Tom Araya’s Second Amendment Pragmatism

Article by Corey M.

Recently Tom Araya, frontman of seminal and legendary extreme metal band Slayer, offered some words of encouragement to Swiss concert attendees regarding their ownership of personal firearms. He makes a case for owning guns, saying that there are invaders and enemies all over the world and in your own countries and towns, who may turn weapons against you anywhere, at any time. Because of this constant threat, owning and carrying weapons of your own is advisable, says Araya, making a pertinent point. Though he made a point to use no names, Arya mentioned events “in other countries” that resulted from people thinking they were magically immune to random violence (a transparent allusion to the Orlando, Florida shootings last month, in which nearly a hundred patrons of a nightclub were gunned down over the course of a few hours and half of those ended up dead, all because of one man with a gun).

Araya presents a proper illustration of metal’s opposition to mainstream values, and the fact that this opposition is still very strong in this day when metal appears to have been largely co-opted, retarded, and commodified by the commercial-consumer mainstream. Unlike hardcore/punk, which opposed mainstream social conservatism throughout the ’80s by pushing for a dismantling of traditional values (which has been achieved and has served only to destabilize our social climate even further) but then had no attainable goal afterward, metal has taken a stance that is only oppositional because it is pragmatic, not moralistic.

This relates to gun ownership and violence because Arya has taken a pragmatic stance on the subject: If there is a threat to you, take precautions against it. Simple and realistic as this seems, it flies in the face of mainstream thought which argues on emotional and idealistic grounds. “If there were no guns in our country, nobody would be shot! And getting shot is bad! So there should be no guns in this country!” That sounds like solid logic, but it isn’t actually an argument. I can say, “If this situation were different, then the outcome would be different,” and have made a technically correct but practically useless statement, the same as the anti-gun argument. So the anti-gun crowd says that federal legislation is the key to eliminating gun ownership, operating on the assumption that legislation is both effective (which is false; see the war on drugs and alcohol prohibition in the US) and that it represents the will of the people at large (which is also false). Most readers have probably already thought this argument through to this point, though, so what comes next?

If the population cannot be convinced to surrender all of their guns (and it would have to be all, not just some) and federal legislation cannot force the population to surrender their guns, then we must accept a pragmatic stance and admit that we now live with guns, and will have to find another solution to the problem. Arya has presented a pragmatic solution: If people there are armed people who may perpetrate random acts of mass violence, then it makes sense to equalize the distribution of power among all people, so that no one has more capacity to inflict violence than any other. Consider this; if all of the hundreds of patrons at the Orlando nightclub were armed, how many would have been killed? What if only half of the hundreds were armed? What if only six or seven were armed? What if just one lucky guy had brought his gun to the club? There is still a greater-than-zero chance that the killer would have been himself killed or at least incapacitated, if not deterred outright from even attempting to shoot up the club due to the possibility that there were other armed individuals inside ready to defend themselves and other innocents. As it stood, however, the chance of the shooter being subdued was zero. He guessed correctly that the club goers were unarmed and unwilling to defend themselves. They were easy prey, and made themselves such willingly.

This is the combination of arrogance and apathy that metal rages against. Arrogance is the unwillingness to be honest about one’s own capacity and ability (in this case, an inflated sense of self-worth so as to expect protection from others at any and all costs coupled with the delusion that one is such a good person that nobody would dream of hurting them for any reason), and apathy is the unwillingness to be proactive in taking steps to deter crises before they arise. Both of these traits are staples of mainstream thought, be it the conformity-supporting social conservativism of the ’80s or the diversity-enforcing global permissiveness of today. The pragmatic solution is clear: Put the responsibility on each individual to do their part in protecting themselves, and random acts of violence will be deterred. Individual responsibility is an alien concept to mainstream society, which is why metal needs to continue to spread it no matter the criticism and pushback it may draw.

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31 thoughts on “Tom Araya’s Second Amendment Pragmatism”

  1. Ggallin1776 says:

    Even though i dont like the new album,this made me kinda want to buy it or atleast buy the guy a drink.fuck gun control.

  2. John D. says:

    Pragmatism no doubt is the way to go, but I don’t think this will ever have a clear solution. That Dallas sniper succeeded in picking off five cops, and those cops were armed. Those cops couldn’t save their own lives. There will always be the concern of firearms getting into the hands of one who is psychotic or just cracks living under all the pressure and stress of contemporary society and is pushed over the edge. There’s no sure way to weed out those who might misuse the weapon. There are situations where responsible firearm owners end up in a situation where there is a fatal accident. Not intended, but shit happens.

    On the other hand, there’s no denying that in that nightclub mass shooting, there would’ve been far fewer killed if someone or others had weapons to take out that psycho. Yet I find it very hard to imagine individuals drinking and dancing and enjoying each other’s company with guns in holsters. Further envisioned it can turn really surreal. A Freudian would have a field day.

