragedy that happened in Littleton, CO. If you all have any questions regarding or comments, regarding that event, or how music, violence and the media are related, let's talk about it. Comment: Our society is hypocritical in the sense that our government is killing overseas and making themselves look righteous for doing so, but when kids are desensitized to violence, we blame pop culture. Tom Morello: Yes, it was shocking to see President Clinton come on TV the day after the shooting saying that violence was no way to settle disputes, while nightly, American bombing is pouring terror on the people of Yugoslavia. If you want to talk about negative influence on young people, you need look no further than the US government and Yugoslavia. Clinton is clearly demonstrating that he believes the way to solve problems or disagreements is through overwhelming violence. It should be noted that Eric Harris was very excited about the war in Yugoslavia and had talked about signing up with the Army. Interestingly, yesterday American planes again accidentally targeted a civilian bus in Yugoslavia, killing almost twice as many children and elderly people as were killed in the Littleton shooting. This is in some ways a far greater tragedy because it is a premeditated act by our government using our tax dollars. Question: How do you feel about politicians and parents constantly using Manson as a scapegoat? Tom Morello: Marilyn Manson is an easy target and scapegoat for politicians looking to score huge points. The [question] we have to ask ourselves [is] why is America more violent than other countries? It is not that our popular music is any more violent than say, European heavy metal. It is not that there is not enough religion in the US, religious sentiments are probably the greatest here of any industrialized nation. It is not that we have more violent video games than say, Japan, where there is very violent crime. What we do have a lot more of in America is inequality and guns. Question: What do you think about repealing the Second Amendment? Tom Morello: Regardless of what one thinks of gun control, it is clear that the Littleton shootings, as well as the innumerable violent crimes across America, simply could not be committed if guns were not so prevalent and so easy to access. Question: Do you believe that it's all in the mind of the beholder or all in the message of the music? Hilary Rosen: People definitely react to lyrics differently, but that is a far cry from whether they are reacting with their feelings or actions; there is a major difference. Tom Morello: If you want to look at the subculture those two young men were involved in, clearly their interest in neo-Nazism is more dangerous than their interest in Goth music. Given a choice between young people becoming obsessed with Bauhaus or Adolph Hitler, obviously, one of those has more violent implications. The music like Goth or heavy metal or rap, which speaks to people who feel alienated and helps them feel like part of a community and makes sense of their world, is very positive. Whereas the Fascist leanings of these two young men are much clearer warning signs that something was very wrong. AOLiveMC3: Wow!! Where did all of the time go? We are out of time. Thank you, Tom Morello and Hilary Rosen, for your in-depth thoughts. Do you have any closing comments? Hilary Rosen: If people want to send a message to Congress about this issue, they should write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tom Morello: Don't let the politicians scapegoat you or your music. You have to get involved and fight for the music you want to hear and your own rights. Or they could very easily be taken away. AOLiveMC3: Thank you again for joining us tonight. Thank you, audience, for your excellent questions. Good evening, everyone."