Musician Sharon Van Etten released a track Tuesday dedicated to the 49 people who were murdered when a gunman opened fire on a gay nightclub in Orlando June 12, in the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
On her Bandcamp page, Van Etten wrote that she was home with her parents in New Jersey when she heard about the the massacre and was devastated. "Hate, violence, and intolerance has always upset me, but I haven't been this overwhelmed with sadness and disbelief in a long time," she wrote. "The victims were only trying to be themselves and be comfortable and safe in their surroundings. That safety was violated out of fear and with a gun." Despite the nature of the massacre, the FBI does not believe the attack was a hate crime.
Thinking about what she could do to help promote change, Van Etten decided the issue of gun violence deserved significant attention. She wrote "Not Myself" for the victims of the Orlando attack but chose to support the research and awareness work of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, which she described as "a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities." The proceeds from the sale of her song will go to support this group, according to her Bandcamp site. Since the attack, LGBT gun control groups have formed and are making gun control an LGBT issue.
The song, with lyrics including "I want you to be yourself around me, I know it's too much to take," is harrowing to listen to, but perhaps it will have its desired impact. "I hope we can all come together to help prevent another massacre like this and end gun violence," Van Etten wrote, explaining why she wrote the song.