John Mellencamp Issues Forceful Statement About Gun Violence: ‘Show America the Carnage’

John Mellencamp Issues Forceful Statement About Gun Violence: ‘Show America the Carnage’

In the wake of the nation’s 50th mass shooting so far this year, John Mellencamp says enough is enough. The singer issued an urgent statement on Friday (Feb. 16) just days after the killing of a popular Kansas City DJ/radio personality and the wounding of more than 20 people at Wednesday’s parade celebrating the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVIII win on Sunday.

“Excuse me for saying the obvious truth. I do so out of love for this country and the pain of learning, once again, that children have been killed by gun violence,” the longtime gun control advocate wrote in the note, which did not specifically mention the violence that marred the Chiefs celebration. “If we as a country want to find the collective will within ourselves to change our gun laws, let’s stop playing silly political games. Show the carnage on the news. Show the American people the dead children and others who have been struck down. Show us what guns and bullets can do to the human body.”

A popular Kansas City DJ and radio personality, Lisa Lopez-Galvan, 44, a married mother of two, was killed on Wednesday when unknown assailants opened fire near the end of the parade attended by a reported one million fans. Despite more than 800 officers on site to secure the route, the burst of gunfire killed Lopez-Galvan and injured 22 others, with half the victims under the age of 16.

“The news media need to be brave enough to let Americans see what slaughtered children look like,” Mellencamp said, echoing the calls from many gun control advocates in the wake of the 2012 slaughter of 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, CT and the 2022 murder of 19 students aged 9-11 in Uvalde, TX. Shortly after the latter, the New York Times asked, “Would disseminating graphic images of the results of gun violence jolt the nation’s gridlocked leadership into action?” referring to intransigence from the political right to tighten gun laws to prevent future incidents.

While experts and photo editors struggle with the ethical quandary of whether showing graphic images of children killed by weapons of war — a majority of mass shootings employ military-style assault weapons with large magazines — might seem exploitative, or could move the needle toward tighter gun laws, the media often shies away from showing gory images. In both Uvalde and Sandy Hook, horrific images of the carnage were not released to the public.

The Times noted that other explicit, disturbing images the media has aired from the Holocaust and the Vietnam War to the current war in Ukraine and the 1955 image of a 14-year-old Emmett Till’s brutalized body after two white men beat, shot and dumped his body in a river have prompted public outcry and action.

Mellencamp, 72, said in his note that he recalled the shock and horror the nation felt when images of young soldiers killed in Vietnam began appearing on the nightly news. “When I was a teenager, there was a war in Vietnam,” he wrote. “In the beginning, no one paid much attention to this problem in a foreign land until the media shouldered the responsibility and showed America how our sons were being slaughtered. Once these images were shown on TV, there was overwhelming demand for that war to be ended immediately.”

The musician and father of five children added that as a dad and a human being “with deep empathy for the parents whose children had their lives ended so suddenly and so senselessly: Show America the carnage. I am not being callous, and I know it will be painful to see. But, sad to say, I think it’s the only way to shock America out of its stupor.”

Mellencamp released his 25th album, Orpheus Descending, last year, which included the anti-gun violence track “Hey God.” “Weapons and guns, are they really my rights?/ Laws written a long time ago/ No one could imagine the sight of so many dead on the floor,” he sings on the track, adding, “Hey, God, if you’re still there, would you please come down? We can’t take it anymore.

The shooting at the Chiefs parade left at least nine children injured, with a spokesperson for Children’s Mercy Hospital telling WBAL that the 11 children being treated there — nine for gunshot wounds — were between 6-15 years old. The city has long struggled with high rates of gun violence, matching a record in 2023 with 182 homicides, most of which involved guns.

In the wake of the Chiefs parade shooting, Democrat Sen. Steve Roberts decried his state as having “some of the loosest gun laws” in the country, while Republican Sen. and gubernatorial candidate Bill Eigel tweeted what has become a consistent refrain from conservative politicians and Second Amendment defenders in the wake of the nation’s near-daily mass shooting incidents.

“To the liberal gun grabbers already trying to use this KC tragedy to push your radical gun control agenda, hear me now: NOT IN MISSOURI,” Eigel tweeted. “One good guy with a gun could have stopped the evil criminals who opened fire on the crowd immediately. Guns don’t kill people. Thugs and criminals kill people.”

See Mellencamp’s statement below.

The post “John Mellencamp Issues Forceful Statement About Gun Violence: ‘Show America the Carnage’” by Gil Kaufman was published on 02/16/2024 by