Waylon Jennings has been a long time gone, passing away on February 13th, 2002, but his wisdom is still as relevant as the music that he made, and can even help us navigate some of the most politically-charged issues that divide us today.
While being interviewed on Prime Time Country on TNN in 1999 shortly after the Columbine High School massacre, Waylon was asked what he would do about the issue of gun control and school shootings. Though Waylon first pointed out that since it was already illegal for the Columbine perpetrators to possess the guns that passing more laws probably wouldn’t help, what he said next exemplifies that there are many universal things that could be done to stem gun violence that don’t fall within the polarizing realm of either wanting to make all guns illegal, or allowing there to be no gun regulation at all. Waylon instead focused on how the media and society make demi-heroes out of mass killers by giving them the glory they crave.
That’s a serious question, and I do have a serious answer. It’s not the guns. You know because those boys were not supposed to have those guns to start with. That’s against the law. So you can make all the laws you want to forever, you know, and anybody whose going to shoot somebody don’t worry about the laws.
I’ll tell you who’s to blame. You know when you can get your picture on the front of Time Magazine, and when the television shows your face and tell them what your name is. England stopped that on time. England did not do that. I don’t know if they still not do it or not. But if you don’t give them that 15 minutes of glory, and that’s exactly what they’re looking for, they’ll be a lot less of it.
I appreciate you asking me that, I’ve wanted to say that for a long time. I believe that, we’ve just got to quit giving them people publicity.