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Friday, 28 May 2004

Won't Someone Please Think of the Children?

Now Playing: 'God Only Knows', thanks to Grumble, Grumble's latest post

Thanks to Tristan for noticing this snippet of modern jackboot intolerance steadily spreading across the western world:

Nineteen year old Kevin Beebe of Jefferson, Ohio was recently arrested for creating a musical rap cd and distributing it at his local High School in an effort to promote his music and target his appropriate audience of high school students. He placed 10 cd's on car windshields, choosing cars that looked like the owner might be interested in that type of music. Kevin included his e-mail address on each cd so people would know how to get a hold of him if they were interested in his music.

According to local police a couple of students who listened to the music, became scared because they "felt the lyrics" were threatening. The local police Chief admitted in an interview that he never listens to rap music and the school's superintendent stated in a television interview, "we do not see this as poetry, and we certainly do not recognize this as music".

Now Kevin faces a four charge felony trial after his indictment last Thursday by an Ashtabula County grand jury. Kevin was indicted on two counts of inducing a public panic, both fourth-degree felonies, and two counts of aggravated menacing, both first-degree misdemeanors. If convicted on all charges, Kevin could be sentenced to a maximum 3 = years in prison and a $20,000 fine. The indictment alleged that the music, which Beebe admits recording, contains threatening lyrics and references to a Columbine-style massacre at the high school. Chief Assistant Prosecutor Ariana E. Tarighati said, "All we have to prove is significant public alarm. And the community was alarmed," she said. "These kids (who heard the CDs) were scared."

Beebe's attorney, Timothy Kurcharski, said Beebe's reason for going to the high school was about promotion, not destruction. Kucharski said Beebe had First Amendment rights to free speech and never caused any panic.

According to many people following the case, the local police chief and the school superintendent have very much contradicted themselves throughout this entire ordeal. The local police chief, who would later call the lyrics a "very serious Columbine threat, allowed the students to come back to school the following day after he listened to the lyrics, without notifying the parents or searching student (or their possessions) upon entering school grounds.

The words Columbine were used once in the CD as was the word "principals".

The police chief claimed the lyric threatened his life. The "threatening lyrics went like this, "Chief Febel tried to catch me, but he's too fat. He's got a donut hole for a trigger, how about that".

For four days, the local police chief did not try to locate Kevin through his e-mail address, nor did they go and knock on Kevin's grandmother's apartment (located directly across from the High School) where he was seen after he placed the cd's on the windshields.

After four days of intense media coverage throughout the state of Ohio and into Pennsylvania, the local police finally called in the Ashtabula County Sheriff's department because the community was becoming extremely upset with how the school superintendent and the local police chief had been handling the case.

The Sheriff's department almost immediately located Kevin through his e-mail address. The Sheriff's Department would later tell people that they had a lot of sympathy for Kevin because they knew that he was just trying to promote his music, that the local police chief botched this from the very beginning and that this should never have happened, and that if he had intended this as a threat, he would not have included his e-mail address on each cd.

However, the sheriff's also noted that the police were concerned that during a community meeting with 300 screaming parents (upset at the local police), that some parents were so out of control, that they were worried that some might try to file a lawsuit against the police for potentially endangering the students lives because they did not notify the parents (thus giving them the choice to leave their student home from school). In this meeting, the local police Chief stated several times that he let the students come back to school (including his own daughter) because he believed there was NO threat and that they were safe. Yet the next day they arraigned Kevin on 2 felony counts.

Sources: News Herald (Northeast Ohio), Hip Hop Corner NetNews 5 (Ohio), WJET, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Exhibit 5a
"All I gotta say is that it's just great, GREAT that we're depicted as obsessive compulsive computer geeks who would rather blog than do anything. Lemme tell you something, there are lots of things I'd rather be doing else. Like, sex for example. Much more fun than blogging.
Shut up, I have so DONE IT before.
You don't know her.
She lives in Canada."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 6:49 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 31 May 2004 1:40 AM BST
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Monday, 31 May 2004 - 11:22 PM BST

Name: JonnyB

Hah! Just noticed the title link of this post. It's a great site, isn't it? A lovely bit of perception about a nauseating issue all round.

Tuesday, 1 June 2004 - 4:35 AM BST

Name: Vanessa

I think it might possible have been my favourite site for the past year or so, now.
Ive never seen a sensible comeback when you cite it, either.

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