Out of the Mouths of Rock Stars

 Okay– so yes, pictures taken during a concert aren’t always the best.

The red blob is K-Flay doing “Blood in the Cut”, and if you haven’t heard this song…

Well, it makes me think of Chase in Shadow.

Really dark–really painful. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I can write a book like that again, but I do like this song.

And the blue blob (taken by Mate, so it’s much nicer than my crappy red blob) is Imagine Dragons.

And they were lovely–almost spiritual, the lead singer Dan Reynolds was candid and charismatic and yes, damned sexy. (Frickin’ drummers– they had my number in high school too!)

I admit–when he told us that originally the “I-I-I”  in “I Bet My Life” was “Ma” because the song was about his mother always being there, I got a little teary.

The video for that is really awesome– posting it here, just for entertainment value and because… wonderful.

So the concert was really positive and uplifting–and Reynolds had more to say–more beautiful, heartfelt things to say–about recent tragedies than any of the Republican government officials in a thousand years.

He gave a moving, faithful tribute to Tom Petty, because Tom Petty was influential, and so many of us grew up with his songs twanging in our consciousness, and they moved us.

And he dedicated “It’s Time” to Las Vegas. The band is Vegas based (like another favorite of mine, The Killers) and while he evaded politics, he said there were people in the audience–we were at the Golden 1 Arena–who had been at Vegas, and he praised their courage in coming out to another concert, to their dedication to music and celebration, in not letting fear change who they were.

Lovely words.  Lovely music. Lovely sentiment.

And I was grateful– they felt much needed.

Monday morning, I woke up and Mate was still in Germany. I scrolled through Twitter before I got out of bed–if there’s anything newsworthy it pops up there, and I can investigate other news sources when I see it.

And that’s how I found out about Vegas.

And I woke up and tried to process–and couldn’t. Got the kids, one at a time, up and dressed and off to school, and thought, “It’ll hit me. I’ll have words for this. Angry words, grief words. That’s how I deal with stuff like this.”

And I was walking the dogs in the park after dropping my kids off at school, when I heard sirens.

They could have been for anything. Highway patrol, ambulance, sheriff’s department. I’m not a savant, I can’t tell what department’s being called by the sound.

But I heard ambulances, and for a heartbeat I stood still and listened, thinking, “Are they heading north/south or east/west.”  North/south is heading for the schools. East/west, for the freeway. “North/south? East/west?”  The sirens faded off to the east, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

And then I started to cry.

Because I heard a siren and my first thought was “Shooting at the school.”

Not because I’m paranoid. But because it has happened. It could happen any day. When I taught, I spent part of my teaching day in lockdown, because there were weapons on campus. So have my children. Parts of Sacramento are very liberal, but we’ve got our share of gun-toting rednecks. There is an SUV a block from the high school (which is two blocks from the grammar school) that has “Keep Calm and Thread On” stickers in the back window, with a collection of guns on the sticker.  I’m sure if that guy snaps and takes out the high school where my son goes nobody will call him a terrorist either.

But people who have panic attacks in the park over a siren know the truth.

We are held hostage to fear of guns.

All men who own a fucking cache of semi-auto or automatic weapons are terrorists. They have enough weaponry to inspire terror. Achievement unlocked. They have enough entitlement to threaten the 77% of people in the country who don’t own any guns at all. Well done.

Before Mate and I left for the concert Wednesday night, Chicken and I had a discussion about how, if either one of us were taken out by gunfire, we would send each other’s bloody clothes to the NRA. Mate said count him in too.

None of us talked about the younger kids. It makes our hearts too sick to think about it, even if they’re in the greatest amount of danger.

In case anybody is wondering? I don’t think this happens in a healthy society. I don’t think it should happen at all.

So I guess I needed that concert–I needed to feel brave again.

But that didn’t stop me from being afraid of the sound of gunshots whenever the music stopped playing.

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