“Should this Man be Arrested?” is an on-going feature that examines the minds of various songwriters through their lyrics. As lyrics are always 100% literal translations of a songwriter’s thoughts, we believe we can use lyrical snippets to answer the following simple, yet crucial, question: should this man be arrested?
Bruce Springsteen – just your regular run of the mill American blue-collar middle-class multimillionaire, aka “The Boss”
“From the town of Lincoln, Nebraska with a sawed-off .410 on my lap
through to the Badlands of Wyoming I killed everything in my path.”
“Nebraska” (from Nebraska)
I’m conflicted. At first, it’s obvious. The man is guilty. He states outright that he “killed everything in my [his] path”. Seems like case closed and job well done. But then, when looking in detail things get a bit trickier. Springsteen is driving through the heartland of America, namely Nebraska. The first question you need to ask yourself now is…have you ever been to Nebraska? I have. Let me tell you, it’s a tough place to NOT kill everything in your path. I mean if he were on a rampage in California or Boston or New York then sure, lock him up and throw away the keys. But, after keeping in mind human decency, how can you expect someone driving through Nebraska to NOT lose their minds and kill everything. I’m not condoning murder of any sort, but I’m human too…and I understand.
Innocent. He may have killed everything in his path from Nebraska to Wyoming, but this is Nebraska and Wyoming. Besides, how many people would actually be in his path in these areas. Who even lives there? And once again, we’re talking about Bruce Freaking Springsteen here. Are we really saying after making “Born in the USA” he can’t go on a weekend killing bender and not still be the heartbeat of America. I think not. That’s not the America I believe in.
Also, it was Nebraska. I rest my case.