I recently read an article on MetalSucks.com about a kid who got the meniscus in his knee dislocated and torn by a crowd killer at a Chelsea Grin concert (http://www.metalsucks.net/2017/11/02/reader-mailbag-a-victim-of-crowd-killing-physical-abuse-speaks-up/). I’ve been hearing about problems with crowd killing more and more over the past 2 to 3 years, and the reason it’s on the rise is probably due to many social factors that I won’t get into here.
Anyway, this is not cool. We all talk about how the scene is a place where everyone is accepted and welcome to enjoy the band, the music, and the environment they all love. Why would someone want to come out to a place where they're going get intentionally hurt without consent? Intention and consent are key words here. It's known that things get crazy and rough at metal and hardcore shows, and you can get hurt just by being there. And of course, there is moshing and hardcore dancing, and those who take part in moshing and hardcore dancing know there’s a chance that they will get hurt by accident or just by running into that big mother fucker circling the pit.
So, metal and hardcore shows, moshing and hardcore dancing are places and activities where people do get hurt unintentionally. But, as we know, crowd killing is physically hitting people or someone on the edge of the pit repeatedly, intentionally. Like, you know you’re contacting a body, you can’t say you don’t know, and you don’t have the consideration to apologize or stop? No, you like hurting people and you choose to do it in a place where accidents happen so it can be labeled as an “accident” or a thing that just happens.
Like I keep saying, the crowd isn't consenting to be injured. According to legal-dictionary.com, the "essential elements of assault consist of an act intended to cause an apprehension of harmful or offensive contact that causes apprehension of such contact in the victim." So, because of intention, crowd killing really can be labeled as physical assault. This, obviously, breeds bad vibes at shows, and it's ultimately detrimental to the scene. Who really wants to go to a show if they feel like they're going to be intentionally assaulted? I don't. If you do like being physically assaulted, or if you like being on the receiving end of crowd killing, more power to you.
But I don't think that's the majority case, I think crowd killers like doing the assaulting.
I feel that the onus is on bands to call out and stop crowd killing. I feel like if I was in a band that had some pull and influence, I’d want to stop my set and/or kick crowd killers out of the venue.The question is, how do we differentiate between the moshers/hardcore dancers and the crowd killers? I don't really have an answer for that, apart from a band witnessing it during a set, or polling the crowd mid-set to make sure everyone's having a good time and asking if there are crowd killers. Neither of those solutions are very practical though, so I'd love to hear your thoughts.
After differentiating, how we can penalize the crowd killers for physical assault? The venue doesn’t care, they have other shows and this is just a payday, but bands can do something. Kicking out crowd killers might work, but it runs the risk of just pissing them off and creating more division in what's becoming an increasingly divided scene. However, if a popular band threatened to stop or stopped their set because of crowd killing, that probably would work well because although everybody loses out if the band stops playing, it will be the crowd killer's fault that NO ONE gets to see the band they enjoy. They will have the choice of either acting right, or owning the blame and consequences of their actions.
If you're in an unknown band than I understand that stopping your set probably wouldn't do much because not many people came out to see you in the first place. But if you're in a band that does have clout, that does have fans and pull, it's time to step up. It’s not enough just to call concerts and shows a safe place. Do something to make it safe.