“The trumpet is a messenger or troubadour. It’s a call and response. It’s an alarm. It brings us together.” ~ Steve Heitzeg
“Nobel Symphony” excerpt #3 – Steve Heitzeg Performed by Philip Brunelle and the VocalEssence Chorus with the Minnesota Boychoir and Gustavus Adolphus College Symphony Orchestra. Charles Lazarus, solo trumpet.
As rappers go, Brandon Duncan’s approach is not unusual: his lyrics reflect the violent reality of the streets. But in the pantheon of rappers who have had run-ins with the courts, Tiny Doo looms large. Despite his lack of a criminal record, Duncan stands accused of nine counts of participating in a “criminal street gang conspiracy”, charges that could land him in prison for life.
But Duncan is not charged with participating in any of the crimes underlying the conspiracy, or even agreeing to them. Rather, he’s effectively on trial for making a rap album…
Putting a musician on trial for his lyrics is antithetical to Americans’ free speech rights, and quite possibly unconstitutional. What’s more, the “criminal street gang conspiracy” law that Duncan is charged with violating – part of an anti-gang initiative package passed by California voters in 2000 – stands in marked contrast to conspiracy as California has traditionally defined it.
Ordinarily, to be guilty of conspiracy in California an individual must agree with another person to commit a crime, then at least one of them must take action to further that conspiracy. The charge Duncan faces requires no such agreement: so long as prosecutors can show that Duncan is an active member of the gang and knows about its general criminal activity, past or present, he can be convicted for benefiting from its acts…
2014 Wildlife photographer of the Year overall and black and white category winner: The last great picture by Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols (USA) showing five female lions at rest with their cubs in Tanzania’s Serengeti national park. Photograph: Michael Nichols/2014 WPY