Even though the only real writing I do these days is for this blog, I still consider myself a writer, and I often wrestle with exactly what a writer’s responsibility is. I mean, it seems sometimes as if writers are supposed to have words prepared for every occasion, whether they are the right words or not. When is the writer supposed to stand silent, though? Is that even an option?

I find myself wrestling with that dilemma today, one day after a teenager with a gun killed two other teens and wounded several others at a high school approximately 45 minutes away from where I live. I spent most of the day yesterday reading various Facebook posts and listening to news accounts of what happened. For the life of me, though, I could not think of a single word to write concerning the situation, and I still can’t think of any today.

I mean, what exactly is someone supposed to say when something like this occurs? I suppose I could whip up some righteous indignation and demand that something be done to stop these incidents of school violence. I could appeal to a higher power and express my prayers publicly. I could even weave my own children into the narrative, explaining how their safety yesterday made my heart glad. None of this would bring back the two lives that were lost, however, and none of it would heal those who survived.

As someone who writes, yesterday could be considered my moment of silence. It was a moment when words completely escaped me, and all I could do was retreat in shock and horror from the situation. There are definitely times when words are simply not enough, and they are still not enough today. What happened yesterday was tragic, and perhaps we could all benefit from a few less words right now. I may be failing in my obligation as a writer, but the human side of me is not up to the task this time.

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