If you can’t say something nice…

Mama always said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

That’s why after the tragic and senseless shooting in Parkland, Florida, following the horrific violence in Las Vegas, Dallas, Orlando, San Bernadino, Colorado Springs, Chattanooga, Charleston, Washington, Newtown, Minneapolis, Oak Creek, Aurora, Oakland, Tucson, Huntsville, Columbine and countless more, today I’m not going to say anything at all.

The ethical requirements of my job prohibit me from taking a stand on matters of public interest. I keep my thoughts about controversial topics to myself because journalism is independent and impartial and to compromise these principles is to compromise the integrity of the free press. Of course, I have my personal feelings and opinions like anyone else, but today, I can’t say anything at all.

I try to keep this blog funny and lighthearted. I talk about humorous sayings, home cooking, and quirky southern traditions. I share my weird thoughts and eccentric points of view. I wax poetic about the bucolic life in the South and tradition and the good old days. But today, I am both heartbroken and numb, overwhelmed by the staggering statistics of lives lost, terrified for my loved ones who both attend schools and work in schools ever single day. Today, I’m not going to say anything at all.

I’ve thought since Valentine’s Day about how I could come back to this blog a week later and be funny and lighthearted. The truth is, I can’t. Not today. It doesn’t seem appropriate right now. The ideas aren’t there. The words won’t come like they usually do. It’s hard to write about biscuits, and hound dogs, and the smell of wisteria on a close summer evening when the blood of children flows across the linoleum floor in a classroom. When families are grieving. When there’s a lot more “why” than anyone can answer. When balloons are released to infinity to chase the spirits of those who won’t be forgotten.

That’s why today, I’m not going to say anything at all.