I’m not shocked by gun violence anymore – isn’t that a shame? Last weekend in Chicago, fifty people were shot. Ten were fatalities. It barely registers. Summertime in Chicago? Of course there’s going to be gun violence. This is what we do. Every year Memorial Day Weekend sparks a meteoric rise in shootings – many rationalize it by saying it’s confined to specific areas of the city, which is true by and large, but can be a veiled nod to our city’s abhorrent history of segregation – the South and West sides, specifically. You’ve no doubt heard the linguistic crystallization – “Chi-raq” or “Killinois.” A dark fog rolls through the city, and the obscuration is likely to remain for the foreseeable future.
The way of Chicago is symptomatic of a much larger issue – American gun violence. You can’t miss it. It’s as American as apple pie. As American as privatized healthcare. The only thing worse than it is perhaps the polemic behind gun rights activism. Even a cursory look through the National Rifle Association’s website is terrifying. Spend a few hours on NRA TV, and you’ll be met with hysteria, paranoia, and lies. The threat of background checks slowly transforms into rhetoric from The Turner Diaries – I think of the book’s beginning where Earl Turner recounts the government coming after guns he and his group have hidden in the walls of their house. The lefty government is coming after you!
The reality is that very few people who advocate for gun control advocate for the dissolution of guns. And to be clear – I’m not for it, either, especially where it concerns hunting equipment. In my book, hunting animals for sport – as long as they’re also consumed – is way more ethically sound than the majority of ways we get food. I am, however, all on board for background checks and scrutinized handgun regulation.
The NRA is opportunistic and vampiric. One of the most disturbing parts of David Cullen’s excellent book Columbine is seeing that the NRA descends en masse upon the territory after the spree shooting, almost like they’re doing damage control. It ties my stomach in knots. Hadn’t that area been through enough? Then to hear Heston talking about “From My Cold Dead Hands…” I can only imagine living through that. They should be ashamed for that episode alone, but it gets worse. I likely don’t have to point out more specific instances to you.
The cassette From My Cold Dead Hands was written and recorded in one night back in March or April – I can’t remember. I had just finished reading the book I linked above – Columbine – and had finished Sic Semper Tyrannis a week or two before. My best work vomits out of me – it’s like I can’t stop it. I get all this disgust built up in my stomach, and it spills out. I feel strongly about this release – I think the closing song “The Conqueror Worm” is perhaps the best track I’ve recorded as Spring Break, and the one that most clearly illustrates the childishness of gun rights rhetoric. It’s also a very sad song because there is a movement towards the tragic in this dialectic as much as there is inevitability.
At any rate, I’d like to thank Alex Ford for his belief in my vision and his support.
Remember to be good to each other.
Jordan Reyes, 6.3.2019