This wasn’t the post I was expecting to write y’all this week, but as an artist and an American these things need to be said.
On Monday morning, I woke up to a text from my mom at 9:17 that read as follows:
All of our friends and family in Las Vegas are fine. Hope that they didn’t lose anyone…just another disturbing event this morning.
Despite my mom saying everyone was fine, I was suddenly panicked and curious. Just before I could jump online, another text came in from a friend of mine:
Did you hear about the Vegas shooting?
And there it was. The answer I was about to go looking for in black and white.
Those two words were all I could think for most of the morning. Those are the two words that cross my mind every time I hear about a mass shooting in our country. And those are the two words that shouldn’t ever have to cross my mind again.
On Sunday evening at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, our nation was witness to the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. During Jason Aldean’s final song, a terrorist opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 country music fans. I won’t dignify the man responsible by stating his name. His name doesn’t matter. The damage and bloodshed that came from his hand does.
It goes without saying that this shouldn’t happen in our country. We didn’t agree to the notion that we could get shot just for going to school or spending a night out with friends at a concert.
This act of unspeakable evil was not only an attack on the people of Las Vegas, but on the country music community. As country artists, our primary aim is to unite people through a common love of music, to remind people what makes life so worth living. This shooting was a blatant attempt to diminish its power.
But through all the pain and heartbreak that this world often brings, country music gives us the strength to overcome it.
When we were blindsided by the Oklahoma City bombing, Garth Brooks offered up “The Change.”
When we were rocked by the events of 9/11, Alan Jackson gave us “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).”
When we saw innocence stolen at Sandy Hook, George Strait spoke of the power of faith with “I Believe.”
I offered a tribute to our fallen servicemen and women by writing “We Will.”
And in the aftermath of the Vegas shooting, Maren Morris and Vince Gill have given us “Dear Hate,” an anthem meant to remind us that love will conquer all.
If I know anything about the country music community, it is this. We will not be shaken. We will not stand by and let suffering go unremedied. We will lend a helping hand to our brothers and sisters in need. We will stand united. We will show love. We will be the change. We will overcome. We will rise again.