Val/ November 8, 2019/ updates

A year ago today, I came downstairs and greeted my husband like on any other morning. The first thing he said was “You’re not going to like the news from Thousand Oaks today”. (It’s the town in California where I grew up, and my parents were still living there.) The first thought I had was that there had been yet another huge wildfire. Ironically, that would be the case by that afternoon, but that morning, the news was about the shooting massacre at the Borderline Bar & Grill, a country music bar that I had spent time at in my early 20s. 12 people lost their lives at Borderline, and their stories can be read about here at the Ventura County Star.

“Prayers & Platitudes” was inspired about a different mass shooting… the one at the country music festival in Las Vegas in 2017. (In yet another horrible irony, one of the survivors of that massacre was murdered at Borderline.) And there of course were many mass shootings before the Las Vegas one, and since.

I’m not sure exactly how to end this epidemic of violence, but I’m sure there are some things we can do that would help. For one thing, just having more research – government-funded and otherwise – into gun violence would be an excellent start. Another thing would be to limit access to military style weapons of mass carnage. There is ample evidence of the damage caused by the bullets from these types of weapons, and there is no reasonable need for the average citizen to own them. I also think that having gun licensing and insurance would helpful, as well as more laws about background checks, and limits on who can own weapons if they have a history of violent behavior. I know that some people view any sort of laws about guns as infringement of the Second Amendment, but I would argue that our right to live is more important than someone’s right to own a weapon that can indiscriminately destroy life.

Out of all of the shootings over the past several years, the one that affected me the most was the one at Sandy Hook Elementary. The thought of those 27 children and adults dying in that horrific manner haunts me to this day. My son was in kindergarten at the time, just a year younger than the children who were murdered. Not a day has gone by since then that I don’t think about it when sending my son off to school in the morning. The fear, sadness and anger about even having to think about that is a major part of the inspiration for “Prayers & Platitudes”.

My heart goes out to all of those who lost loved ones, and those who have been injured at the hands of people with guns.

If you’d like to to contact your elected representatives to encourage them to back stronger legislation regarding guns, I can send you some postcards with the lyrics of “Prayers & Platitudes” to mail to them. Please drop me an email if you are interested, and I’ll send some to you.

Here’s the lyric video I made for “Prayers & Platitudes”.

don’t try to tell me that we are free don’t try to tell me this is how it’s gotta be don’t try to tell me that you are shocked and don’t try to say that it’s too soon to talk, ‘cus I don’t wanna cry anymore don’t wanna worry ’bout who’s gonna walk through that door I don’t wanna be scared to send my child to school I don’t wanna cry anymore more people lost to guns than in all our wars I don’t want to hear any of your prayers or platitudes don’t try to sell me that we are safe don’t try to say that it’s too late don’t try to argue that we should all be armed don’t pretend that that would cause less harm this freedom isn’t free it’s sheer insanity to watch the same scene play out yet again today this freedom isn’t free this fraught reality is bought for us courtesy of the NRA don’t fold your hands and stand on by don’t ask your god, Why, God, why? we know the reason this keeps happening money talks and money blocks the laws that should be changing