With the news that half of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana – a number that as many have pointed out is significantly higher than the approval rating of any of our current leaders – isn't it finally time to end the War on Drugs and turn to more pressing matters, like wiping out the scourge of karaoke?
Earlier this month, a 42-year-old New York man was convicted of second-degree assault in the latest case of karaoke-fueled violence. Witnesses said that the man complained about the victim's singing and then attacked him, punching him several times and sending him (or at least his head, although that image is much less comical) through a plate-glass window. The puncher faces up to seven years in prison because of a law that raises the offense level if the victim is 65 or older. (This one was 79.)
I haven't been able to determine what song the victim was attempting to sing. Evidently no one else considers this important, although as we have seen before, certain songs appear to greatly increase the risk of violence (and perhaps should be labeled appropriately?). In the Philippines, for example, the "'My Way' Killings" have claimed at least six lives over the past decade, and "Take Me Home, Country Roads" was reportedly responsible for a multiple homicide in Thailand.
The New York attack is the worst karaoke-related violence (to my knowledge) in this country since 2007, when a 21-year-old Seattle woman assaulted a man who was reportedly butchering "Yellow" by Coldplay. Frankly, Coldplay should probably come with a warning label to start with but in this case it did seem to be an alleged lack of karaoke skill that triggered the onslaught. In that case, the victim was not as seriously injured but the woman assaulted several other people as well and then head-butted the first officer on the scene. The Smoking Gun has two other reports: a six-on-one all-female assault and a Wisconsin heavy-metal case.
Surely there are many other such tales, but just those I've mentioned here show that the casualty rate from karaoke is far higher, maybe infinitely higher, than the harm caused by marijuana. I don't have statistics to prove this, but I did just run a search for "marijuana-fueled rage" and basically found two claimed examples: one involved a suspect who had bipolar disorder, and the other one was part of the prosecution theory in the Amanda Knox case. To me that qualifies as "no evidence."
Clearly, it's time to make pot legal, and declare War on Karaoke.