    Then I think of inner city public schools where the attempt to curb or prevent possible violence is done by having metal detectors and armed security at the entrances. Schools then begin to take on properties of prisons. That in itself is enough to make a kid feel like a caged beast. Planted in the brain then is the fantasy of blasting the security guards and escaping.

    It’s also definitely counterproductive leaving the populace at large defenseless and with no means of self-protection, left to be picked off by some psycho with visions of martyrdom glory like shooting fish in a barrel. No matter which way one looks at this it is grim and depressing. I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all solution. As matters stand now, it does look like the only viable option is each person taking care of one’s own family and friends within one’s own particular circumstances. Do what you need to do to feel safe and empowered within your individual realm.

    1. Interracial Porn and Arghoslent says:

      “Yet I find it very hard to imagine individuals drinking and dancing and enjoying each other’s company with guns in holsters.”

      You don’t live in the South do you?

      1. John D. says:

        Yeah, I certainly could’ve worded that better. That’s the difficulty after opening one’s mouth on a comment board. Make one point, trying to keep it short, and many other valid lines of thought open up. I was addressing the argument that Corey M. made in his article here, that if only, etc. With all due respect, I can’t imagine those that attended that particular venue in Florida toting guns. That’s as feasible as hippies shooting skeet at a Love-in. Ain’t gonna happen. Certain groups however I definitely can imagine drinking and dancing with guns in holsters. Put on your cowboy hat and do-si-do. But not Clubbers or Ravers on ecstasy, or the general mass of indie rock fans, or the general types who attended that Eagles of Death Metal show in France.

        1. Homosexual Tendencies says:

          In that case, natural selection kicked in, yo.

          1. John D. says:

            Calling it natural selection raises some interesting questions, yo. One wonders where to place the human as part of the animal kingdom. A tiger doesn’t use a bazooka to blast other animals in the jungle. But the tiger kills to feed. Yet one wonders, if a tiger could use a weapon to serve its basic food needs and to take out its enemies, would it? Tony the Tiger is boss, yo.

            1. C. M. says:

              In this case, everyone is a tiger, but the ones in the nightclub were declawed and happy about it.

              1. morbideathscream says:

                You can’t fix stupid.


          I can’t imagine those that attended that particular venue in Florida toting guns

          Hey, if that’s the choice they make then they have chosen the consequences as well.

          1. John D. says:

            Your name says it all, Crushed Skulls Everywhere. I’d hate to see you in a mosh pit, swinging your arms around, knocking people over, and stomping down on their heads like you work in wine country crushing grapes. There can be another edgy satirical section at this site where like there have been reviews of beer, you can review your grueling concoctions of fermented brains.

            1. Homosexual Tendencies says:

              Mosh pits are only for the manliest men to satisfy their homosexual urges. RAM IT IN!

            2. CRUSHED SKULLS EVERYWHERE says:

              Could also be a great place to swap tips on how to avoid prions.

  3. 2^1024 says:

    Someone once asked Prozak what his favourite reality show was?
    He replied it was America.

  4. matia says:

    So america managed to leap out of the wild west after a few hundred only to realize that they shouldnt…

  5. 1349 says:

    His speech was nationalist rather than pragmatic.
    He’s trying to tell whites that they have *problems*.

    1. C. M. says:

      Nationalist? He praised one nation of whites for doing things better than his own nation of whites.

      1. 1349 says:

        Any good nationalist wants every nation to live in its own secure country. In this view his speech is nationalist.

        1. C.M. says:

          That’s quite an extrapolation. All we can say for sure based Arya’s statement here is that he is critical of the US’s attitude at large toward guns. What he thinks of other nations and how they ought to handle their own business is unknown and irrelevant anyway. Let’s stick to the facts.

          1. 1349 says:

            The idea of his speech, as i see it, is that citizens should be able to defend themselves, their fellow countrymen and their country against invaders.
            He might be criticizing the US (not exactly, btw, since there have been terror acts in many other places recently) but that is because he wants the US to be a secure country.

            1. C.M. says:

              Okay, that much is clear and we agree on that. If anything I’d say that Arya’s speech was nationalistic by accident.

              1. Can you survive the blitzkrieg says:

                You don’t understand man, you didn’t read it…. on weed.

  6. Rainer Weikusat says:

    I’m usually not fond of conspiracy theories as they imply a scheming, superior intelligence and intelligence isn’t a very human trait (unless being paid to employ it and even than only if it absolutely can’t be avoided) but something I noted about the situation in both Germany and England a while ago is that most people don’t need any arms to kill me or at least harm me seriouslu whenever they so desire (I’ve been beaten unconcsious for essentially no reason beyond “Yes, I can!” three times in my life and had a couple of less drastic, similar encounters) because they’re all a lot taller than me. Eg, wearing a polo neck sweater as male person on a Saturday afternoon in Mainz is seriously unwise as one is bound to encounter marauding groups of drunk yobs from the surrounding villages who are wont to attack “whoever seems »gay« to them”, presumably because they’re frustrated because they lost out on female-male-combination game for another time.

