Or is it Sex and Violence that is becoming part of our culture?

The recent stabbing outside the Tralf and shooting just a block away after a gangsta rap group outdrew the venues capacity has stirred outrage by the City officials.The Mayor and police officials have promised to crack down on it and are creating a special unit to do so.

Meanwhile, Niagara Falls school officials are bring criticized by the State for underreporting violence in the High School by 80%.

Related events? No, but they’re symptoms of what is happening in our culture. Thug and Gangsta culture has become popular. Some think it’s a race thing, but it’s spread across races pretty squarely. Hate is an equal opportunity employer.

Others blame the music. Rap isn’t my cup of tea, but I’m reluctant to blame it. Some of it is pretty good. I personally prefer the more melodic styles and if the lyrics are understandable – or even make sense – even better. I really don’t appreciate the type that is pure venting of anger, though. While that may be a legitimate outlet, it’s not very entertaining. Nor does it usually offer any solution of the greivances expressed in it.

I think the music is merely a reflection of what is happening – the vilonce and lack of personal respect – in the culture it represents. There is a minority of people around that aren’t afraid to use anger and violence to get whatever they want. It’s become so common in some places, such as the audience at a hip-hop show or a high school in Niagara Falls, that it becomes expected. In the case of the high school, it is just part of the normal day. It’s no wonder it goes unreported.

In the case of the Tralf, it’s something that would never have happened when Bobby Millitello ran it. He would have recognized a potential problem before he even booked the group. I don’t think the present management wanted to create a problem. They were just inexperienced and didn’t know what they had gotten themselves into until it was too late to back out.

I don’t pretend to have a solution. I won’t get preachy and blame anyone, though it would be easy to blame parents, the media, schools, gangs or the music industry. I don’t think an increased police presence will cure it. It will control it though and protect the decent citizens who enjoy the downtown area. It’s about all they can do.