A Study of Gothic Subculture

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Updated 3-12-2009
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Deseret News
April 16, 1997

'Goths' a Growing Problem

Recently in the news there has been a concern involving the "Gothic" subculture, specifically due to the death of a teen who was involved with the group [Dietz was not gothic.] I believe this sad event is only the beginning of a growing problem. [Gothic has been around for over 20 years. Its origin is usually placed in 1979.] I am concerned at some of the information presented in the articles that I have read. There have been statements from some "Goths" that these kids are simply rebellious and are going through a phase and not into Satanic worship, self-mutilation, rituals and some of the other things Goths have been accused of. As someone who has started to research this subject, I must disagree. [Is someone who has "started to research this subject" going to be more informed than those who are gothic?] I have looked at articles from papers across the United States about kids involved in this culture. A recent case was in Florida where some teens killed their parents and then drank their blood. [The "Vampire Clan" murders is what she is referring to. There aren't any newspaper articles about the day-to-day life of your average Gothic. The media likes to report things that are bizarre. It is the worst extreme segment of the gothic population that makes the news, not the average.] Valley Junior High recently saw this topic as such a concern that officials there had a police officer come and speak to parents. [Randy Johnson spoke because the West Valley Police Department asked him to. They were overwhelmed by the frantic questions parents were asking about Goths and Satanism. To read my interview with Captain Johnson, go here.] The Gothic movement itself is a very dark, self-destructive course, designed to tear down personal and family morals. [It was not designed, it began as a splinter from the punk music movement.] It glorifies everything that is dark and degrades everything that is good.

Unfortunately, for the parents involved with teens of this cult, there don't seem to be any answers or help available. [A cult is a term for a religion in its formative stages. Cults are identified by their small membership and relatively new doctrine. Sects are larger and more established. The next larger and more established stage is a world religion. A group of people one does not agree with does not make a cult.] Please don't dismiss this as just a harmless phase. My husband and I have watched over the past year as our two beautiful, intelligent children have succumbed to this lifestyle. We have watched them lose interest in school and become involved in alcohol and drugs. We have found remnants of satanic rituals done in their rooms. [Candles and incense? There are many things common in gothic culture that can be misinterpreted at Satanic.] We have seen them take razor blades and carve symbols all over their bodies. We have watched them turn away from their family and friends who love them, to embrace everything that is dark and evil. Please don't tell me this is just a "phase." [She certainly has a personal emotional involvement in the issue. However, the things that her children do are not uncommon in any random teenage group - i.e. drinking, withdrawing from family, cutting themselves. They have problems that involve more than the peer group they belong to now. Also, a year is a relatively short time to decide that it is not a phase for them.] Please don't tell me there is no danger. I will most emphatically have to disagree. We need to start addressing this problem right now.

Nancy Rector, West Valley City UT [Nancy Rector has been a leading anti-goth figure in Salt Lake, she also tried to get Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson CDs removed from the public library in September or 1997. Don't forget to read that article: Library Opts Not to Pull 'Pornographic' CDs.]