    These people are obviously not happy with the idea that the pyhsically weak (or believed to be weak) they enjoy bullying around entirely without risk to themselves could end up with the means to defend themselves effectively.

    1. OliveFox says:

      Do some pull ups my nigga.

      1. Rainer Weikusat says:

        Assuming I was a trained boxer, I’d probably be a welterweight and no amount of pull ups would enable me to compete successsfully with equally trained heavyweights. Also, I don’t suffer from lack of movement as I don’t own a car and have some other ‘rather energetic’ hobbies (»sport« explicitly not being among them — I rather spend a few hours walking speedily than run around in hamster wheel in some building and pay for the privilege).

        But that’s really besides the point: An unarmed society is one where people aren’t shot dead but beaten to death. Eg, a certain band recently featured here (Absurd) rose to notoriety in the mid-1990 because the members killed a fifteen year old boy (Sandro Beyer) and used a photo of his tombstone as album cover. This kind of violence is asymmetric as the perpetrators have to be a lot stronger than the prospective victims to be able to do so with a casual amount of effort. That’s not particularly frightening for average men as they don’t have to fear much from other average men and/or at least a realistic chance to defend themselves (assuming no training on either side) unless they’re outnumbered (the story is rather different for women). Any kind of arm which drastically changes this natural order of things based on comparatively little training and regardless of physical strength is obviously very scary and must be strengstens verboten.

        NB: Hyberbole.

        1. John D. says:

          Good argument based on scale, Rainer. One might have a better weapon than someone else, or just a naturally larger body frame, and there’s likely another who has an even better weapon or bigger body frame. This isn’t even to take into account skill in use, and the brains and good judgement to know when and where to make best use of one’s advantage. Some may have the best weapon and the physical gifts of a greek god, and still be an impulsive peabrain, that another with more brains and just a scrawny body can take out using a slingshot. Pushed to the furthest extreme, the whole argument can be ratcheted up to what happened in the Nuclear Arms race. Finally it became a matter of a stockpiling of nuclear warheads, well beyond what would be needed to cause mass destruction. One wonders what society would actually look like if there was an unstrained and unregulated flow of weapons and everyone had a firearm. Then it might turn in some way like the Nuclear Arms race, where one firearm isn’t enough, and strategic war-games broke out like chess games. Naturally occurring would be immense tension and risk-filled moves or stalemates based on threat of large-scale damage that could be done or amount of firepower stockpiled.

          You can’t trouble a knuckle-dragging caveman to think of these things. In some by their flippant and cavalier attitudes I smell hipsterism or the desire only to be seen by others as the coolest and most badass.

          This is a discussion to be had by adults, but unfortunately we live in a culture of the “eternally youthful.”

    2. C. M. says:

      Deterrence is always preferable to retribution, but the two have a chicken-and-egg causal relationship.

    3. Daily Public Service Anouncement says:

      “Since the middle of the 20th century black polo necks have been closely associated with radical academics, philosophers, artists and intellectuals.”

      But seriously, carry some peperspray in your purse.

      1. Rainer Weikusat says:

        Pepper spray is generally a »prohibited weapon«, too. Apart from that, please don’t be so naive to actually try this. While the psychological effect may be quite drastic to someone not used to capsaicin in inconvenient locations, it’s completely harmless and wears off fairly quickly. This may give you a chance to run away very quickly provided you’re dealing with a fairly harmless, lone attacker, but in any other case, just running a away quickly is a much better idea as there’s a chance that the attacker will forget about his current reason for being enraged within in a short amount of time and meeting him again, which is bound to happen, will then be mostly harmless.

        Immediately after he recovered from the effect, and for some time after as that’s not something which is easily forgotten, he’ll be in a state of scream bloody murder which will wash away whatever civilized restraint he might still possess and you won’t get him with that a 2nd time. This doesn’t event account for the pals he’s likely to have around who might hammer you to a pulp in spontaneous enragement after the saw what you did to their buddy. And you won’t get them with the spray after using it once, either.

        1. Joylees Extermination of Enemies says:

          “This may give you a chance to run away very quickly provided you’re dealing with a fairly harmless, lone attacker, but in any other case, just running a away quickly is a much better idea as there’s a chance that the attacker will forget about his current reason for being enraged within in a short amount of time and meeting him again, which is bound to happen, will then be mostly harmless.”

          I always advocate permanent solutions to any and all problems one might face, otherwise these problems will just persist. Just call it societal improvement if anyone objects.

    4. LostInTheANUS says:

      Get a knife.

  7. Get Napalm On Them says:

    1 long gun/1 sidearm/10000 rounds for each is your duty

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