Dear Craig Morgan,
My level of sorrow is such a depth that I cannot find the words to match it. I won’t try. It would be painfully inadequate. Just know I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for so many reasons.
Mainly, I’m sorry because no parent should ever outlive a child.
I’m sorry because as a fan of yours since the very beginning, I know how much family was a central part of who you are.
I’m sorry because my favorite song of yours is “Lotta Man In That Little Boy” for one reason: You could hear a father’s love and pride with every soul-reaching note you sang.
Yes, I am your typical obsessive country music fan. The one who is emotionally invested in the music of the artists that we love. Your work heals our heartache; soothes our pain; helps us mourn our own losses.
I’m a fan of yours to such caliber that I took a two-pack CD combo of yours to Dirty Santa at my Memaw’s one year just so I could get it back. Yes, I love you and your music to such a degree that you’re part of the reason that we no longer do Dirty Christmas at my Grandma’s — because me and my cousin Jessica kept doing things like bringing presents that we wanted to intentionally get back. As a fan who celebrated Jesus’s birth with the gift of your music to herself, I’m so sorry now for your own loss.
I’m sorry because it feels personal.
Not because my niece went to school with your sons, but because I’ve met you twice. One morning at House Blend, you and your wife were so extremely kind while we chatted that I spent the rest of the day telling everybody in earshot that I “had coffee with Craig Morgan.”
When they replied, “Oh my God, are you serious?”
I said, “Well… not so much had coffee with Craig Morgan as had coffee at the same place Craig Morgan was having coffee, but you know… kinda same thing.”
So, see, in my world… that meant we were “friends.”
I have a lot of friends in my head like that.
And that’s part of the reason why I need to apologize to you. Not just for your gut-wrenching loss, but because I was mad at you, sir.
And I don’t like being mad at my friends.
I was mad at you because being from the same town, I felt like we were on the same side. The same kind of people. I was mad at you and the High School and the entire county, if I’m honest, for the way they allowed the “prank” turned vandalism to take place. And how they just covered it up. Because I knew, as did we all, that it was preferential treatment. I knew that had it been a poor kid or black kid that wouldn’t have been the case. And I knew you knew it.
And I didn’t think that was fair. Because I expected better out of somebody that’s such a good person — you, sir.
Then, Orlando happened.
And I was really mad.
Mad at your comments following the Pulse nightclub shooting, Mr. Morgan.
I get that you are a NRA member and a hunter and a gun lover. I’m not. Clearly. However, it’s okay. We’re all entitled to our opinions and that’s what makes us Americans. Nevertheless, as a celebrity, as a public figure, your words have weight. And your opinions matter. And in the wake of a senseless national tragedy that allowed one man to kill 49 people and wound another 53, you proudly stood up and told Fox News that it “wasn’t a gun problem.” It was the “person that had the gun” problem.
I was so, so disappointed in you for that, Craig Morgan.
Because when one person is allowed to buy a killing machine with no waiting that can kill that many people in matter of minutes — it is a gun problem.
And you don’t need a weapon that shoots 45 rounds a minute and multi-round ammunition to down a deer, Mr. Morgan.
I wrote about my anger then on my blog posts and implored you to think about how you would feel if that was your son that was taken in a senseless act of gun violence. I feel horrible now for saying that. But I feel even worse that it’s still on my mind.
Of course I know that my words aren’t powerful enough to make a tragedy happen, but still… I feel sick at my stomach upon reflecting back on that.
And for that, I want to apologize.
But mainly what I feel the need to apologize for is this: I still wonder that.
Without question the gun lovers reading this will stand up and shout, “I’m sure Mr. Morgan and his family are still advocates of the river!”
I wouldn’t dare speculate.
I just know it appears that your beautiful son’s young life was lost too soon to a tragic accident. That it appears he was doing everything right. It’s one of those things that are inexplicable. And painful beyond measure. Not just for those it affects personally, but anyone around to witness such a tragedy.
May God give you and your family the strength to get through this time, Mr. Morgan. You are in our hearts and prayers because you are so, so loved.
And still — God forgive me for wondering this — the emotional hangover that I have after last night’s Espy Awards, I can’t help but wonder: What if it wasn’t just an accident?
What if your beautiful gift from God, your son’s life wasn’t just taken because it was something unpreventable that happened — what if it was caused?
What if it was caused by the carelessness or lawlessness of someone else, and what if our society kept allowing it to happen without the will, courage, or conviction to act?
I encourage you, in the wake of a tragedy that I cannot even fathom, to think about all those mothers and fathers that lost their children in Orlando; the mothers that lost children in Sandy Hook, and think about how you would feel if you looked up and saw a celebrity that you respect, maybe even one you adore, advocating loudly from their public platform that there’s nothing wrong with the law that allowed your son to be so easily taken.
Much like your loss, I can’t imagine how that would feel.
My prayers are with you and your family.
Like so many others from Dickson County, I feel like I know the kind of man you are — because we’ve witnessed your generosity multiple times. I feel like you will, undoubtedly, use this for good just like you have everything else, good and bad, that you’ve been handed.
We can’t bring your son back, Mr. Morgan. But we still have the ability to save others.
Because I feel that speaking out is something that God has called me to do, I urge you and your like-minded public figures to please hear my plea and the cries of so many others that are tired of gun violence in this country.
Your words matter, Sir.
I imagine there was nothing you wouldn’t give for your son — including your own life. Now just imagine that you’re that mother who buried a child due to another mass shooting in America and you’ve just been told by a celebrity that an AR-15 and some multi-round ammunition is more important than her kid.
God be with you and your family, Sir.
Your Forever Fan With a Heavy Heart