Rapper Pop Smoke was murdered in a Los Angeles rental home on July 9, 2020. He was 20 years old. Social media posts accidently revealed the home address and allowed another group of teen boys to track him with the intent of stealing his luxury jewelry. When a fight erupted during the robbery, gunshots broke out and Pop Smoke passed away from a bullet fired into in his chest. Corey Walker, the boy who murdered Pop Smoke, was just 15 years old. How can children be responsible for such horrific crimes?
Our society places such a heavy emphasis on economic wealth. Money is a primary symbol of success and dominance, especially among those in the public eye. Therefore, fame and money are directly associated. Rappers portray a glamorous lifestyle by purchasing luxury cars, jewelry, and clothes. While many rappers are criminals or gang members, they can still maintain an extravagant lifestyle due in part to their platform and resources. However, this juxtaposition of violence and luxury is extremely misleading for adolescents who idolize these rappers and crave similar habits.
Wealth significantly divides our communities, and unfortunately, conflict from this is trickling down through younger generations. Teens see how violence can be a reliable way to “earn” money. Whether they believe it is wrong or not, the desire for fortune and brand name material possessions occasionally overpowers their moral compass. Are some children really so money-hungry that they are willing to commit murder? Or is society desensitizing children to extreme violence to the point that delinquent behavior is normalized?