By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
The Scoop - Eminem and the Bonnaroo gunshots

It was last week around this time when the relaxation of Bonnaroo was pouring over my shoulders like a soothing waterfall. I was chilling.

You could say the atmosphere was suiting my fancy, right down to the chocolate cake I had the good fortune of encountering. Our group had wandered from the campground to the concert area to see Eminem on the main stage. The night air was crisp. The field was packed.

Then, about four songs into the headline performance, it happened. Gunshots rang through the air. These weren't real gunshots, I soon determined, all just a very disturbing part of the show

Some people jumped. Others ignored it. A lady next to me began saying it was an inappropriate sound effect to blare during a concert.

Then, if once wasn't enough, the gunshots returned a few songs later. And so did the comments, both during the rest of the show and then back at the campground. Some folks were angry and felt the gunshots showed real disrespect considering the largest mass shooting in U.S. history took place less than a year ago at an outdoor concert.

To be sure, the gunshots were a calculated sound effect. They weren't inserted by happenstance.

The immediate impact for me was it was a mood kill. One minute I'm dancing at a concert, the next minute I'm scoping out the tree line to see if there's any place for a gunman to roost.

I thought about the folks in Las Vegas who were doing nothing more than I was doing Saturday night in Manchester, swaying to music and smiling with friends.

As much as I didn't want to think about gun violence during my Bonnaroo weekend, there I was thinking about the worst. Gee, thanks Eminem.

My initial reaction was Eminem is a jerk for allowing the real world to creep into my time to get away from it all. But on further review, I'm beginning to appreciate his willingness to draw attention to gun violence and its regularity in our everyday lives.

 We can be gunned down anywhere at any time. The past few years have seen gunmen strike churches, schools, shopping malls, businesses, and even a Waffle House in Nashville.

Gunning down innocent people is beginning to rival baseball as America's pastime.

I think that's what Eminem was trying to bring into focus and his concerts are the best avenue for this. It's an effective way to reach a huge audience.

I probably wouldn't stop and pay attention to an Eminem TV interview. I doubt I'd read an article about him in the paper. I don't care that much about his music.

But he's got my attention when I'm standing there watching him on stage. That's his only hope of influencing my mindset.

As much as I didn't appreciate it at the time, Eminem provided a lasting memory from Bonnaroo. I can be thankful it was just a thought in my head, not an eyewitness account.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.