Metal Fan Arrested for Posting Lyrics to Facebook
Before you go sharing lyrics from your favorite bands via social media, you might want to stop and think about how they might be misinterpreted.
That's the somewhat troubling lesson learned by James Evans, a 31-year-old Indiana man who was accused of "terroristic threatening" after posting lyrics from the Exodus song 'Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)' to his Facebook wall -- and ended up spending eight days in jail.
In fairness, it isn't hard to understand why people might be alarmed after reading the excerpt in question, which includes the lines "Student bodies lying dead in the halls, a blood splattered treatise of hate / Class dismissed is my hypothesis, gunfire ends the debate." On the other hand, as Adams' sister told reporters, "Whenever we found out that he actually got arrested for lyrics, we were all shocked. We couldn't believe that you could do that or get in trouble for that. I don't personally agree with the band or the music but I agree that you should have the choice to listen to it if you want to."
"It's nonsense," Evans added. "I feel like my civil rights have been violated. You know, First Amendment, freedom of speech -- out the window. Even all the guys I was in the cell with, they thought it was nonsense themselves. I had several officials tell me it was nonsense, that there was no reason why I should have even been [there]."
Exodus have risen to Evans' defense with a public statement issued by guitarist Gary Holt. "The idea that an individual in this great country of ours could be arrested for simply posting lyrics to a song is something I never believed could happen in a free society," he wrote. "James Evans was simply posting lyrics to a band he likes on Facebook, and he was locked up for it. The song ‘Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)’ was written as a view through the eyes of a madman and in no way endorses that kind of f---ed up behavior. It was the Virginia Tech massacre perpetrated by Seung-Hui Cho that was the subject and inspiration to write the song, one in which we put the brakes on playing it live after the Sandy Hook shooting, as we did not want to seem insensitive.”
Concluded Holt, "As some of us in Exodus are parents, of course these things hit close to home, it's every parent's worst fear. These moments are the stuff of nightmares, and life, as well as music, isn't always pretty. But when we start to overreact to things like lyrics by any band, including Exodus, and start arresting people, we are caving in to paranoia and are well on our way to becoming an Orwellian society."
Evans, who was released from jail Sept. 3, is due in court for a preliminary hearing next week.