Oct 3, 2017

Editorial: How Gun Violence Corrupted the Church of Music

by Robert Dean

And here we are again. We can’t keep up with the news cycle, and our social media feeds are melting with comment wars and a whole lot of folks arguing about what it means to be an American. A lot of people are dead, and a lot more are wounded. A bullet now marks hundreds of people’s lives and yet we’ve been here before. We watch the news, we stare at our phones and we hold our breath as the stream of information flows inward, giving us the gruesome details, once again.

This is the new American Way. We turn on the talking heads, and just as the crow flies, someone is continually getting murdered by way of the gun. Every day, there are bodies stacking in Chicago or New Orleans. Every day, a child gets their hands on a pistol not secured properly, and every day, someone gets shot for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

The Twitter junkies and Facebook Keyboard Warriors will argue about that person’s right to that gun, about the second amendment. The body on the other end of that conversation will throw their hands in the air in disgust. The cycle is endless and ugly. And don’t believe for a second that your government will do a thing about it. The NRA owns the United States government, and more dead bodies mean more profits: consumerism is the child of fear. We learned that the hard way after Sandy Hook. These buffoons in ugly suits don’t care about you, they care about votes, they care about kickbacks, and they care about power. What makes you think for a second that they’ll put forth any kind of meaningful legislation when they can’t squash that pesky Obamacare they had eight years to solve?

I know people who should not have guns. When these people fly off the deep and turn an AutoZone into WarZone, I won’t flinch. We all know someone who has a gun that shouldn’t. The national conversation will devolve into “something, something mental health, yadda yadda” and they won’t pass a damn thing. It’ll get filed away with taxes, pork, or whatever convenient box once we shift focus to the next drama. Those crazies in our lives, they’ll still have those automatic rifles under their beds. Don’t worry.

I’m progressive liberal. I’m also from the south side of Chicago. I have lived in the south for the last decade. I have southern family and am married to a southern woman. I have shot automatic rifles. I have shot plenty of guns over the years, and I understand their appeal. But, what I don’t understand is the unwillingness to flinch when it comes to rights and freedom and all of that flag waving stuff that equates to nothing but more death.

But, despite the acumen of location or whatever, there’s one community that’s mine: the community of music. I go to as many shows as I can every year. I love live music. I love being able to say, “I saw that band back when.” That’s my passion. But, when my church, the church of glorious noise - a venue - is corrupted, that hits home. I have stood in countless crowds, both big and small.

I’ve been in rooms that broke every fire hazard code known to man, and I have stood in endless seas of bodies, waiting for our heroes to take the stage. To think that a show, the one place I truly feel connected with a world is compromised, makes me feel sick.

This world is gross, dirty and ugly. It’s got scars, and it has many issues. But, one thing that’s intrinsically yours is your music. And now, people are dead because they wanted that freedom and that moment to throw their hands in the air and shout along to their favorite anthems. Just like the Pulse nightclub last year, we’ve been compromised. People are victim to their passion of life: losing themselves in the beat of their favorite songs.

We lost Dimebag Darrell to gun violence, and there are a few folks in France who know unexpected suffering while attending an Eagles of Death Metal show, too. Same goes for the city of Manchester, England. But, those countries don’t have gun laws like we do. They have “isolated attacks” and we have “incidents at large”. They deal with larger scale terrorism coming from all sides, and we grow our psychos in our own backyards.

We never feel more connected and alive then when we share the experience of music with one another. We holler in the bar, or we beat our steering wheel like a bass drum in the car. We’ve now tainted that with liability to passion. We’ve poisoned the well of common sense with propaganda, that your rights dictate the will of the people around you. Congrats. You are no more free and you never will be.

We keep letting bad things happen because we can’t look ourselves in the mirror and say it’s time to stop this. Our egos are too big. We think everything is about us. And now, we cannot even hear our favorite songs. We’ve let those be taken away, too.

Those people didn’t deserve this. They deserved music and joy. 

I’ll be looking over my shoulder, as is my new habit when it’s my turn to sing along.


  1. The NRA owns the United States government,

    Here's where I stopped reading. That comment is intellectually lazy and beneath you. It also bears no resemblance to the truth.

    Like it or not, many people believe that The Bill of Rights means what it says. They vote that way. They contribute to groups who support like-minded candidates. The NRA isn't about selling guns. It's about keeping people who support the entire Bill of Rights in the U.S. Congress, and kicking out people who support some parts of it but not others.

    You're a "progressive liberal?" Then support intellectually honest candidates.

    The Second Amendment is settled law (see Heller v. District of Columbia.)

    Man up. Support candidates -- heck, say it out loud yourself -- who want to repeal the Second Amendment. Make that a plank in your party's platform. See how far it gets you. But saying "the NRA owns the United States government" is an appeal to raw emotion, to an audience that ignores the rule of law.

    Your native city has the strictest gun control laws in the country. How's that working out for you?

    Oh, and tell me what law would have prevented this horrific massacre. Bonus: Maybe we should pass a law against murder.

  2. That's a pretty accurate statement though. The NRA spends more than $3 million per year on lobbying. Few organizations match that. In fact it's impossible to talk about the way money has ruined our political system without considering the NRA one of the absolute worst offenders.

    And I say that as a lifelong conservative.

  3. But it's not.

    The NRA spends more than that on lobbying. And it spends more than that on independent expenditures for candidates with like minded views.

    Which doesn't come close to what labor unions (through forced, extorted dues) and trial lawyers supporting candidates on the author's socialist side of the aisle do.

    What I've just said are objective facts. If the author of this post would like to engage in an objective discussion of these matters, I stand ready to engage.

    But the lLeft depends on appeals to raw emotion, and counts on an audience willing to disregard facts, evidence and law.

    By the way...who's with me in wanting common-sense legislation that forbids murder? Wouldn't that change something? Like, in Chicago, for example.

  4. The author lost me at "they’ll still have those automatic rifles under their bed" because it's an absolutely false and misleading statement. Anyone who knows anything about guns and gun laws knows the public doesn't have automatic weapons.

    1. Yes they do. Depending on state you can have automatic weapons, or bump fire stocks. Completely legal as long as they're registered. A civilian can own a 76mm anti aircraft canon in the US as long as it and the ammunition are registered as Destructive Devices.

  5. NRA isn't even in the top 50.




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