These are strange times. The person inhabiting The White House is a former reality television star with a penchant for porn stars and treason. The Earth is literally collapsing in front of us and the national response is to look for more places to drill. And children, many of them exactly as naive and impressionable as we were in high school and before, are getting killed by guns when they are simply trying to get to the finish line and start their lives. The policy response? Apathy or, worse, more guns.
Now, we understand the disconnect here. Decibel is a magazine that has championed things like Cannibal Corpse and Obituary and face painted Norwegian maniacs. The music we love and embrace is called a scourge and a disgrace by many of the people who have no issue allowing children to leave a gun show with a semi-automatic.
We see it differently. Art, including extreme music, is a pathway that allows people to make sense of an insane world, to process their anger and channel it into something positive. Many of the people who work for this magazine as writers, artists and editors were in the same place as the kids who will march this weekend to demand changes to our gun laws. We found music, and it offered us a sense of kinship and a sense of purpose. For those of us in high school before Columbine, the prospect of getting shot and killed by a lunatic with a grudge never crossed our minds. The kids today, sadly, have bigger issues on their mind and getting lost in a record just won’t cut it. There’s been an alarming rate of mass shootings in the United States, at public spaces like a Las Vegas casino or schools like Parkland. Shootings where four or five people die barely chart anymore. The kids don’t want to see their friends get killed and are tired of excuses from adults. This is the kind of energy and enthusiasm that built the underground and we would be denying our roots if we didn’t applaud it.
We aren’t going to tell you exactly how the laws should be changed. We will tell you that very little will change with the crowd in Washington today. Apathy – or simply allowing a craven organization like the NRA to craft firearms policy – guarantees more death. And no, dummy, we aren’t coming for all of your guns. We are trying to make it challenging if not impossible for an unhinged person to arm themselves like Rambo and kill teachers and teenagers. We don’t think it makes sense to build an armory in your backyard with enough firepower to literally kill thousands. No sensible person will disagree with this. The only people who do are scared, afraid of losing money and power, or all of the above.
The underground has a long history of activism, dating back to Rock Against Reagan in the 80s and before. This weekend, we stand with everyone marching in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. Let’s imagine a world where someone isn’t circulating that Onion story about mass shootings every single week. Let’s imagine a world where kids can get lost in records and find themselves again. Let’s imagine a world where the bridge to adulthood doesn’t include fearing for your life. Not one more, indeed.