Everyone’s Son

In the two years that elapsed between writing this song in 2017, and getting it produced and making the video, 30,303 Americans were killed with guns and another 44,000 took their own lives using guns.

With each new eruption of gun violence, we race to condemn the act along with the perpetrator. And while every loss of innocents is a tragedy, what of the fact that we live in a nation that generates this carnage with such frequency?

Everyone’s Son explores this question through the eyes of the deeply wounded men our country produces in abundance. Trying to understand the pain of those who kill is not popular right now, but dismissing them as monsters or putting all our emphasis on gun control will not stop the cultural forces that continue to create them.

Yes, there must be meaningful regulation—or better yet, eradication— of guns. And yes, hatred, white supremacy, and misogyny drive much of our violence and must be addressed on a systemic level. But what’s under all that? Why do people turn to guns and hateful ideologies of the first place? In addition to the ravages of a rigged economy and a profoundly dysfunctional democracy, research confirms that childhood trauma predisposes us to all manner of perpetration.  (Ask those who study mass shooters.)

We all have compassion for the victims. They are our children, our parents, our friends, our siblings—or could be tomorrow. We know they are us. So too is the perpetrator. Like it or not he is ours. Collectively, we are responsible. He is Everyone’s Son.

I didn’t set out to write a song about the roots of gun violence in America, but it came through me, and when the muse calls, I listen.