The Acacia Strain Respond To Reports That The Dayton Mass Killer Wore Their Hoodie

This past weekend, America was left utterly shocked and bereft by news of mass shootings in two major US cities. Late on Saturday night, in the second of those two shootings, 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire outside a bar in Dayton’s popular Oregon District. He killed nine people, including his own sister, and wounded at least 26 others before being killed by police. While he was killing all these people, Betts was reportedly wearing a hoodie from long-running Massachusetts metalcore band the Acacia Strain. The back of that hoodie apparently featured these words: “No heart to fear, no soul to steal.” Vincent Bennett, frontman of the Acacia Strain, has since addressed that news.

As Metal Injection points out, Bennett has addressed the massacre — and the reports of Betts wearing the band’s shirt — on Twitter, writing, “What happened in Dayton is horrifying. Even more so to know that the shooter was wearing a TAS hoodie is making me sick. There is no excuse for this. Anyone who knows anything knows we don’t condone this behavior. No one has the right to take another’s life.” He adds, “We will be taking action to help the families of the victims however we can.”

Shortly after the shooting, Jim Heath, a local Ohio journalist who has worked for TV stations and who currently runs his own website, wrote that Betts’ hoodie quoted lyrics from the Acacia Strain’s 2010 track “Ramirez,” which Heath calls “a hateful and vengeful song.” That’s a sensationalistic description, of course. “Ramirez” is a song written from a place of anger and depression. Sample lyrics: “Hail Mary, the virgin whore / I can’t fucking take this anymore / Hail Mary with the broken face / You name the time I’ll name the place.”

Since Heath’s tweet, which many fans have read as an attempt to blame the Acacia Strain for the shooting, Bennett has been tweeting defensively. In response to a since-deleted tweet, Bennett wrote, “‘My death message’? Sharon, I’ve spent the last serveral tours – including the one this hoodie was available at – speaking about striving to be a better person. Speaking about positivity and finding someone to talk to; instead of violent actions. Don’t tell me what my message is.” He’s also tweeted a bunch of pictures of himself smiling at live shows, sarcastically talking about those images of scenes of him glorifying violence.

Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor has also tweeted at Heath, in defense of the Acacia Strain, writing, “Blame the KILLER; not the fucking WARDROBE.”