Jeremy, Suicide & School Shootings

Jeremy spoke in class today 

Clearly I remember, pickin’ on the boy / Seemed a harmless little f*ck

Ooh, but we unleashed a lion / Gnashed his teeth and bit the recess lady’s breast

How can I forget?

Jeremy Delle was a 15-year old kid in Richardson, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He showed up late to class one day and the teacher told him to go get a note from the office. When he came back he stood in front of his classmates, put a .357 magnum in his mouth, and pulled the trigger.

This is why Eddie Vedder wrote the lyrics to Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy,” from the album Ten, which released August 27, 1991. Jeremy ended his life on January 8, 1991. Vedder read a newspaper article about this horrific event, and almost immediately wrote the song.

After years of watching the (edited) version of the music video, I assumed that “Jeremy” stood in front of the class and shot (some of) his classmates. A while back I started thinking about how prominent school shootings have become in the U.S. since around 1997. Then I wondered why Pearl Jam would have released such a song some 6 years earlier. Clearly it wasn’t exactly about a school shooting, per se, but I really don’t think there’s much difference.

As I get more into this (horrendous) subject, I’m quickly reminded of such terrible events as the gunman on the clock tower at the University of Texas, who shot and killed 14 people in 1966. But it seems like with the Paducah, KY (1997); Jonesboro, AR (1998) and Littleton, CO (1999) shootings, it has taken on a whole different level of evil. One where student kills student.

Love, hate or whatever you feel about Marilyn Manson, I think he nailed it when he said the following. Michael Moore was interviewing him for his film, Bowling For Columbine, and he asked Manson what he would say to the kids of Columbine. He answered:

“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.”

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4 thoughts on “Jeremy, Suicide & School Shootings

  1. Wow. Now that’s a short yet powerful quote.

    That is definitely one of my biggest fears, looking ahead to motherhood: that as my child grows up, I don’t really know him/her. Can you imagine what little but impactful steps could’ve been taken to save little Jaheem, Megan (“MySpace suicide”) or the many others who’re hurting?

    That’s why I love To Write Love on Her Arms: http://www.twloha.com/ Such a wonderful movement.

    Thanks for the post/quote.

  2. Hey Cheryl, thanks for the response. My first-born is less than 2 weeks from being here, and I am totally with you about wanting to make sure I know him, primarily through listening to him.

    Thanks for reading. Enjoy the day.

  3. Man, that’s intense. What a fantastic album. That’s no doubt a tough story, but what the 90s music brought to us was a sense of realism. You had groups singing about getting laid, abusing drugs/alcohol, and glorifying moral decay. Once Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains hit, you started heard about REAL life – even if you didn’t understand what they were talking about you knew that they were talking about something that needed attention.

    As for the school shootings, it’s a scary thing. You hear people say “man, I’m glad I don’t live in the middle east where people blow themselves up outside a cafe” or “I’m thankful we live in America”. True. I am very thankful, but we’re just as screwed up. We may not have people blowing themselves up, but you send your kid off to school now not knowing if some other deranged kid is going to open fire on everyone. It’s a sick world.

  4. Wow man. This is good stuff. I really like the pointing-out of the difference in 80s and 90s music. As much as the 90s seemingly turned everything “dark,” it definitely brought real life to the forefront; and issues that people were actually dealing with. Not just the fun cover-up stuff that had been going on.

    Thanks for reading, my friend.

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