After the massacre at the music festival in Las Vegas in October of 2017, I wrote my second song about gun violence. (The first was “Wash Over Me”, written after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando). “Prayers & Platitudes” was a song I wish I didn’t have to write, but felt compelled to do so.
I made a rough audio recording and a rough lyric video and posted it to YouTube after I wrote it. The song was one of 10 that I recorded for my upcoming album, and one of my favorites on the new album, despite being probably the darkest song on there. It’s dark for a reason. It’s dark because no one should go to a garlic festival or a Walmart or a community college or a bar or a church or a music festival or a school or an office, and not come home due to gun violence. And it’s dark because our politicians lack the spine to stand up and do something about this.
The NRA and gun rights activists like to use scare tactics like saying that those of us advocating for strong gun law want to take away all guns. That simply is not true of the vast majority of people I know who do support stronger gun laws. I am not opposed to people owning a hand gun for personal protection, or a rifle for hunting. I am opposed to the ownership of military style weapons and ammunition, and the stockpiling of large quantities of ammunition or weapons. Even in the face of our potentially fascist government, I still believe that the average citizen does not need what is essentially a weapon of mass destruction so that they can go down to their Walmart on a Saturday afternoon and slaughter innocent people. We are not safer for the presence of these weapons. We are not more free. We are instead chained to the stark reality of homegrown terrorism and fear. Is this the America we really deserve?
This past Wednesday I came up with an idea for a new lyric video to go with the official recording of “Prayers & Platitudes”. I wanted something with images that conveyed meaning but that were not overly graphic. I created a rough cut on Thursday, and finished it on Friday, and published it on YouTube on Friday evening. And today, after a lovely afternoon enjoying time with family and friends in our local community, I see that yet another community has been assaulted by yet another terrorist with a gun. I am looking forward to the day when people can look back at my song and say, “I’m so glad we don’t live like that anymore.”