"I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night," Caleb Keeter writes after being caught in crossfire.
The Las Vegas terror attack on Sunday night has turned at least one country musician and pro-gun advocate into a supporter of stricter gun control laws.
Caleb Keeter, a guitarist who played at the Route 91 Harvest Festival with the Josh Abbott Band (pictured above), published a lengthy note to his Twitter followers Monday morning expressing his change of heart on the issue in wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. According to the most recent reports, 58 people were killed during the shooting, and over 500 were injured as 64-year-old white male Stephen Paddock open fired on the 22,000-person crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
"I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night," he wrote. "I cannot express how wrong I was."
"Enough is enough," he wrote. "Writing my parents and the love of my life a goodbye last night and a living will because I felt like I wasn’t going to live through the night was enough for me to realize that this is completely and totally out of hand."
"These rounds were powerful enough that my crew guys just standing in a close proximity of a victim shot by this f-cking coward received shrapnel wounds," he added. "We need gun control RIGHT. NOW. My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it."
After the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando, a frequent argument from conservative pundits defending gun rights was that the attack could have been thwarted, or death count may have been diminished, if more people in the club were carrying firearms to fight back. But Keeter's experience proves that's easier said that done, for a variety of reasons.
"We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses, and legal firearms on the bus. They were useless," he wrote. Not only were the guns hard to get to when the shocking attack began, but they could have just added more confusion to the chaos, or authorities at the event trying to track down the origin of the shots fired may have confused Keeter's crew for the perpetrators.
"We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us," Keeter wrote. "A small group (or one man) laid waste to a city with dedicated, fearless police officers desperately trying to help, because of access to an insane amount of fire power."
He concluded his note to fans by writing, "We are unbelievably fortunate to not be among the number of victims killed or seriously wounded by this maniac."
Josh Abbot, the frontman for the country group, tweeted his own reaction to the tragedy.
I'll never unhear those gunshots; and our band & crew will never forget how that moment made them feel. Our hearts are with all the victims— Josh Abbott (@joshabbottband) October 2, 2017
Hours after publishing his change of heart on gun control, Keeter added:
That being said, I'll not live in fear of anyone. We will regroup, we'll come back, and we'll rock your fucking faces off. Bet on it.— Caleb Keeter (@Calebkeeter) October 2, 2017
While many are sending Keeter messages of support and thanking him for reconsidering his position on gun control, it's not going over well with everyone.
Sorry, cannot agree with you. You're speaking out of ignorance in your emotions.— Alsoria (@Alsoriawow) October 2, 2017
Until the events of last night? He forgot all about Sandy Hook?— M.Hassan (@rahxephon63) October 2, 2017
Murderers don’t care about laws. You think changing some ink on a piece of paper will stop the killing. Keep telling yourself that.— Gabriel Schleder (@SchlederG) October 2, 2017
While I'm glad you and yours are alive, it took a personal assault to change your mind? It's called empathy. You had none until today.— Paul (@mondosalvo) October 2, 2017
Liberalism is the new terrorism.— Antoine Shugar (@tannoztf) October 2, 2017