Everyone remembers where they were when the news broke about the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. December 14, 2017 marks five years since Adam Lanza killed 20 young children and six adult school staffers, including the school's principal and two teachers. It was news that stopped us in our tracks and immediately broke our hearts. For singer Sheryl Crowe, she never wants to see anything like this happen again. Not in a school, not at a concert, not anywhere.
Crowe recorded a new song, "The Dreaming Kind," to benefit Sandy Hook Promise. The foundation was started by families of the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, and aims to provide "programs and practices that protect children from gun violence." It's a haunting, beautiful song that features her niece, Ava, and ends with personal photographs from the families. You can listen to the song and watch the video here, at Sheryl Crowe's Bandcamp page. The song is pay-what-you-want, and every dollar will benefit Sandy Hook Promise.
Crowe chatted with us about why she's standing up on this issue, how her kids handled the news, and why this issue is personal for her.
Refinery29: One thing I think about whenever there is a mass shooting is this tweet from journalist Dan Hodges: "In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over." It went viral, and it really captures how cynical people are feeling about the debate. How do you feel about the future of gun restrictions?
Sheryl Crowe: I don't believe there will be a dialogue as long as there is so much money in the gun lobby...but I refuse to give up, otherwise I would not have written this song and would not be showing up on this issue. In music, it is not a popular issue.
It almost doesn't matter how famous you are, the gun lobby will come for you. Have you seen any signs of this happening?
I have! I'm on Breitbart News today. So that means I've really made it. Of course, I hate it, but it's not going to stop me. I will not be shut up by Breitbart or some haters on the internet. I have two small children.
How did your children handle it?
The confusion on my ten year-old's face when I explained to him what Sandy Hook was about, I can't undo that. When he walks into school, he will forever know that it happened, and he will ask himself if it will happen here. And if Mommy plays at an open-air event, will something happen there?
Will you be advocating for any specific pieces of legislation?
There is a bill that is already passed in some states and on the ballot in others. It gives family members and police the ability to seek a court order to remove a gun from someone who is showing signs of harming others. It's a place to start, and gives power to those who are worried about their own safety. (Ed. Note: Crowe is referring to "risk-based" legislation.)
It's past time for us to use the reasoning parts of our brains and the compassionate parts of our hearts, reach across the aisle, and figure out how we're going to move forward. I didn't know anyone who was killed, but this issue is still personal for me. I care enough about my audience to work for sensible gun legislation, so my fans know they are safe when they come see me. It's not about politics, it's about protecting children.