Archive for October, 2017

It makes me sad and angry to see so many dear friends posting ‘Me too’ right now. Not because you’re posting it, of course, but because you’ve been given reason to.

And I know there are still more of you who have been given just as much reason but are choosing not to speak out for a variety of reasons; that choice is yours, of course, and it does not in any way diminish what you have endured.

And you know… it damn well should make me sad and angry. It should make us all sad and angry.

Please, keep speaking out. Don’t let anyone silence your voices. Hold up a mirror to the ugliness that is still out there in the world.

And may we raise the next generation to do better.

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Last night broke my heart on several levels.

Mostly, of course, because it was the deadliest mass shooting in the history of a country where even though mass shootings have become commonplace, we still like to pretend that we as a nation are decent people who care. You know, not quite enough to actually enact meaningful gun control legislation, or vote in people who will, but we care, really we do. Pinky swear.

Also, because I’m a musician. Whether it’s a multi-platinum-selling recording artist like Jason Aldean who is up on that stage, or someone like me who is just trying to connect to people through music, we do it out of love. Love for the art itself, love for the people it touches, love for the moments when people sing together and set aside the worries of their regular daily life. An act like this profanes that love. It is not merely an attack on musicians or music fans, but on music itself. And yeah, I take that pretty personally.

No doubt in the coming days, someone will find a way to blame anything but the gun. They’ll blame the venue for being open-air, despite the fact that people have been coming together to sing in open fields for centuries before the gun was ever invented. They’ll blame mental illness, despite the fact that we don’t do anywhere close to enough to help people through mental illness *or* to prevent them from getting guns. They’ll probably find a way to blame Jason Aldean, even though he really hasn’t done or said anything to provoke this kind of act. No. The hell with any that. This guy, despite living in Las Vegas already, booked himself a 32nd-floor room with a view of the show, and set himself up in there with more heavy artillery than any single human being needs, and an intent to use it. Let me illuminate something for you: The usual slippery NRA claptrap does not apply here. People 32 floors up and across the street don’t kill 50 people and injure 500 more, guns do. He couldn’t have done that with a knife.

Lastly…. this one hit especially close to home, because if that show had been in Tampa rather than Las Vegas, I would almost certainly have been in that crowd last night. I might even have had my nine-year-old with me. And let me tell you this. If something had happened to him, all the thoughts and prayers in the world would not bring him back or bring me peace. Especially from people in elected office who actually have both the power and the responsibility to do something about this. If you can’t act to help, then by all means offer thoughts and prayers; it may be small comfort, but it’s something. If you can act, but don’t…. then keep your thoughts and prayers, and I welcome you to choke on them.

We can’t keep looking at events like this, shaking our heads, saying ‘never again’ and then going right back to whatever we were already doing. We need better mental health care in this country. Now. Today. We need meaningful gun control legislation – not a ban, but something which can actually keep everybody safer. Now. Today. We need to do something about a culture in which we are so inured to tragedy and injustice that anyone can shrug off an event like this. Now. Today.

We need to get out there and demand this. Say it with our voices and with our votes. Say it with our arts and with our actions. Say it with our time and money and effort as we all work to make a difference. Say it with our very blood, in the form of donations to the Red Cross.

On behalf of music fans, musicians and decent human beings everywhere… say it. Please.

In the meantime, I’m very much of a mind to grab my guitar, get out there, and play some country music of the fuck-you-est kind. Now. Today.

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