by MATT BACON >
So – Vegas happened.
It is terrifying to even think about. It is a tragedy and one that I think far too many of us can connect with. Hell – I was watching a band set up in the very square where the attack happened just a month before This is a difficult thing to process, the scale of it is inconceivable and the sheer terror that must have been flashing through the minds of everyone involved must have been insane. This is the sort of even that people can’t just wrap their heads around. I think that’s why so many are calling this a false flag. The only comparable attack was at my old haunt Le Bataclan in November of 2015, another mind breaking attack that hit far too close to home. Beyond that though I want to take some time to think about what this could potentially mean for the music industry and how we, as independent artists, managers, labels and what have you should be reacting to something like this and how we can move forward.
A huge part of the madness of this particular event to me is that it happened in Vegas of all places. It’s a city that’s supposed to be free and silly. It’s a city that’s supposed to fill you with false dreams and then tear them all apart. It’s very much a fake city, it’s in fact more a Disneyland for adults than anything else. So the fact that gunfire could come screeching through, ruining this city where so many of us go to relax is terrifying. The fact that one person could use a few pounds of steel to destroy an illusion that has lasted for a hundred odd years takes a little bit to deal with. Personally Vegas is one of the only places I can go to relax, and concerts in Vegas only double the magic. So how do we even begin to cope with all that’s been going on with this incident? I’ve been silent on the issue because I’ve been trying to wrestle with it for a few days. I’ve come to some conclusions and predictions though that I don’t think I like – but can any good come from something like this?
Obviously concerts are going to become even more strict on security.
Of course, that’s not really relevant to what happened here and what my real fear is. First of all – major concerts already have enough security, sure there are incidents but measures are being taken against those. What I’m truly afraid of more than anything else is an attack at a small club. It’s bound to happen sometime soon, and it’s going to end up being like the Orlando shooting, or possible worse. Think about it – we all have our hip live music clubs we go to that are frequently packed out on Firdays and Saturdays. The bouncers at those clubs aren’t trained in counter-terrorism. Hell – the clubs can’t afford to pay them to be. It would be easy for someone to bomb one of those, packed and sweaty no one thinks twice about the dude next to them with a backpack. What do yo think that could end up meaning for everyone in that club? Imagine what will happen once ISIS finds out about the Great White catastrophe.
The fear this gives me is that the financial bar for clubs to surmount will become even higher and the surveillance state stronger. As much as I know we need to fight terrorism if it comes at the cost of our ability to appreciate culture and enjoy basic freedoms we need to question if it’s worth it. Rather – we need to figure out where the trade off happens, because it is a trade off and one where erring on the side of caution also errs on the side of a dictatorial and terrifying government. That’s not really something people want to have to acknowledge to themselves in the wake of a tragedy, but we are all suffering in terms of what is going to happen for the future of rock and roll. ISIS knows this, ISIS knows that they are impacting our culture and the more we let them do it the more that we are going to find ourselves devoid of anything to give us hope and salvation in an increasingly terrifying and quite frankly fucked up world.
My view has always been that when we change our way of life to accommodate those who seek to destroy us they win. They realize that it’s the gradual changes that generate their true victory, not any large single assault. They don’t have the numbers or technology for that. What they do have is the ability to ratchet up paranoia until we know that we are significantly worse off. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take all of this madness into consideration and it doesn’t mean that we should try and find actionable, sustainable and ethical solutions to fighting terrorism. The best way forward is probably to fight fire with fire, if they want to bomb us then we need to continue pushing our culture on them. The more that the culture of freedom, liberation, rebellion and well rock and roll gets shared around the world the more people will realize they need to wake up and fight their oppressors if they want to get anywhere in this life.
Make no mistake – Las Vegas was another step in a massive cultural war that is being fought on all sides. Both Western governments and terrorist groups are trying to keep us from having those ideals which generations of punks have fought and died for. To change your ways and to turn your back on this because you are scared is to betray a movement larger than any other individual. This is what we have chosen to give our live for and now to be a soldier in this army of rebellion is more important, and more difficult than ever. So either get your mind right and decide to be a part of this movement or back off, and there’s no shame in that. But for some of us, to wage this war is the only world we know. Without this we might as well be dead.