“Darkness” (Explicit) by Eminem
Trigger Warnings & Themes:
Murder suicide, mass shootings, gun violence, substance use, trauma, Las Vegas (2017) shooting, “schizo” remark.
War on gun violence, politics, regulations, gun laws, ongoing news coverage, America’s issues at the forefront, double meanings, swearing, rap, mental health, risks and vulnerabilities, stigma.
“I don’t wanna be alone in the darkness anymore
(Hello darkness, my old friend)
Here I am, alone again
Can’t get out of this hole I’m in
It’s like the walls are closin’ in
You can’t help me, no one can
…Feels like I’m loathing in Las Vegas
Haven’t got the vaguest why I’m so lost
But I’d make you this small wager
If I bet you I’ll be in tomorrow’s paper
Who would the odds favor?
….Round after round after round, I’m gettin’ loaded
That’s a lot of shots, huh? (Double entendre)
And I don’t wanna be alone in the darkness
I don’t wanna be alone in the darkness
I don’t wanna be alone in the darkness anymore
…I don’t hear no sound, I should get ready for the show now
Wait is this the whole crowd? I thought this shit was sold out
…Then something told me relax and just hope for the show to be packed
Don’t wanna hit the stage before they fill each row to the max
‘Cause that’d be totally wack, you can’t murder a show nobody’s at
But what if nobody shows?
…Plan is a go to wreck shit, cameras in all directions
The press is ’bout to go apeshit, bananas on all the networks
…Fuck the media, I’m goin’ all out, this is war
…Leanin’ out the window, going Kaiser Soze
Finger on the trigger, but I’m a licensed *owner
With no prior convictions, so law says sky’s the limit
So my supplies infinite, strapped like I’m a soldier
Got ’em hopping over walls and climbing fences
Some of ’em John Travolta, stayin’ alive by inches
(Hello darkness, my old friend)
Cops are knockin’, oh, fuck, thought I blocked the entrance
Guess show time is over, no suicide note
Just a note for target distance
But if you’d like to know the reason why I did this
You’ll never find a motive, truth is I have no idea
I am just as stumped, no signs of mental illness
Just tryin’ to show ya the reason why we’re so fucked
‘Cause by the time it’s over, won’t make the slightest difference
…The attacker opening fire outside the church during a morning worship session
He unloaded the chaotic and terror, making his way inside
This, a deadly shooting at a food festival in Northern California
Three people, so far, dead
So, I wanted to do this blog post since I first heard the song when it came out. It seemed really important to me to collect my thoughts about it, although I have to admit, this post has taken a long time to write–a long time to “get right”–as I started back in February, muddled through in March and am now publishing in April, phew!
The procrastination has been high for this game because I wanted the result to be as perfect as possible but as we all know: perfection doesn’t exist. So out of all my projects, I want this one to launch first, just to get it out there and out of the way. That way I can be free to work on my other blog post projects, ASAP. 🙂
With that said, onto my discussion of this song!
When I first watched this music video and listened to the song, I, too, thought it was about Em himself, the double entendres being cleverly veiled until I got through the middle to end portion of the song when the truth is revealed. I think it’s really unique to do a song from both a killer’s perspective (all respect to the victims of course, kinda like “I don’t like Monday’s” comes to mind) and a perspective that leads the listener on to think one thing when meaning a whole other thing instead.
I was concerned that Em had relapsed in his substance use recovery but when the truth was revealed, I felt pretty floored.
Okay, we’re gonna get a little political and talk about the sensitive subject of mass shootings.
Personally, this video was the first time I ever heard about the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, I believe because I also happened to be in the hospital during that time frame. So this was all new to my eyes and ears. I don’t think we necessarily need stricter gun laws (although, I’ll take that too considering my next point) but a complete ban on weapons. At least, a ban on these more dangerous weapons like the assault rifles and automatic bullet spitting ones. I don’t think the whole “Oh it’s our second amendment right” really makes all that much sense because guns aren’t going into the right hands, general society is not a militia and even if we tried to make a better understanding for what is involved in “right hands” vs “wrong hands” it may not even stop future crimes from occurring.
