Caleb Keeter, a guitarist in the Texas country group the Josh Abbott Band was present last night at the Route 91 Harvest Festival where over 50 people were murdered in one of the deadliest mass shootings in history. His band had performed earlier during the day when gunfire broke out during Jason Aldean’s headlining set later in the night.
Thankfully, all the members of Keeter’s band survived, but the night destroyed something else in him — his past support for gun control. Although country music is a conservative genre, and most of its stars tend to generally be in support of the NRA, the second amendment, and the right to bear arms, the experience last night changed Keeter’s perspective on all of those things.
Here’s his full statement:
I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses, and legal firearms on the bus. They were useless. We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us. A small group (or one man) laid waste to a city of dedicated, fearless police officers desperately trying to help, because of access to an insane amount of fire wooer.
Enough is enough. Writing my parents and the love of my life a goodbye last night and a living will because I felt like I was going to live through the night was enough for me to realize that this is completely and totally out of hand. These rounds were powerful enough that my crew guys just standing in a close proximity of a victim shot by this fucking coward received shrapnel wounds.
We need gun control RIGHT. NOW.
My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it unit my brother son the rod and myself were threatened by it. We are unbelievably fortunate to not be among the number of victims killed or seriously wounded by this maniac.
After someone else shared his statement, Keeter again noted he believes his past stance was wrong and selfish:
The shared more tweets from their own account, letting their fans know everyone was safely accounted for:
And Keeter had a final thought, “I’ll not live in fear of anyone. We will regroup, we’ll come back, and we’ll rock your fucking faces off, he wrote:
That sentiment is shared here, read Steven Hyden’s piece on these attacks on the sanctity and power of live music here.