This We Believe

Separated by Differences, United by Beliefs

Angry, Violent… Or Misunderstood? Uncovering Who They Really Are

on February 24, 2014

It was my first metal concert. Hundreds of music fans filled the space around me, the distortion of the guitars hit my ears with never ending intensity, and I could feel every hit of the drums and bass pounding in my chest. This was it, I was finally going to see my favorite band and have an experience that I would never forget, but not for the reason I was expecting or could have ever prepared for.

Everyone had started moving around violently and pushing each other back and forth. It was like the doors had just been let open for Black Friday shoppers. I tried removing myself from the area but it was too late. I knew in my head what was going to happen next; the mob mentality was going to be the end of me. I lost my balance and went down. I was sure that I was done for. I was going to be trampled and seriously injured.

But to my surprise, I was on the ground for a maximum of two seconds. Everyone around me who was going crazy only two seconds before stopped abruptly to help me up. They all made sure I was okay before getting back to the concert. I was unharmed and able to move to a safer area quickly after.

I believe that the cover does not make the book. What I learned that day was and continues to be an important lesson that I apply to my everyday life. Never underestimate the good in others.

I thought the average metal music fan was angry and violent. But when I got to know the metal culture I quickly learned that it doesn’t support violence; rather, it speaks against it. The messages encourage making a difference, standing up for what you believe in, and ending violence. These messages were reflected in those people who helped me that day, and it is something I never would have before matched with their identity. Through their actions they were able to open my eyes and as a result, I got to know more metal fans. Now looking back, some of the best friendships I have made have been through a common interest in metal. I joined a community where everyone can display who they are and feel accepted.

Even today I continue to play that experience in my head over and over again, and the more I do, the more I am able to see the good in others.

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2 responses to “Angry, Violent… Or Misunderstood? Uncovering Who They Really Are

  1. carlymcc says:

    I was really looking forward to reading your essay, and I was not disappointed. I was surprised by your experience, because I have been a victim of “mash pits” and have been unable to get out of them, especially without being molested. No matter what group is being referred to, your overall message shines through: don’t judge a book by it’s cover. And those are words I’ll try to live by! Thanks for letting those of us who aren’t involved in the “metal” culture understand it isn’t all angry and violent, because that, too, was my understanding of it. It’s good to be wrong!

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