I knew what I wanted to write about on Tuesday. I am still not sure what I have to say.

Speechless and helpless are two natural reactions when the same thing happens over and over again and you are at a loss for what to do about it.

If you read the number 19,  you know exactly what I’m talking about.  But let us not forget the two – teachers who died in the line of fire. Sadly, we can add one more – representing the husband whose heart literally broke in the aftermath of last week’s tragedy. The numbers of family members and surviving classmates traumatized swell this number into the thousands.

I have written about gun violence before. I was one of many who sadly were able to pull out from our archives an article that we thought might make a difference, but did not. I have interviewed one of the first victims at Columbine and helped share his story. I created a short documentary that told my nephew’s experience when a classmate walked into his school, killed the principal and then shot himself.  I have donated to organizations like Sandy Hook Promise, talked to friends who are responsible gun owners, voted for politicians who support common sense gun safety policy and asked my broker to divest in arms manufacturers.

In short, I have done something and not nearly enough.

When lost for figuring out what to do in the wake of a tragedy, I often fall back to the wisdom of the humanitarian, Arthur Ashe, who said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

For most of us there are limits to each of these. But if you probe deeply enough you might find something useful that only you can do.

“Where you are” refers not to just where you live, but where you work, where you go to school or church, it includes all of your social circles – online and in person. Where else can you make a difference?

“What you have”…a vote, money, your skills, your attention, your voice, your influence, your creativity, your morality. What else do you have?

“What you can”… donate, volunteer, speak up, call in, reach out, divest, vote, share, advocate What else can only you do?

The further removed we are from a tragedy or the suffering of others, both in time and place, the easier it is to do less. Only until the next tragedy do we feel guilt or complicity in our failure to remain vigilant.

Frankly, I cannot offer you any advice on what you can do to make a difference on this issue. I don’t even know what I will do.

The only answer I can offer is… “more.”

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