Remembering Ani DiFranco’s ‘To The Teeth’ In Light Of The Newtown Massacre

On a more personal note, the past 36+ hours have been extremely difficult for me, as I am from a Connecticut town just 20 minutes from Newton. Both Newtown and the enclave of Sandy Hook are places that I have spent time throughout my life. It’s utterly inconceivable to me that 27 people were murdered there yesterday morning. As I have tried to wrap my head around this senseless violence, I keep coming back Ani Di Franco’s song about gun violence, To The Teeth

When To The Teeth came out on an album of the same name in 1999, it was on the heels of school shootings like the ones in Littleton, Colorado; Jonesboro, Arkansas; and West Paducah, Kentucky. When DiFranco sang:

school kids keep trying to teach us / what guns are all about / and every year now like Chrismas / some kid gets the milkfed surbarban blues / reaches for the available arsenal / and saunters off to make the news

it was easy to think about those school kids with guns, the ones who lived in the South or the Midwest, places that have a more vibrant gun culture, places where people belong to the NRA and care about hunting. It felt like something that happens "out there," over there, to other people. Gun nuts, even. 

Well, now it is 13 years later and school kids are still trying to teach us what guns are all about. And now they’re doing it, literally, in my backyard. Thirteen years later, this song still fits. Thirteen years later, the song is still devastating and Ani is still right:

if I hear one more time about a fool’s right to his tools of rage / I’m going to take all my friends and move to Canada / and we’re going to die of old age

My thoughts are with the victims, their family, and the Newtown, Connecticut, community. 

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.