Metal’s not on trial in Lambesis hitman case

This week, metal fans were shocked to learn that As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis was arrested for allegedly trying to hire someone to kill his wife, Meggan. The couple was in the process of getting a divorce — and apparently, Meggan raised questions in the divorce papers about Tim’s recent behavior, which she worried was putting their three adopted children in danger.

According to police, Tim was arrested last week after soliciting a man to kill Meggan — and that man turned out to be an undercover detective.

At this point, very little has been revealed, and that’s normal, considering that this is an active criminal prosecution. If the case goes to trial, much more will be revealed at that time. But the shroud of protection that surrounds the prosecution of criminal cases leaves much to the imagination — and people love to speculate when they don’t know the details.

But it’s important to remember a few things: Tim is innocent until proven guilty. Just because the police and attorneys (especially attorneys!) say something doesn’t make it true. And metal had nothing to do with this.

The FBI doesn’t keep statistics on how many people hire (or attempt to hire) hitmen each year. It’s not none, but it’s probably not many. The people who do the hiring come from all walks of life. Heavy metal happens to be one of them — but when was the last time you remember a metal musician hiring someone to commit murder?

(It would be easy to joke that “real metal musicians do the deed themselves,” but that’s exceedingly rare, too. And, again, unrelated to metal.)

Crimes of all stripes have everything to do with the person who commits them, and the circumstances they’re in, but loving or even performing a kind of music isn’t a “circumstance,” per se. Divorce is a circumstance. Mood issues create circumstance. Losing custody of one’s kids is definitely a circumstance. But metal? Not so much.

There have been attempts to compare Tim Lambesis’ situation to that of Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe, who was accused of contributing to the death of a Czech fan who jumped onstage during a concert, and who was acquitted after a trial earlier this year. But that was a totally different scenario — an unfortunate accident that could have happened at any public concert where people stage-dive. Did metal have something to do with it? Kind of. In the same way that skateboarding, sky-diving, or boat racing is risky, so is stage diving. Enter at your own risk.

Fans and critics of metal must be patient, and wait to see what the evidence reveals — or doesn’t — about Tim Lambesis’ circumstances. Until then, let’s leave metal out of it.

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