It’s been about a month since 17 innocent high school students were murdered in Parkland, Florida using a weapon of war. There’s no reason for a civilian to own one of these semiautomatic rifles. Lest you think this is the naive opinion of a singer-songwriter-guitarist, I will let you in on something: I’m a veteran. Though I spent my service years in the Army band playing guitar, I had to go through basic training like everyone else and learned how to shoot the M-16, earning a marksman’s badge. Having experienced this, I believe the AR-15 and similar combat weapons shouldn’t be in the hands of just anyone who walks into a gun store, much less an unsupervised teenager whose brain and emotions haven’t fully matured.
The saving grace of this tragedy is in the intelligent activism of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, whose friends were killed and wounded in this senseless, immoral massacre. Their fervor is inspiring and may lead to some sanity in our policies about guns.
It brought to mind a song by my late friend James Durst, with words by John Fisher, titled “Not Another Gun”. It is a call for us to focus on the many things we need to work on–feeding the hungry, education, the environment, clean energy–instead of wasting resources on guns. With all respect to those guys, I thought their line “Not another gun for another damn fool” was more inflammatory than I wanted to be, so I rewrote it as “What We Don’t Need (Any More Guns)”. The lyric is altered a little; I added a verse to fit with our contemporary situation and make it a contribution to a dialogue.
We interrupted the recording for my next album to record this song as a tribute to the students at Parkland:
I hope people will use this song. I will be getting sheet music up for both this and my get-out-the-vote song “The World Needs Your Voice,” soon. Hope you like both of them. Feel free to spread them around, and share the link with your friends.