One of the most sobering moments of Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine is when Marilyn Manson is interviewed. When asked by Moore what he would say to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. the two teens behind the Columbine High School massacre, the singer replies “I wouldn’t say a single word to them. I would listen to what they have to say, and that’s what no one did.” That interview showed many that Manson was more than just a provocateur, and humanized him. As shocking and awful as Columbine was, that 1999 shooting, which killed 13, seems almost quaint by comparison these days.
Yesterday, Manson returned to the stage at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, and it appeared that any empathy he had for those killed by gun violence 18 years ago is gone now. Performing in a wheelchair, during the song “WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE,” the singer crooned the song while holding a machine gun with a microphone attached to it. Whether or not that looks cool or not is debatable, but on the same day that a gunman killed 26 by shooting up a church, it was an incredibly tone-deaf move by Manson, who enjoys courting controversy. Perhaps he wasn’t aware of the church massacre, but yesterday was not the time to do that. If he did it to make a point about gun violence, we missed the point.