“….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. Because it had never been done, it was 'unthinkable.' But this generation has a different legacy. So kudos to them for putting such a 'loaded' issue on the table for processing—in song-- the mode of expression/ communication for each generation. “Adults” have hardly addressed the topic in productive ways, or in language that is meaningful to the kids who inhabit the nuances of this threat; who show up and negotiate the hallways and cafeterias each 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.
* NOTE that many of the articles from outraged parents opposed to this song have been taken down.