(The Hill) — Musician Dave Matthews says lawmakers have been able to convince the nation that the public is “powerless” against gun violence and that the “vulnerability of innocent people in this country is a sacrifice we have to make if we want to be truly American.”
“It’s so mind bogglingly cruel. It’s insanity,” the Dave Matthews Band frontman said in an interview with USA Today, published Friday.
“I have no idea how people can stand up and say it’s ‘not guns’ and ‘it’s not the [National Rifle Association,]’ it’s just mental health. And then do nothing to address the fact that from the ‘80s we’ve closed every mental health institution we can in this country,” added the 56-year-old songwriter, promoting his band’s latest album, “Walk Around the Moon.”
Noting that he has “many” friends who are gun owners, Matthews said, “But all of them would also agree that they prefer a person can’t go into a school and blow people away after buying a gun.”
“Yet we’re going to create this fever of discord in our society so we don’t have to deal with real things. True problems like climate change. Real problems facing working Americans,” the father of three said.
“No one is coming for your guns. Can we just have a conversation without mad outrage? I don’t like being afraid of my children being murdered at school. I’ve had to deal with my kids being at university when there is a shooting and they’ve lost friends,” he said.
“If we can just shout about weird things, politicians don’t have to sit down and figure out solutions to real issues like health care and gun violence. That kind of madness of distraction makes me crazy.”
Matthews said he conveys that frustration in one of his new songs, “Madman’s Eyes.”
In the tune, Matthews sings, “Oh, we live as if our hands are tied./Is it really so hard
to do what we know is right?/To protect the things that we hold dear.”
The song, the politically outspoken musician said, “kind of wrote itself.”
“The first verse is this sort of beautiful childhood memory of innocence. It shouldn’t be possible for me to go to the local gun store, grab a gun, pop on down to a school and murder people,” Matthews said.
“That should be an impossibility. That’s where the train has gone off the tracks.”