"Pumped up Kicks"
“….yeah he found a six-shooter gun. In his dad’s closet hidden in a box of fun things, and I don’t even know what. But he’s coming for you, yeah he’s coming for you.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run, outrun my bullets…”
—Foster the People.
I was truly puzzled to hear all the criticism of this song….people not letting their children download it, complaining that it shamefully glorifies tragic school shootings, that it encourages copycats, etc.
The obvious response– ‘but isn’t that what we want our rock music to be—a social commentary?’ was quickly followed by the realization that no-one of my generation went to school with the thought of gun-violence secreted in the back of their brain. It never occurred to us that a classmate might bring a gun to school. So kudos to this generation for putting the issues of their generation on the table for processing—in the parlance of their generation. “Adults” have hardly been able to address the topic in productive ways, or in language that is meaningful to those who do have to process the possibility—if not reality—of school shootings every day. Why would we even think to do anything less than use the song to open and encourage dialogue around the topic—whether that is what the band intended or not.