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The song “I Shot the Sheriff” is a song written by Bob Marley. This song was first released in April 1973, and talks about a person killing a sheriff while being accused of killing the deputy sheriff instead. The person fights back by admitting that he killed the sheriff instead of the deputy. The deputy is the head sheriff, so it would have been a bigger deal if he killed the deputy instead. The people against the person want to try to bring that person in guilty for shooting the deputy. The person later brings up a story about how Sheriff John Brown hated him, and every time the person planted a seed, John Brown would kill it because it grows. It means that when the person started tried to do something wrong, John Brown would try to prevent the problem from starting. Then, the person admits that he shot the sheriff in self-defense, and asks where the deputy was. This is trying to prove the accusation false due to the fact that the person couldn’t have killed the deputy because he wasn’t there. The person even explicitly says that he shot John Brown who was trying to shoot that person down. The person says “If I am guilty, I will pay” to confess that he is innocent.
The song itself was sung by the group called The Wailers; It was a band created by Bob Marley. It was formed when Bob Marley joined with a group of friends in order to make a band. At first, the group didn’t really start out well. After only a couple recording sessions, two people left the band. It then became very popular throughout Jamaica, but it was difficult for the group to financially make it. Half of the group left as a result, and then Bob Marley married Rita Anderson in 1966. Marley moved to the United States close to where his mother was living. He was there for around 8 months, but he returned to Jamaica afterwards to reunite with a couple of members from The Wailers named McIntosh and Livingston. The Wailers also included two newer members after the reunion of the group. They were both siblings, and their names were Carlton “Carlie” Barret and Aston “Family Man” Barrett.
The Wailers had a huge turning point in 1972 when they had a contract with Island Records. According to a Bob Marley Biography page, the contract allowed the group “for the first time, to hit the studios to record a full album.” This was where an album titled Catch a Fire was released. This led to The Wailers touring the United Kingdom and the United States. Later on in the same year, another album was released. This album was titled Burnin’, and the song featured was “I Shot the Sheriff.” The song became a number one hit on US singles charts. An interesting thing to note is that there was an attempted assassination to Bob Marley during a rehersal 3 years after “I Shot the Sheriff” was released. He didn’t suffer severe injuries.
There was a young man named Kevin who lived in a neighborhood in Kansas. He is known for being arrested multiple times for getting into fights. One day, he started to go out for a walk. He saw a sheriff named John Brown. John Brown is known for being a sheriff in the state that Kevin lived in, and he always has despised Kevin. John Brown was trying to stop Kevin on the street for committing a crime for beating his wife, Jessica. The way that Jessica got injured is that Kevin broke her arm after an argument. Jessica told the sheriff department about what went on, and she had evidence due to her arm being broken.
Kevin refused to be stopped by John Brown, so he started to run away. When Kevin started to run away, John Brown started to fire some warning shots at him. Kevin was lucky in the way that he dodged all the bullets that John Brown shot at him. Kevin turned around immediately, and shot John Brown. John Brown was in so much pain after Kevin shot him, and he called some people over. Kevin had to run away because his life would have been in great danger. Lucky for him, he found someone that lives further away to spend the night at. Kevin didn’t explain to that person what truly went on, but that he was tired. After that night, Kevin went back home during that morning.
When Kevin went home, he was given a paper from his wife. The people that John Brown got called came to Kevin’s house. They were wondering where Kevin was, and Jessica said that he went outside. Jessica was given a paper by those people, and they told her to give the paper to Kevin when he comes home. What the paper said was about an accusation about shooting the deputy sheriff. When Kevin first saw the paper he said “What?! I didn’t shoot the deputy sheriff.” The paper had some details about him being called over to court over what has happened. It also said that Kevin could spend up to 25 years in jail and/or have a fine of up to $250,000 if he didn’t take action. Since Kevin was in this situation that he could not control, he obviously went to court a week after this.
Kevin arrives at court, along with sheriffs that were working with John Brown. The judge gave the sheriffs the first turn to speak. The sheriffs told the judge that the deputy sheriff was shot, and then then a recording of John Brown was played. Then, Kevin responds to the recording saying, “your honor, that was not the deputy sheriff, but I shot him. He was trying to shoot me, so I shot him in self defense.” The judge asked Kevin if he really shot the sheriff, and Kevin responded, “yes, but it was a self defense once again. This was not the deputy sir, and I will pay if I am guilty.” The judge later says, “I see,” and he finds out why this incident happened in the first place. He finds out that it started with a fight with Kevin’s wife, and Jessica comes over.
Jessica tells the judge about Kevin, and shows him her broken arm. The things that Jessica told to the judge mainly include the aggressive person that Kevin is, and how he got into a huge argument with her. The judge listens to her part of the story, and can figure out why John Brown was shot. Kevin was also trying to flee from the sheriff, so that was another problem. After Jessica talks about Kevin, the judge decides to charge Kevin for what has happened. He is fined $10,000 and serves 5 years in jail due to all the crimes he has committed.
Before Kevin goes to jail, John Brown writes a letter to him. The letter said that Kevin was not going to get arrested, but just to be talked to about beating his wife. It further goes on about how Kevin made it a bigger deal than it really had to be. This shows how Kevin has anger management issues, and he was taken in by surprise that one day he decided to go for a walk. Kevin gets very angry after reading this message thinking that it could have all been prevented. Kevin finally goes to jail 3 days after the message was received.
Once Kevin goes to jail, he said the words “I am guilty, so I paid.” He sits there alone and locked up, finally knowing why he deserved it. He later gets encountered by a few inmates. After the inmates find out what he has done, he gets brutally beaten to death. After Kevin dies, a news story shows up talking about Kevin’s death, and a lot of details about his life ranging from his personality to the court case. It becomes a top news story in the state of Kansas.
Once Jessica finds out about this story, she starts crying in shock. Although he broke her arm in the argument, she never wanted the issue to go so far that someone actually died. She obviously knew that Kevin had problems, but he just took it too far that one day that she had to go tell someone about it. She even gets to be invited to speak on TV as well, so the public can hear about this. The story becomes a huge controversy, and people start spreading rumors about it. People will talk about how Kevin shot the deputy, although Kevin admitted that he didn’t. These rumors will feel like that they will go out of control for someone who already died, and has truly paid for everything. The public doesn’t know every single part that went on, so they couldn’t jump to any true conclusions. The story does teach the public a valuable lesson to not think you are always right, and to stay away from people that cause problems.
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