If It Were Up to Me

This song was written after the Jonesboro schoolyard shooting incident. She actually didn't realize she was writing it at the time. She was talking to herself while she was driving, and suddently realized that it was a song.

I find this song very powerful. Experts can (and probably will) debate about the cause of the dramatic increase in violence among children. While these debates are going on, more children are dying. Cheryl states the obvious: if we can keep guns away from children, they can't use them to kill others.

The song lists all the excuses that people put forth for the increase in violence among children. The song ends with her saying: "But if it were up to me, I'd take away the guns."

Some have interpreted that to mean that Cheryl is in favor of getting rid of all guns. I think it is more accurate to say that the song promotes keeping guns away from unsupervised children. My interpretation of the song is that we can debate forever over the "cause" of increased violence, but children will keep getting killed until we do something to make it harder for children to get easy access to firearms.

Cheryl explained once that the song lists possible reasons why the kids were angry. Regardless of the reason for the anger, the reason the shootings happened was because the kids were able to get their hands on guns. Our society has decided that adults should be allowed access to firearms. It then follows that adults should make sure that those firearms don't fall into the hands of kids.

Cheryl mentioned hearing a news report that the 11 year old boy was in his jail cell crying for his mother. It took her breath away, and she was hoping that the kids mother didn't hear that report. Can any of us imagine what it must be like for a parent to find out that their child has done something terrible?

Rounder saw this song as a way to promote the album Sylvia Hotel. This song was released as the first single from the album. Every time it was played on a AAA station, Rounder donated $5 to the Center for the Prevention of Handgun Violence. This is an organization allied with Handgun Control (ala the "Brady Bill".)

After the Columbine School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, this song was adopted as a sort of anthem. The local radio station played it every half hour. When the NRA decided to still hold their convention nearby, Cheryl was asked to perform the song during a protest meeting.

The interest in this song was significant, not just in Colorado, but around the country. Rounder reinstated its offer to donate $5 every time the song was played on a AAA radio station. They also, with permission from Cheryl, "gave away" the song. It could be downloaded in its entirety from several web sites.

Garth Brooks created a medley of this song and "Let's Get Together" to create a song called "Right Now" for his album Chris Gaines - Greatest Hits.

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Lyrics

Song Clips

No song clips available

Recordings

The song If It Were Up to Me appears on the following 6 albums:

Life of Chris Gaines
by Brooks, Garth~Gaines, Chris
Edge
by Near, Holly
Stop Handgun Violence
by Various
Sylvia Hotel
by Wheeler, Cheryl
Touring Troubadours
by Various
Live at the World Cafe
by Various

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