There’s a lot of anti-gun propaganda floating around the internet at the moment. I mean a lot. It’s not surprising in the least, either. It’s also not surprising that a number of people who may have been pro-Second Amendment are now questioning their beliefs on that front. One of those is the guitarist for the Josh Abbot band, Caleb Keeter.
“I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with [Concealed Handgun Licenses], and legal firearms on the bus,” Keeter wrote. “They were useless.”
Speaking up about any remotely political issue is rare in country music, particularly about gun culture, given the genre’s close ties with the National Rifle Association. While many singers are often hesitant to get political for fear of being blacklisted from radio, the Josh Abbott Band has found plenty of success in their native Texas and as a touring band — their last charting single in 2016, called “Wasn’t That Drunk,” landed in the mid-40s. So in terms of mainstream radio, they don’t have much to lose.
Later, as his message started to get retweeted thousands of times, Keeter added another tweet:
“That being said, I’ll not live in fear of anyone,” he wrote. “We will regroup, we’ll come back, and we’ll rock your f—ing faces off. Bet on it.”
Keeter’s full statement:
— Caleb Keeter (@Calebkeeter) October 2, 2017
It’s easy to beat up on Keeter’s change. Make no mistake, I vehemently disagree with him. Indications appear to be that the shooter used an illegally modified weapon to mow down unsuspecting concertgoers. If that is, indeed, accurate (reports are still changing as time proceeds) then he already broke the law. What law would have stopped it?
After all, we know fully-automatic weapons can be manufactured in backyard workshops regardless of any laws. If the shooter had the expertise to modify his weapons, it’s not unreasonable to assume he had the capability to manufacture a weapon to conduct his massacre with.
But I don’t think Keeter, or anyone else who is rethinking their belief in the Second Amendment, is thinking of that at the moment. It’s all too new, too fresh for them.
Several years ago, a dear friend of mine was killed in a mass shooting incident in Seattle. As I learned the news and the reality sank in, I wondered if I’d been wrong about my pro-Second Amendment stance. My friend was dead. She’d been killed by a maniac with a gun. Would gun control have kept my friend alive?
I suspect this is a common enough response to something like this when you’re pro-Second Amendment and you’re touched by a tragedy. Yet I had to remember that my friend wasn’t dead because of a gun, but because of a madman.
It happened quickly for me because I wasn’t actually there, and I’m rather staunch and absolutist in my belief of the Second Amendment. Also, the scale was so completely different. It takes time to settle down, to think rationally on the topic before someone can recognize that gun control would have solved nothing.