February 16, 2016
Far be it from me to question the mindset and spirit of a lead singer who lives with the burden of knowing 90 people were mowed down at one of his band’s concerts, but it’s difficult to remain silent after the Eagles of Death Metal’s Jesse Hughes played into one of the National Rifle Association’s most depraved talking points.
As EoDM prepares Tuesday to complete the November concert that saw the Bataclan theater in Paris become a blood bath amid seven coordinated terrorist attacks, Hughes ended up going full Ted Nugent near the end of an interview with French television station iTele.
You can watch the emotionally charged interview via this link, and you needn’t speak French because Hughes doesn’t (even as he name checks Philadelphia’s “brotherly love” spirit being evident in how people took care of one another in the attack’s aftermath).
“Did your French gun control stop a single f------ person from dying at the Bataclan?" – Jesse Hughes, lead singer, Eagles of Death Metal
The nearly 19-minute segment is not an easy watch. Hughes’ heavy inner pain, of a variety that will likely never relent, is laid bare for the world to see as he righteously maintains that he “can’t let the bad guys win.”
Around the 16:15 mark, he responds to a question about gun control with a question of his own: “Did your French gun control stop a single f------ person from dying at the Bataclan? And if anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it, because I don’t think so.”
Well no, of course, it didn’t.
Laws and regulations governing the use of automobiles don’t keep everyone f----- person alive on the roadways of America and the world, either.
“It just seems like God made men and women, and that night, guns made them equal,” he continued. “And I hate it that it’s that way. I think the only way that my mind has been changed is that maybe that until nobody has guns, everybody has to have them.
“Because I’ve never seen anyone that’s ever had one dead, and I want everyone to have access to them, and I saw people die that maybe could have lived, I don’t know … I wish I knew for sure if they could have had a better chance because there were some real angels, real wonderful people in that show that aren’t alive today and I really wish they were.”
You can't help but respect the grief he's sharing there. His is a pain to which most of us will never be able to relate.
But if we’re being honest with our detached-from-the-Bataclan-scene selves, logic dictates that more people would have died if more people were firing blindly in the dark at a crowded concert venue. But I digress, for Hughes – who, again, shouldn’t be condemned for speaking from a place of raw emotion – fully realized that people will disagree with him.
Well, yeah. No kidding.
You don’t need fact checkers to know that people have died with guns in their hands, even if the lead singer of a band never saw one of them, which must mean he doesn’t have television or watch the news even in passing.
Could some people who died that night have averted their fate if they went to a concert armed to the gills? Sure. But you know what: Other people could have died in their stead. This isn't a one-for-one type deal, either. More bullets fired at the Bataclan would have meant more lifeless bodies on the ground. Sorry if that's blunt, but it's also reality.
Hughes is right about one thing: This wasn’t a matter of gun control but now – because he spoke emotionally about it in front of cameras – that’s exactly what it’s become.
This world would be even more frightening – creating a misanthropic population the likes of which we’ve never seen – if the tone set once you go out in public is knowing everyone around you is carrying a weapon.
People who don’t want a gun – and we are legion – will be placed at an unfair life-and-death disadvantage in a world filled with armed lunatics.
If I’m going to call out Hughes for anything, though, it’s this statement: “I don’t think love overshadows evil.”
Because you know what? Some of us like to think it does with the same fervor that honors the good in the world. Even if it’s not true, the view through our rose-colored glasses is remarkably brighter than abiding by the fallacy that an armed-to-the-teeth world is safer, better or in any way acceptable.