When I was growing up, one of my first exposures to politics were the 1985 Senate hearings on “porn rock” spearheaded by the Parents Music Resource Center. As a young metalhead, I cheered when rocker Dee Snider of Twisted Sister brought his big hair and sleeveless t-shirt to Capitol Hill and testified in support of the freedom of expression and against the PMRC’s plan to put warning labels on records, cassettes, and those new-fangled compact discs.
I grew out of my metal phase a few years later, but the importance of our individual liberties and freedoms has stuck with me over the decades. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case for Snider himself, who’s now giving the thumbs up for gun control groups to use the group’s anti-authority anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It” in support of… well, taking guns away.
So, when it came to tying the song to intelligent gun control, Snider, a proud gun owner, said the answer was simple: “Yeah, I support this cause. It’s an important one.” In fact, when the request came in, Snider’s exact words in an enthusiastic tweet were, “I am a gun owner… That said, HELL YEAH YOU CAN USE ‘WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT’ AS YOUR ANTHEM! Assault weapons were never meant for anything but combat!
Asked if he made the decision in the wake of the recent mass shooting at Nashville’s Covent School in which the assailant killed three 9-year-old children and three adults, Snider said, “it goes on and on. In the wake of the one before that and the one before that. It’s just insane, it’s ridiculous and it’s something we just talk about forever.”
As Snider suggested, following the nation’s 132nd mass shooting so far this year — there was yet another one on Monday (April 10) in Louisville in which four people were killed and eight injured — gun rights advocates are afraid “to give an inch because people will take a mile. We’ve seen that with so many things before, but sometimes you have to say enough is enough.”
Tipper Gore couldn’t have said it better herself. Just as she and her fellow PMRC members blamed heavy metal for warping young minds and leading some teens to suicide, the Twisted Sister frontman blames the gun for the actions of cowardly killers. And his “I’m a gun owner, but” schtick reminds me a lot of the arguments used by the PMRC back in the 1980s that contemporary music was far more subversive and dangerous than that of the 1950s and 60s. Their favorite music was just fine, but it was the popularity of artists like Prince, Motley Crue, and Twisted Sister that were destroying western civilization. Kinda like how Snider’s okay with his guns, but not yours.
Thanks for the respect and appreciation…but it was really a no brainer. https://t.co/vRGIGbjf5U
— Dee Snider🇺🇸🎤 (@deesnider) April 4, 2023
Well, I’ll agree with Snider that his decision is brainless, not to mention steeped in irony. In case it’s been a while since you’ve heard the iconic 80s anthem, here’s a short sample of some of the lyrics:
We’ve got the right to choose, andThere ain’t no way we’ll lose it This is our life, this is our song We’ll fight the powers that be, just Don’t pick on our destiny, ’cause You don’t know us, you don’t belongOh, you’re so condescendingYour call is never ending We don’t want nothin’, not a thing from you Your life is trite and jaded Boring and confiscated If that’s your best, your best won’t do
I’m not really getting a strong gun control vibe here, are you? After all, who’s trying to take away the right to choose to protect ourselves with a firearm? And gun control activists do want something from us; the tens of millions of lawfully owned modern sporting rifles and “large capacity” magazines in the hands of peaceable American gun owners, for starters.
If Snider wants to turn “We’re Not Gonna Take It” into a gun control anthem that’s up to him, but he should really think about updating the lyrics to reflect his prohibitionist tendencies. How about:
Oh we’re so condesending
our quest is never ending
We all want something that belongs to you
SCOTUS has made us jaded
but your guns should still be confiscated
Just don’t ask how, ’cause we’re still confused
Okay, maybe not. Still, as awful as that doggerel is, it’s at least a more honest take on Snider’s anti-2A ideology than trying to twist the original lyrics into a call for a gun ban.
The sweeping prohibition on modern sporting rifles that Snider is embracing goes much further in infringing on our rights than slapping a warning label on a Stay Hungry album ever did. Snider once said “if the threat of government censorship ever rears its ugly, perfectly coifed head again, I am ready, willing and able to drag my shaggy mop back into battle.” When it comes to government confiscation of firearms, however, it sounds like he’ll be riding with those who want to restrict our fundamental rights and freedoms instead.