BUFFALO, N.Y.-- It started with a sign posted at the corner of Delaware and Summer in Buffalo. It reads:
Did you know our kids are being educated to commit homicide?
Beneath combined with pictures of headphones, a game controller and a handgun was this equation:
Homicidal Music + Homicidal Video Games = Homicide
The signs were the idea of Dr. Frederick Gelsey of the One In Christ Church on Broadway.
“We got to get to the root of the problem to stop it," says Gelsey.
The problem is violence and murder in Buffalo. Gelsey says the root of that problem are young people inundated with what he calls homicidal music and video games.
Gelsey says young people are “being educated to commit homicides unknowingly.”
As examples, Gelsey says the lyrics of musical artists like Lil Jay and Baby CEO glamorize violence.
A portion of a Baby CEO recording goes: “’50 shots, 30 shots, hit you with that f-ing Glock. I bet I make your heart stop.”
That, and first-person shooter games like Halo and Call of Duty make killing seem normal, says Gelsey.
He is not the first to charge modern entertainers with threatening societal values.
In the 80’s, Tipper Gore famously led an effort to stop selling minors music with profane or sexually suggestive lyrics.
Even though today’s entertainment targeting young people may make older Americans uncomfortable, attorney Pal Cambria reminds that it is all protected under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
"The real answer is more speech. If you think certain speech is bad, then you should try to counteract it with good speech. That’s really the way to do it,” Cambria said.
Gelsey is doing just that. He hands out literature and holds seminars to kids and their parents where ever he can.
For five years, Gelsey’s been doing this. He started after his son was murdered.
Three days after Christmas, Frederick Gelsey, Jr. was shot and killed. At the time of his death, the younger Gelsey was just 30 years old.
Asked if his son’s death is the reason he talks so much about today’s music and culture, Dr. Gelsey replies, “Probably a lot. Probably a lot.”
The older Gelsey presses on. He’d like to share his thoughts at more Buffalo schools, “Public schools, private schools, charter school. Anywhere I can.”