Don't Blame Heavy Metal For Alleged Baltimore Shooter Bobby Gladden

Rammstein's Till Lindemann

By BETH WINEGARNER On the alleged 15-year-old Baltimore shooter's Facebook page, only one unobscured face looks out at the visitor: Rammstein singer Till Lindemann's. Meanwhile, Bobby Gladden's own face is obscured by a sheaf of black hair.

Gladden was arrested Monday after allegedly opening fire in the lunchroom at Perry Hall High School. Police say he critically injured a fellow student, Daniel Borowy, before guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer tackled Gladden and took the gun away.

It wasn't long before press caught wind of the fact that Gladden considers himself a metalhead. “Teenager who allegedly opened fire in Baltimore area high school was heavy metal misfit,” claimed the New York Daily News. Even the relatively objective NBC noted Gladden's love of Rammstein and Slipknot one sentence before alleging that he was bullied, suggesting the spurious chain of causation endemic to coverage of teen shootings.

We've been down this road before. After the Columbine High School shootings in April 1999, media jumped quickly on a portrait of the shooters as outcast goths who listened to Marilyn Manson. Things didn't improve when reporters discovered Eric Harris' love of heavy German bands, including Rammstein. It wasn't until much later that Harris was revealed as a psychopath — a much more likely explanation for the shootings.

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