Another typical mainstream-media, anti-Metal smear campaign.

Another typical mainstream-media, anti-Metal smear campaign.

by JP

In the early morning of April 15th, 2014 a young man in the city of Calgary, Alberta stabbed five people to death at a house party. Despite a population of over million people, the city is quite safe recording only a few murders a year. Until this point there had been only five homicides in 2014. The media dubbed it the worst mass killing in the history of Calgary.

Later in the day it was revealed that the suspect in custody, who had been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, had written a message on his Facebook account. His last message was the title of two songs by the band Megadeth, ‘The World Needs A Hero’ and ‘Dread And The Fugitive Mind’, both songs are from the bands ninth album from 2001, THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO.

The media are immediately trying to make a connection between the song titles and the killings. It is very common for the media in an attempt to place blame and/or justify and/or explain the actions of the criminals in these situations have often used Heavy Metal media as a scapegoat. From high-profile cases involving Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest to this most recent example, Heavy Metal has been the target for many people trying to find quick, easy answers to a difficult situation. Unfortunately the situation is the same in Calgary as media attempts to create a story and find place blame. Within hours of the killings, two of my colleagues who work in the Metal industry were phoned by a reporter digging for information in an effort to sensationalize the story. It is my feeling that this is reprehensible, shoddy reporting and an attack on Heavy Metal. Did the media ask the following questions?

What was the last video game the suspect played?

What was the last book the suspect read?

What was the last magazine the suspect read?

What was the last Youtube video the suspect watched?

What was the last movie the suspect watched?

What was the last poem he read?

What was the last art gallery he went to?

Were these questions asked and reported on? No, automatically the ‘smoking gun’ of two song titles by a Heavy Metal band are faithfully trotted out as a possible link and motive. Why is it they immediately jump to the conclusion that Metal had some part in the actions of the suspect? I have no doubt in the next few days ‘experts’ will be analyzing the lyrics of these songs in an attempt to find a connection.

There may even be deeper, uglier motives as the mainstream media may want to attack and discredit Megadeth and by extension band-leader Dave Mustaine, an outspoken, right-wing, Christian conservative. This is pure speculation on my part.

In an effort to combat unfair and inaccurate representations of Heavy Metal and of I have taken a moment to provide some factual information about the case.

The last FB post allegedly read…Dread and The Fugitive Mind. The World Needs A Hero. 10 words that cause such an uproar. Let us examine each song individually.

Dread and the Fugitive Mind

Lyrics (D. Mustaine)

Let me introduce myself I’m a social disease .

I’ve come for your wealth leave you on your knees .

No time for feeling sorry, I got here on my own .

I won’t ask for mercy, I choose to walk alone .

What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine too .

If you shake my hand better count your fingers .

What if I do get caught? what if there is no judgment? .

If I’m right I lose nothing, if you’re right I lose it all .

I ought to get caught because I’m doing something wicked .

I’m guilty haunted by my fear and the only consequences .

Are dread and the fugitive mind .

You built walls to protect you so no one will infect you .

Pursued by those out there that vanish in thin air .

Come a long way to find what you really left behind .

You don’t know when the end is but it’s coming fast .

What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine too .

If you shake my hand better count your fingers  

What if I do get caught? what if there is no judgment? .

If I’m right I lose nothing, if you’re right I lose it all .

I ought to get caught because I’m doing something wicked .

I’m guilty haunted by my fear and the only consequences .

Are dread and the fugitive mind.

Originally, when the song first came out I personally had interpreted this song as referring to drugs as the ‘social disease’ as Mustaine was in the throes of his heroin addiction at the time with his band falling apart around him. However, in subsequent interviews Mustaine revealed that the song is in fact about organized religion. This song (and album) was written well BEFORE Mustaine became a born-again Christian in the spring of 2002, as per his autobiography. In an interview with Ultimate on October 5th, 2013 Mustaine says the songs is about Pascal’s Wager.

“It’s like the whole Pascal’s Wager thing that I sang about in ‘Dread and the Fugitive Mind;’ it’s better to live your life like there’s a God and to find out there isn’t, than to live like there’s no God and find out there is.”

From Wikipedia….

Pascal’s Wager is an argument in apologetic philosophy which was devised by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). It posits that humans all bet with their lives either that God exists or does not exist. Given the possibility that God actually does exist and assuming the infinite gain or loss associated with belief in God or with unbelief, a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.).[1]


The World Needs A Hero

Lyrics (D. Mustaine)

An iron fist quietly sits inside the velvet glove

Take control, untouchable just like God above

I can’t escape, wrapped in red tape, what will become of me?

