I first heard Natalie Maines’s version of ‘Mother,’ the Pink Floyd song, while sitting alone in my car on a particularly difficult Saturday morning. It was the day after Adam Lanza took his mother’s guns into Sandy Hook elementary school and wreaked destruction, and like many people across America, I’d spent most of the previous day trying to grasp what had happened. I really mean grasp: like so many tragedies that don’t involve me directly yet engross me as they unfold in raw, real time on the Web, this one quickly became a spectral burden that was difficult to shake.
I couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened in Newtown. Yet I also couldn’t feel anything that seemed right. I didn’t know those kids or the adults who died trying to save them, so my grief was non-specific and honestly felt somewhat hypocritical. As for outrage? That had seemed like the right response at first. But as the arguments piled up in great, giant heaps, with righteous opinionators loudly declaiming about gun control and mental health and even religion, I kept thinking that I needed some quiet – a moment to figure out how my actual experience related to this distant and, to me, virtual reality.
— Ann Powers on Sandy Hook, Pink Floyd, Natalie Maines and the West Memphis 3