Source: Instagram of Jesse Hughes

JONES | An Artist’s Place in the Gun Debate

If you’re a fan of the rap group/radical-left hype-men Run the Jewels, you may have been surprised by the news this weekend. Rapper Killer Mike, who forms one-half of Run the Jewels with El-P, gave an interview with the NRATV host Colion Noir in which he seemed to agree with the NRA and guns-right activists that new gun-control laws are not a solution to gun violence, separating himself from the progressive left that he has often acted as a celebrity spokesman for. In the interview, Killer Mike accused guns rights activists of being “lackey[s] of the progressive movement,” adding that “I told my kids on the school walkout: ‘I love you — if you walk out that school, walk out my house.’”

To be fair, Killer Mike was not simply aping the NRA’s incendiary rhetoric — he was trying to make an argument about the need specifically for African-Americans in poorly-policed areas to be prepared to defend themselves against threats. Killer Mike apologized in two videos he filmed at home soon after the NRATV interview was posted online, saying that he had unintentionally allowed the NRA to post the video as a counter to the March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 24, a protest which he called “a very noble campaign that I actually support.” However, he has chosen to explicitly align himself with gun-rights activists in the past: he said on Tavis Smiley’s show on PBS last year that “White men don’t want to give up their guns, and I’m with that. If you don’t want to give up your guns, and I have that right — not privilege — but I have that right too, then I’m standing on your side of the room when they say, ‘Who’s for guns?’”

A less surprising attack on gun control activists came from Jesse Hughes, the frontman of Eagles of Death Metal.

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GUEST ROOM | A Call To March

Gun violence is something that has never directly impacted me. It was only through the Virginia Tech shooting, in which a gunman killed over twenty people on a snowy morning in Blacksburg, that I have any concrete connection to gun violence at all; one of my best friends from kindergarten lost a cousin that day. The evening of that massacre, as I sat in my living room with CNN’s emotional coverage on in the background while I copied my spelling words, I remember thinking about how big a deal it was. It’s not like this anymore though. Nearly eleven years and thousands of deaths from gun violence later, even our overused tropes and platitudes, our vapid thoughts and prayers, feel overbearing, much less meaningless.