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The band he sang for, Menstrual Munchies, is now trying to distance itself from him. One of the bandmates, Jesse Creekbaum, has deleted recordings of the band’s music on several websites, saying he doesn’t want the shooter nor his music to be romanticized. He has also reached out to local police and spoken with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
“I feel shitty having let him being in the band, doing those lyrics,” Creekbaum told Vice News. “Because I know, like, whereas I saw it as a joke—like, ‘Let’s play this and we’ll shock some people,’ and then the people that we know laugh—he didn’t see it as a joke. He was like, ‘Fuck, yeah. We’re gonna do this.’”
The band was part of the goregrind and pornogrind hardcore movement in the Midwest. Bands in the scene typically play music with aggressive, violent, and misogynistic lyrics. Pornogrind is an offshoot of goregrind. This type of music is sexually explicit and often depicts acts of violence against women.
Menstrual Munchies had an album titled, “6 ways of Female Butchery,” in which slaughtered women served as its cover art. At least two of the band’s albums also graphically talk about and portray the rapes of girls and women.
In high school, Betts allegedly kept a “rape list,” filled with women he wanted to rape. Some of those women had previously turned him down, according to Vox.
Several musicians from the music scene told Vice News that they feel the music isn’t to blame for the shooter’s actions. Ryan Ward, a musician from a band that has played alongside Menstrual Munchies in the past, said other goregrind and pornogrind musicians don’t take the lyrics or images seriously.
“I feel it’s our responsibility to make it a point to let people know that, no, this is not what we actually stand for,” Ward told Vice News. “Our songs aren’t prophecies, you know, like, they’re not fucking, ominous fucking messages that are supposed to come true. They’re just songs.”
The shooter killed nine people, including his sister, and injured at least 26 more. The police killed Betts in less than a minute from when the shooting began.
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Sierra Juarez is a freelance journalist and fact-checker based in Mexico. She most enjoys writing about human rights and politics and working in audience engagement. Her work has appeared in the Texas Tribune, the Austin American–Statesman, and the San Antonio Current.