Home > Uncategorized > Lamenting Las Vegas: How Country Music Marks an American Tragedy

After a mass shooting, we can find solace in an art form steeped in Scripture.

Sunday night, Jason Aldean was performing at an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas when an assailant opened fire from a hotel window 32 stories above.

On Monday night, country legends like Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, and Keith Urban were singing at a vigil for the nearly 600 people who were wounded or killed in the attack. Rising country star Maren Morris had already released a song in honor of the victims.

“I never knew when would be the right time [to release it]” Morris wrote of “Dear Hate,” which was recorded last year. “But I realized today that there’s never a right time.” Her lyrics seem painfully applicable:

You were there in the garden like a snake in the grass
I see you in the morning staring through the looking glass
You whisper down through history and echo through these halls
But I hate to tell you, love’s gonna conquer all.

In the past few days, media pundits and others have tried to unpack the role of country music in the attack. As Hayley Geftman-Gold, a newly fired CBS executive, recently learned, jumping to conclusions about country musicians and fans isn’t wise. Certainly the “Republican gun toters” that Geftman-Gold publically derided were in fact part of the scene on Sunday night, and yet the crowd and the performers were both more heroic and more diverse than she gave them credit for being.

At another level, we’re still trying to understand why this community was involved in the first place. The people in the crowd were all country fans—but reportedly, so was the shooter. Was he the sinister outsider of many middle-American nightmares, or was he turning on his “own people”? If so, why?

These sociological and …

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