On Tuesday, the California band Eagles of Death Metal returned to Paris to finish a set that was interrupted by a terror attack last November. Playing to a crowd of survivors, frontman Jesse Hughes heroically announced while taking the stage, “Bonsoir Paris, we’re ready for this!”
Just hours earlier, Hughes had given an emotional interview to a French news channel about the November attack. When the reporter mentioned gun control, Hughes did not mince words in pointing out how ineffective France’s strict laws had been in stopping the attack:
Gun control kind of doesn’t have anything to do with it, but if you want to bring it up, I’ll ask you: Did your French gun control stop a single fucking person from dying at the Bataclan? If anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it. Because I don’t think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life, charging headfirst into the face of death, with their firearms. I know people will disagree with me, but it seems like God made men and women and that night guns made them equal. I hate it that it’s that way. I think the only way my mind has been changed is maybe that until nobody has guns, everybody has to have them. Because I don’t want to ever see anything like this ever happen again. And I want everyone to have the best chance to live. I saw people die that maybe could’ve lived. I don’t know. But I wish I knew for sure if they could’ve had a better chance. Because there were some real angels, real wonderful people at that show that aren’t alive today. And I really wish they were.
Hughes powerfully makes a point that is so quickly dismissed in the debate over gun control. Guns are not dangerous artifacts of that past that have no use in modern society. They save innocent people every day and horrific events like what we saw in Paris last month are only made worse without them.
Guns don’t just help deter terrorism. The right to bear arms is an important protection measure for many people in many perilous situations. For women, it’s a defense against street harassment and rape. For LGBT people, it’s a safeguard against deadly homophobic or transphobic attacks. For low-income individuals, it’s a means of warding off criminals that lurk in neighborhoods where calling the cops won’t do much good.
This side of the gun control debate is almost never heard. Jesse Hughes helped bring it to light on Tuesday.