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Thanks to Steve Bryant for sending me a copy of this song.

A song about gun violence, written after the Columbine tragedy.
It's about personal responsibility, blaming us and not the guns we use to kill.

 

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Lyrics and notes follow ...

Notes by Steve Bryant

I wrote and recorded What Part? the night of the Columbine tragedy in 1999, getting a session player to record the cello the next day. I had been home during the morning and afternoon it occurred, watching the events take place on the cable news networks. I worked for QVC at the time and since weekends are hot, I usually had weekdays off. Like everyone, I was so shocked. Writing and recording the song was very therapeutic for me. As you said, it's about personal responsibility and hopefully served as an answer to the people who thought gun control was the answer.

I sang the song live in my church that next Sunday morning, accompanying myself on the guitar, and received a standing ovation. The next day, I started getting email requests from churches all over the country (our parishioners had phoned and emailed their friends and relatives, who emailed their friends and relatives, etc.) who wanted me to perform the song for them. It was one of the main reasons I left QVC. I figured if I could touch just one person with the anti-violence/personal responsibility message it would be worth it.

I hit the road and, along with my dog Mandy, toured the country by car, doing concerts and seminars with the song. It was an amazing experience. I never took any money for performing at a church; I just wanted to get the word out. It actually led to an entire year on the road, playing regular concerts and festivals. I did get paid for the commercial concerts. Not a lot, but it covered my expenses for the year and I like to think that I did some good along the way.

It's a year I will never forget. I do hate the fact the song is relevant again in 2007.

Lyrics

What Part?
words and music 1999
Steven D. Bryant


Verse:
I don’t blame the parents,
Don’t blame TV.
Don’t blame the President,
Or even society.
I don’t blame the teachers
Or the Internet.
But tell me...
What part of “thou shalt not kill” don’t we get?

I don’t blame the competition,
Or the lack thereof today.
Don’t blame the neo-Nazis,
Or even the NRA.
Don’t blame the Dow or NASDAQ
Or the National Debt.
But tell me...
What part of “thou shalt not kill” don’t we get?

Bridge
I don’t blame the manufacturers,
Or the right to self-defense.
I’m not that religious,
It’s just common sense.

Verse:
I don’t blame the Constitution,
Or the Bill of Rights.
Don’t blame passive resistance,
Wrestling or professional fights.
Don’t blame abject poverty
Or enormous wealth.
But I think maybe, each one of us,
Had better blame himself.


I don’t blame music videos,
Or the lack of censorship.
Don’t blame parental warnings,
Or violent lyrics trying to be hip.
You might call me an idealist,
Tell me I’m all wet.
Crucify my thoughts and deeds
Say that I’m a threat.
One day we’ll live in peace
But it hasn’t happened yet.
Won’t you tell me...
What part of “thou shalt not kill” don’t we get?