Six Degrees of Separation. If You’re Lucky.

A 7-year-old girl finds a brown paper bag in the closet of the guest room. Inside the bag, is a handgun.

A mother wakes her teenage daughter in the middle the night and says, “Go outside, wait on the lawn.” Inside the house, the girl’s father considers suicide after losing his job. He has a handgun.

A high school student spends part of his senior year in juvie. Shortly after he gets out, he kills himself with a handgun.

A young man in his twenties who “has it all” kills himself with a handgun.

An alcoholic man in his forties kills himself with a handgun.

A fourth grade boy goes away with a friend’s family for the weekend. “Where is the cabin? What is the phone number? Who will be there?”

The one question the mother doesn’t ask: Are there any guns at the cabin?

A BB gun. The boy loses an eye.

So what do these things have to do with me? It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that these tragedies touched my life, and hurt my heart, and I’m wondering, is there a gun in your life?

When Columbine happened I was teaching music in six different schools to children of all ages. On my lunch break I wrote a song that was so ugly, I put it away without finishing it. I thought to myself, this is a horrible thing to write about. But like Columbine, the song haunted me, and finally, a few years later, I showed it to my friend Rosanne Cash. Rose said, “You have to finish this song, and you have to play it for people.”

Here is Pray, produced by Kevin Salem and  Fletcher Beasley. I’m not sure what good sharing it will do . . . but it’s the only response I can muster after what happened on Friday, besides holding my son close. He turns 7 this week.

Baby got a shotgun
Bought a black trench coat
Small town left stunned
Diary on video

Went into the classroom
Hero with a hit list
Bricks and books became a tomb
For boys and girls who’d never been kissed

ooh ooh ooh
There is only one thing left to say
ooh ooh ooh
Put your hands together, kneel down, close your eyes

Baby in an out group
Nazi skinhead
Can’t blame the neighborhood front stoop
Quiet boy white bread

Baby was a time bomb
Tick tick ticking boy
No singular phenomenon
This suicide kill joy

ooh ooh ooh
There is only one thing left to say
ooh ooh ooh
Put your hands together, kneel down, close your eyes

Pray

2 responses to “Six Degrees of Separation. If You’re Lucky.

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