And of course, as a mental health related blog and advocate, we have to consider the fact, the very real fact, that more gun deaths are involved in suicide than they even are in homicide. And that blaming mental health conditions for acts of violence perpetuated by people not in the right frame of mind (a homicidal frame of mind, more so) is dangerous, stigmatizing, perpetuates narratives that us “crazy” people are dangers to those around us (rather than more often just being one to ourselves–and the fact that we as, mental health clients, are MORE likely than the general public to be a VICTIM of these crimes than the perpetrators themselves, which is a fact almost always overlooked) and that we’re someone or something to be feared, prodded and ostracized.
I am eternally grateful (as odd as that is!!) that this choice of depicting a mass shooting was done with a perpetrator NOT living with any diagnosable mental health condition, so we are able to luckily get passed that trope. I think there would have been drastic consequences if it was done on any other shooting that is almost immediately swept together with the “crazy” narrative as per the sensational media.
Additionally, I feel that while it makes sense that other brain disorders like anti-social and narcissism fall under diseases of the mind, I am still woefully bitter that we, survivors of those people, are lumped together in the same category when we, again, are least likely to cause similar or further irreparable harm towards others “just because” it was done on us. And, it can’t be dismissed, at the same time, that SOME people do. Some people who are abused go on to abuse others. Yet not everyone does. Science is still trying to discover and probably will be trying to discover why and how this happens for decades more. Like, I get why because they’re both dealt with by the BRAIN, and I still hate it. Ugh.
Secondly, I think the media plays a big role in romanticizing and glamorizing these types of mass shootings. Maybe some of it is the terminology itself, but saying “largest mass shooting since…” etc. and putting up the photographs of the shooter’s just heightens this sense of romanticism about creating these types of scenarios for copycat murderers or political agendas in the future. And I think the media has to take some responsibility for that, it just probably never will. 😛
Personally, I’m quite the Master Avoider so when these types of violent crimes occur, I bury my head in the sand and pretend like it’s not happening, not until at least a year or two later where I can learn about it and hoard videos on it, etc. It’s, for now, how I am. Which explains why I never heard of the Las Vegas one. </3
Back to the song itself, it’s obviously dark and I think a lot of people who first watched or listened to it wondered why THIS shooting. Why focus in on THIS one? Honestly, I don’t know. But again, I feel the fact that’s it’s not about a “mentally ill” person “snapping” because the shooter had no signs of any condition, and that time would tell what motives or lack of motives were involved, that it had to be a concert since Em plays in concerts himself, that he’d (and others) had to have crafted the words the right way, get the music together, shoot (no pun intended) the music video, set up that website….All of this takes a lot of time and communication, jobs, work and circulation of intentions. So, that’s why I think it took so long or came out so “late” in the game.
Also, when it says “licensed *owner” I always heard that as “licensed DONOR” like an organ donor. I was surprised to find that it WASN’T that. :O
I also think that last line within the song portion itself (before all the news reports) is so hauntingly true as well: that once that shooting is over, it doesn’t make any difference, we still have the same old arguments going around and around, the laws don’t change, the politicians are too slow or unwilling, people’s minds are set in stone instead of being more malleable and we open the doors to another attack happening all over again.
And like in his music video:
When will it stop? When enough people care.
It’s so true. We’re gonna need more marches, more strong and powerful voices, more campaigns, more awareness, more laws, more steps (hopefully) to close amounts of elimination of guns entirely (at least in civilian hands, let’s not get started on the whole police officer’s issues) and well, more.
Unfortunately, I think we’ll be waiting a long, long time. The stance that the world is becoming afraid to visit America because of our out of whack gun violence, is eerie and daunting. And horrifying.
Maybe one day, with one less bloody bullet, we’ll be okay.
Thank you so much for reading!! xxx ❤ ❤ ❤ Stay safe from covid-19, peeps!!