The unimaginable horror committed by the 13-year-old and 11-year-old boys who gunned down a schoolteacher and four students in Jonesboro, Ark., reflects the suppressed nightmares of torment-ridden parents, shouldering the responsibility of raising what society has dubbed a ``difficult child.''
In the weeks following the Jonesboro incident, statements were issued on behalf of the young assailants, blaming the atrocity on the experience-backed lyrics of the late Tupac Shakur, gangsta rap's most celebrated son.
Tupac Shakur was the product of institutionalized poverty - gun in hand, fearlessly facing America while spitting a riotous resentment. He wouldn't allow himself to be trampled by the footsteps of systematic oppression. His means of survival was ``Thug Life.'' His guiding principle: ``Be the first to blast.'' Subsequently, he is now seen as a guiding light through the weary eyes of many who are wandering aimlessly in the dense fog of poverty.
We should not be surprised that impressionable youths lose focus of physical reality to the gang-related solution the world of gangsta rap suggests. But we must be alarmingly concerned that gangsta rap has crossed over to include the fatuously perceived problems of family values, demanding parents, attentive teachers and peer pressure.
I've felt Tupac's pain through his poetry. I wept in solitude over his passing. But I'm unwilling to overlook the death and destruction this heavily armed vocabulary has suggested.
Gangsta rap has instituted a deadly, genocidal, street-level religion that is pushing this generation forward and two steps behind - further in harm's way.
That angry, gun-toting, gang-banging lost soul currently handcuffed to our television screen may soon turn out to be another case of assumed-guilty identity. The real killer could very easily be your own 13-year-old, acting on orders from gangsta rap.
Anthony D. Johnson is a writer, poet and letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service.