In 1991, country singer Garth Brooks ignited a controversy with the music video for his version of “The Thunder Rolls.” While the song was about a woman who was cheated on, the video was darker, and implied the woman in the song was abused and finally shot the man. The video was banned from country video cable channels and eventually made it onto VH-1. I can’t even find it on YouTube. More recently, Miranda Lambert produced “Gunpowder and Lead” about the moments before an abusive husband comes back home after being paroled. That song only has a concert video.
In a real sense, songs like this describe a revenge fantasy. A woman in an abusive relationship should pack up and leave if at all possible, much like the woman and her daughter who stayed with Miranda Lambert’s family who inspired the song. Still, the stories alone use an entertainment medium to make women see that they have other options than staying in a bad situation.
Lefty media figures try to create a vision of country music culture filled with redneck, stupid, racist men who want to keep women down. In reality, good men also enjoy the songs about women finding their power, even if they don’t think it should involve homicide. Think about this example. Country fans didn’t turn on the Dixie Chicks when they produced their version of “Goodbye Earl” where an abusive husband was positioned. They turned on the Dixie Chicks when they badmouthed their president on foreign soil, an offense worthy of a drone strike in Obama’s America.
This goes back to gun culture. In the cities, guns are seen as a weapon of last resort, best used by police. The people they see in the city with guns are using them for crime. In rural America, guns represent autonomy. They are a means to feed yourself without a supermarket and to protect yourself when law enforcement is far enough away that you could be dead and buried by the time they can respond to 911. When liberals talk about fighting a rapist by being a better prepared victim, they can’t conceive of any other means in polite society to stop a crime. When conservatives talk about concealed carry, they know that people sometimes need the fear of God to be moral.