I read in the New York Times today about Antwain Steward from Newport News, Virginia. Mr. Steward was arrested for an unsolved double murder, based on little more than rap lyrics from a video he performed on YouTube which went, “But nobody saw when I smoked him. Roped him, sharpened up the shank, then I poked him, 357 Smith & Wesson beam scoped him.”
Are these in-your-face music lyrics or a confession? Is Antwain Steward an artist portraying fictional violence or a swaggering killer? How do we know the difference?
It’s a slippery slope when the police take creative writing and characterize it as a confession. We often go places in our imagination that we wouldn’t in real life. We should continue to be able to.
Nabakov wrote the novel Lolita in the first person about a man seducing a teenage girl. Dostoyevsky wrote the classic Crime and Punishment in which the author inhabits the psyche of a killer. Quentin Tarantino makes films that are as graphic and prolific in their violence as Mr. Steward’s YouTube video.
I don’t know whether or not Antwain Steward killed Christopher Horton and Brian Dean. But the government should be required to come forward with hard evidence. Not Mr. Steward’s glorification of the offense.