Friends, when I was a kid, my father and I used to joke about the profile of the lone shooter. That almost comical similarity of newspaper accounts (he was a quiet man, kept to himself mostly) that no one seems to identify until it is too late.
That was easily forty years ago. We didn’t dwell on the tragedy of it at the time, and it isn’t really in my nature to take a political stand, but as I grow older, it bothers me more and more every time (and there have been many) something like this happens.
As a society, we in the US are failing to deal with the trend of violence (particularly gun violence) by emotionally disturbed people who are not getting the help they need.
I finally got around to writing a song about that topic about thirty-five years later. Please bear in mind, the song isn’t about guns OR mental illness, it’s about guns AND mental illness.
The arrangement is a very simple three-piece rhythm section (drums, bass, guitar) with a crude (intentionally) vocal and a couple simple guitar solos (Ibanez RG170). Stylistically, I was going for something between Weezer and Green Day.
He was a quiet man, kept to himself
It was a quiet day, he lived all alone
That’s what they told us.
Thirty years of gritted teeth and
Dreams that turned to dust.
Screams of pain held underneath
He just had had enough.
He cleaned house, he burned his trash so
No one would ever know.
Spent a couple hours at the
Gun collector show.
It was a typical day in a typical week.
At least that’s how it started.
The newspaper accounts told in grisly detail
About the dearly departed.
‘Mr. Smith pulled a loaded .38
From the pocket of his coat.
He killed everyone in the conference room.
Police said he left a note.
“I was a quiet man, I kept to myself
Cause nobody noticed me
I wanted to be so much more than I was
But now I am free”’
Don’t be a quiet man, don’t keep to yourself.
Take a lesson from history.
You’ll never be noticed from behind a closed door.
It’s not such a mystery.