I try to not get involved in politics within the professional scope of my life, but as a musician who prizes a well-made instrument above most else, this PISSES ME OFF.
Remember the Federal Government’s high-profile raids last year on the Gibson guitar company? Well, musicians, you’d better get ready, because it’s only just begun:
- US Government Plans to Seize Guitars from Famous Musicians at Summer Music Festivals
- Law Could Be Used to Seize Musicians’ Guitars May Need Fix, Senator Says
- Feds Threaten to Disrupt Summer Concerts
- Nashville Politicians Lamar Alexander Fights to Keep Guitars Out of Border Agents’ Hands
The thing that makes me angry (aside from the Feds having the despicable audacity to steal a man’s guitar) is that when this whole thing started, I made several warning posts on Facebook about this. I was outraged. I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before the Feds got it in their head to come after the people owning these beautiful instruments. I could see it, plain as day. So I posted, vehemently. I saved and copied articles to my Wall. And you know what?
Most of my musician friends called me stupid.
They called me Chicken Little.
They said I was making a mountain out of a mole hill. They said I was blowing things out of proportion.
“Gibson guitars was guilty! The Government will never, ever target musicians.”
In their eyes, I was batshit crazy for even thinking something so dire of our government.
Yeah, well guess what? I think I hear an “I told you so”…
I sincerely hope this Nashville-based senator can get this law changed before the government takes over the music industry. Because while it’s just “famous” musicians now, it will come on down the line until it’s honest players like you and me having the Feds come knocking. Don’t think that will happen? How many people in 1930’s Germany said the same thing — “Oh, it won’t happen to ME, I’m just the little guy.” I know that’s a pretty dire example, but still. Please don’t make the mistake of writing this off. Beginnings of major things never seem huge or important until they are.
Because once the government sticks their foot in this door, once they flex their muscle and get away with it, what’s to make them stop with guitars?
How about vintage instruments or centuries old violins and such?
Or Irish flutes, which are made from exotic woods?
World instruments made in foreign countries?
Imported modern instruments?
The music you play?
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Give the government an inch and they’ll take a mile. Don’t wait to speak up. Spread the word.
[Addendum, May 23rd 2012 9:00am] For those of you claiming I’m making this shit up to be alarmist, read: Has Anyone Actually Had their Guitar Seized? — Les Paul Forums
It HAS happened, folks. It IS happening. And it’s going to KEEP ON happening as long as this loophole in the Lacey Act remains. Want to know how iffy it really is? Read Fretboard Journal’s article on it. Still think this issue is cut and dry? Still want to travel abroad with your guitar?