Heavy metal artist Marilyn Manson caused quite a stir on Sunday after he pointed a fake rifle at his audience during a concert in San Bernardino, California. The stunt came less than 24 hours after a gunman opened fire on a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 innocent people, many of whom were children. Not to mention, San Bernardino is the site of the 2015 terror attack which left 14 dead.
After much public outrage, Manson issued a statement explaining the twisted theatrics.
According to him, the production was not mean to be “disrespectful or show any insensitivity,” but was a statement about gun control (emphasis mine).
“In an era where mass shootings have become a nearly daily occurrence this was an act of theater in an attempt to make a statement about how easily accessible semi-automatic weapons are and how seeing them has become normalized,” Manson wrote in an email to Billboard.
“My art has always been a reaction to popular culture and my way to make people think about the horrible things that happen in this world,” he continued. “My performance was not meant to be disrespectful or show any insensitivity. The prop microphone I used on stage was handed to me with the approval of a police officer. My empathy goes out to anyone who has been affected by the irresponsible and reprehensible misuse of REAL guns.”
While many outsiders were disgusted by the performance, apparently the concertgoers themselves were relatively unfazed. If you’re attending a Manson concert, you’re definitely not looking for subtlety – or cheerfulness.
Regardless of whether you agree with Manson’s (horrid) attempt to enter the gun debate, we must remember that he was well within his rights to do so.
If we’re going to ardently defend the Second Amendment, we must do the same for the First.