Caleb Keeter, guitarist for Texas country outfit the Josh Abbott Band, was a self-proclaimed lifelong supporter of Second Amendment rights — until last night.
On Sunday, he survived the deadliest mass shooting by a sole gunman in American history. His band played the main stage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas in the mid-afternoon, just hours before a gunman opened fire from a hotel room 32 floors above the crowd. At least 58 people were killed, and more than 500 others were injured. Thousands more witnessed the carnage up-close as they ran to safety.
Keeter was among the thousands. On Monday morning, he tweeted a message: “I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life,” he wrote. “Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was.”
He went on to describe that members of his crew were licensed to carry weapons and had “legal firearms on the bus. They were useless.”
“We need gun control RIGHT. NOW.” He wrote that his “biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it.”
— Caleb Keeter (@Calebkeeter) October 2, 2017
Though other musicians from the country festival have expressed their horror at the massacre on social media, Keeter is the first to so pointedly disavow ardent Second Amendment supporters and call for gun control.
So far, most seem to have taken an ostensibly apolitical, “thoughts-and-prayers” approach. Jason Aldean, who was closing the festival when the shooting began and fled from the stage as the gunman opened fire, posted as much on Instagram. The shooting was “beyond horrific,” he said, assuring his followers that he and his crew were safe. “My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”
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Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still dont know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe. My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night. #heartbroken #stopthehate
One notable exception: In an interview with Fox & Friends Monday morning, performer Kayla Jones said the attack made her “want to, you know, carry conceal.” She told the hosts by phone that, in the wake of the shooting, “our Second Amendment right is enforced in my mind for me.”