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Foster the People Respond to ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ Being Pulled From Radio After Sandy Hook Shooting

Foster the People
Jordan Strauss, Getty Images

Foster the People‘s breakthrough smash ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ was pulled from many radio stations in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 26 people dead, most of them young children. The song was a point of contention, due to the lyrics “You better run, better run / Outrun my gun / You better run, better run / Faster than my bullet.” The band has responded to the song being temporarily removed from the airwaves.

FTP frontman Mark Foster has always said that the song was inspired by the Columbine shooting and by the seeming epidemic of teenage mental illness that causes someone to open fire in a school.

Foster issued a full statement about the song and it being pulled from rotations, and how the song was an answer to a trend in school shootings, not a glorification of it.

Foster also said that he is an advocate of stricter gun control laws, especially since he has school-aged little brothers. A close relative of bassist Cubbie Fink also saw the Columbine tragedy unfold before her very eyes as a student, so the issue of guns in schools is a close one to the members of FTP.

He also maintains that the song was meant to create a dialogue about the issue, and respects the decision to “press pause” on the song for now, as a country is in mourning over the loss of innocents.

Read his full statement below:

I wrote ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ when I began to read about the growing trend in teenage mental illness. I wanted to understand the psychology behind it because it was foreign to me. It was terrifying how mental illness among youth had skyrocketed in the last decade. I was scared to see where the pattern was headed if we didn’t start changing the way we were bringing up the next generation.

I wrote that song three years ago. A lot has changed since then, and a lot has stayed the same.

For the past few years I’ve been an advocate for stricter gun control regulations and have been passionate about reforming our laws so this country would be safer. So my little brothers could go to school and I wouldn’t have to worry about them. So people wouldn’t have access to weapons that were capable of large-scale destruction ie: AR-15′s with 30 round magazines.

This song was written as a way to create ongoing dialogue for an issue that was being talked about, but when it came to government intervention, was largely being ignored.

Now, this topic is finally at the forefront of major discussion and will hopefully lead to some big changes in policy that will prevent these acts of violence from happening in the future. That being said, I respect people’s decision to press pause. And if that becomes a catalyst for a bigger conversation that could lead to positive change moving forward, then I absolutely support it.

My heart goes out to Newtown and anyone that’s ever been affected directly or indirectly by gun violence. The only way we’re going to be able to change this, is to raise a loud, booming, unified voice and not let politics get in the way of humanity. We’re all neighbors and this is in our back yard. It’s only going to stay there if we let it. Peace and love.

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