If I object, then I defect my country ’tis of thee

The white house is calling

Tell them I’ll call them back

Just tell them anything

Yeah get them off my back

The world needs a hero

Not that I would ever lie but I have no choice

Words I say heard today are not mine, just my voice

Nato is on line 1

They want to talk to me

Tell them that I’m not in

Tell them that I’m not free

The world needs a hero

Phantom rule, the hidden jewel who’s really in control?

On puppet strings, a nation swings undermined by moles

The U.N. is on hold

Tell them I’ll call them back

Yeah tell them anything

Just get them off my back

The world needs a hero

Dave the white house is calling

They want to talk to me

Tell them that I can’t be bought

Tell them that I’m not free

The world needs a hero.

In an interview in April of 2001 with the Greek webzine Mustaine had this to say.

“Well…I’m saying the world, I didn’t say Greece needs a hero. If you watch the news, it’s pretty fucked up. Bombings, wars, floods and earthquakes and shit. You see stuff like in California some kid just went to school and shot a bunch of his schoolmates. I should have said a fuckin’ American needs a hero.”

In the past, Mustaine has been an outspoken individual publically criticizing the American government and specifically the U.N. and the lyrics may be interpreted as a call for some ‘hero’ to replace the organizations of government (White House), the U.N. and the military (Nato) as an attempt to solve the world’s problems.

Armed and educated with this information about the actual meaning of the lyrics as directly quoted from the author of the lyrics, it would take the most irresponsible, sensationalistic journalist (or one with an personal agenda) to try to interpret these lyrics in any way shape or form as a call to kill people or motive for murder. We have a song about religion and one about politics. There is no possible link between these songs and the violent crime committed in Calgary.

In this case the media is acting too quickly and irresponsibly in trying to attribute blame to Megadeth and Dave Mustaine for these killings, even if they are only doing it implicitly by leaving out information or emphasizing other information. Why was it even mentioned? If the suspects’ last words on Facebook had been ‘I had a hamburger at McDonalds for lunch’ or he had typed ‘Vivaldi’s Four Seasons’. It would have not made the news. Some people may suggest I’m being paranoid but if you look at similar cases of violent crime in North America, it is extremely rare that the suspects musical preference is ever mentioned, unless he or she is a Heavy Metal fan.

I understand the media has an agenda. It is an extremely competitive and a profit driven mandate to be first to ‘break local news’ or get a story, which in turn raises the prestige of the station and attracts viewers and consequently advertising dollars. The negative side is that in the mad rush to be ‘first’, very often journalistic integrity and actual investigative research goes out the window so the story can be the lead on the six o’clock news. Pressures and deadlines are huge and journalists make compromises that impact the true story. The bodies aren’t even cold yet, it was less than 17 hours since the crime and already media is struggling to place blame and unfortunately the nearest easy target was Megadeth and Heavy Metal in general.

The following day (April 16th) the media was all over the story but unfortunately the reporting had some mistakes and assumptions.

-The National Post has said that the suspect posted a song on FaceBook. This is incorrect. There was a post of two song titles. No lyrics. No music. No context. (Gerson, April 16th, p. A6)

-The Globe And Mail said that there was one song title posted, not two. This is open to interpretation. Was the suspect referring to the single song from the album THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO, or was he listing two songs from the album of the same name? It is interesting that the Globe assumed that that it was one song ‘Dread and The Fugitive Mind’ and printed some lyrics from the one song that could be interpreted as ‘negative’ as compared to printing lyrics from the song, ‘The Worlds Needs A Hero’ which is a much more positive song. (Jones, April 16th, p. A7)

-The Calgary Herald went as far as say, “The music of Dave Mustaine and his band, Megadeth, has been linked to the worst mass slaying in Calgary’s history… (Bell, April 16th, on-line version)

Unfortunately, this sad situation in Calgary, is just one isolated example of a decades long, systematic campaign by the mainstream media to smear and discriminate against Heavy Metal, with little regard for the actual motive or cause of the crime.

Here is what we do know.

1. There is no context in which the suspect posted the 10 simple words. Was he responding to a question? Eg. What are your favorite Megadeth songs?’

2. Calgary Police have not released any statement or comment (to date) about the motive or any connection to the song titles.

That is the total sum of knowledge about the alleged connection between the band and the motive for the crimes. Nothing.  Zero. And yet the mainstream media seems insistent on creating news to drive the tragic story. This is not investigative journalism. This is an example of jumping to conclusions and shoddy fact-checking at best and at worst, part of the campaign to discredit Metal and implicate Megadeth and Dave Mustaine.

We here at will be watching this story with interest and most importantly (more than any connection to music, motive or causation) we hope that there is a thorough and unbiased investigation, eventual trial, prosecution and an  appropriate punishment for the individual charged with these horrible crimes.