The Texas-based Josh Abbott Band was done playing at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas and members of the band and crew were on the concert grounds when a gunman rained bullets down on the huge crowd Sunday night.
“Some of my crew members were hit with shrapnel, but not injured,” band leader Josh Abbott posted on Facebook. “We are deeply disturbed by this horrific act of violence and send our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. It was a long awful night but we are blessed to be alive and healthy. Hug your loved ones tight.”
The experience had such an effect on lead guitarist Caleb Keeter that he changed his position on gun control.
“I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night,” he tweeted Monday morning. “I cannot express how wrong I was. ... Enough is enough. Writing my parents and the love of my life a goodbye last night and a living will because I felt like I wasn’t going to live through the night was enough for me to realize that this is completely and totally out of hand. ... We need gun control RIGHT. NOW. My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it.”
Some on Twitter were critical of his about-face:
Because it shouldn’t take this much to express empathy. These deaths are preventable. Why wasn’t columbine, sandy hook, pulse enough?!?!— ♥️ (@BlkCarmenSDiego) October 2, 2017
But this was preventable. And it's such a massive scale...I'm having a hard time being impressed and/or welcoming.— t (@dopaminediscord) October 2, 2017
Others were supportive, or at least accepting:
It's frustrating that some don't call the fire dept until the blaze is at their own front door. But we need more ppl on our side. Welcome.— Heather Maravola (@lilh412) October 2, 2017
Keeter was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, grew up in Belton in Central Texas and currently lives in Denton, according to the band’s website.
“We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses, and legal firearms on the bus,” he said in his tweet. “They were useless.”
Abbott posted his own reaction on Twitter Monday morning:
I'll never unhear those gunshots; and our band & crew will never forget how that moment made them feel. Our hearts are with all the victims— Josh Abbott (@joshabbottband) October 2, 2017
Related stories from Star-Telegram
When pressed about President Trump’s stance on gun laws a day after the deadly Las Vegas shooting during a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “It would be premature for us to talk policy when we don’t know all the facts or what took place.”The White House
A gunman on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino opened fire while country music star Jason Aldean was performing Sunday night a the Route 91 Harvest Festival. At least 59 people, including two off-duty police officers, and wounded more than 500, officials said Monday. Here, see footage of people fleeing the scene and police responding before suspect 64-year-old Stephen Paddock was killed.Storyful and AP