Following Saturday's tragic attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' life that claimed the lives of six people and wounded several others in Tucson, Arizona, this has been a time for all people of all stripes to think hard about the implications of words and actions.
County Grind is not a political blog, by any means, but I did have a unique opportunity Monday to open up a line of dialogue with Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington, who was born in Arizona, and has spent a good portion of his life there. Most of the conversation centered around the typical topics -- the band's latest album, and opening its North American tour in South Florida next week -- but at the end, I decided to ask Bennington to reflect on a tragedy that hit close to his home. Although our time was up, he insisted to stick around and make a statement -- one that turned out to be quite moving -- which we have printed below.
New Times: Did you want to say something about the situation in Arizona, with the tragic shooting?
Chester Bennington: "I admit I don't watch the news very often. I knew she got shot, but I don't know the reasons why behind it. We live in a crazy world. There's no explanation for it. I personally feel that violence and war and murder are primitive, and I think that we've evolved as a species beyond that. Unfortunately some people still feel that's a means to an end.
"Peace and love and communication are the way that we all resolve our issues with each other. There's a non-violent way to express yourself and get your point across -- regardless of what you're saying or what your point is. In a free society, people have a right to believe whatever they want to believe. That's their business and they can speak their mind.
"But nobody, even in a free society, has the right to take another person's life. Ever. That's something that we really need to move beyond."