I’ve been thinking about how to start this piece all day, but sometimes words feel so futile. Stephen Paddock was a terrorist and a coward, an angry white man who opened fire with an automatic assault weapon on people attending a country music festival. The world can be a sick place without reason. Nothing I say here could begin to heal the wounds of the victims or those affected by such a tragedy. Sometimes, there are no words.
Concerts are meant to be a safe space. I started playing music and going to shows because it was an outlet to express my true self. There is so much beauty in sharing that safe space with other people who also feel ostracized or misunderstood.
The events that unfolded in Las Vegas have weighed heavily on my mind and heart all day. The current state of our social and political landscape in America is shameful. I truly believe that history will judge this period harshly.
Music has always allowed itself to be used as a bold and brave response toward hatred, violence and the indifference of decent citizens. Feeling angry or sad? Write music. Start a band. Spread your message. If you’re an artist, use your platform as a vehicle for progress. Go to a show and support an artist you believe in. Use your voice and emotion to express yourself. Find commonality with others who feel the same way. Cowards and terrorists still want to threaten our sense of safe space and community, but here’s what they don’t understand: We won’t fucking let them. We will not give in to fear, hatred or violence. As long as you show up, I guarantee we will keep playing.
“As long as you show up, I guarantee we will keep playing.”
My heart is filled with so much sadness and empathy that it’s sometimes hard to feel like I’m making a difference at all. Anyone can sit behind a computer and shake their fist at the current state of affairs. However, as an artist, the ability to provide a safe space and community of acceptance feels like the best way to give back. We all work tirelessly to provide some respite from the malevolence of the world. Every musician and crew member I know works incredibly hard to put on an awesome show for fans. That will never stop. No coward can ever take that away from us because love is stronger than hate and acceptance will always dwarf oppression.
From my experience, the music community is a lot more than the sum of its parts. You are a part of that community. Hate has no home here.
If you, like me, are exhausted by the lack of change on our social and political landscape, consider visiting this link and reaching out to your local representatives to demand change today.