I can only pray. That’s all I know how to do.

I am nobody. I am not particularly smart. I am not savvy when it comes to political discourse. I am just a guy. I have no wisdom. I have no preachy words. No condescending sentiments. The world is falling apart. I get it. All I can do is pray.

It’s not supposed to happen here. It’s not supposed to happen anywhere. And it’s definitely not supposed to occur in our own backyard.

But it did happen, you see. It happened right here in our home state. It happened to our people. To our kids. To our loved ones. And my heart bleeds.

Bleeds, I tell you.

I cried this morning when I read the news. I cried because this time it’s personal. I cried because I watched the news anchor tell America that nobody is safe anymore. Not you, not me, not anyone. That’s what they said.

I cried because, this time, I’ve probably met some of the victims. Maybe so have you. Especially if you live in Alabama.

Everyone in Alabama knows each other. It is a long-established fact that wherever you visit an Alabamian Piggly Wiggly you run into at least three of your mother’s first cousins. That’s just how it works here.

Which is why I wept so bitterly. I cried because the mass shooting in Dadeville hit so very, very close to home.


Ashamedly, I wonder if I’ve grown numb to the headlines involving mass shootings. They happen so often. You see shootings on cable-TV all the time. You read about them in the newspaper. On the internet. Mass shootings happen in far off places.

A shooting will make national news for a few days. People will cry. People will get really hacked off on Facebook, and start dog-cussing each other. They will get angry, and spew their opinions, as if they’re really accomplishing anything. And then it all dies.

Eventually, everyone moves forward with their lives and essentially forgets about the dead. But that’s not supposed to happen here. Mass shootings don’t happen at home. Do they?

They can’t happen here on home turf. They only happen in big cities. Metropolitan areas. Huge towns with Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, and Red Lobsters. They happen in Philadelphia. Newark. Chicago. Nashville.

Not Tallapoosa County. Not in sleepy 3,000-person lakeside communities where both city-limit signs are attached to the same post. Not in the place where I take my spring and summer fishing trip. Not in a place where family lives. Not here.

Heavens, what is happening to us?

Four young people were killed. They were children. Children were gunned down. Our children. Our boys and girls. Our track stars. Our football stars. Our A-students. Slain.

Twenty-eight were injured in a mass shooting. The victims were teenagers, mostly. They weren’t out of high school. They weren’t old enough to purchase alcohol. They were barely old enough to drive.

It happened at a sweet-16 birthday party, of all places. These kids were only a few years shy of middle school. And now they are gone. Their bodies are lying in caskets. Their futures are dark. God help us.

The email I received this morning was one I never thought I would receive.

“Dear Sean, my friend’s child was wounded in a mass shooting…”

Please don’t misinterpret this colum/blog/post/whatever-the-heck-you-call-it. I have no agenda here. I have no opinions to exert. I am not writing this to incite controversy, arguments, or social-media smackdowns.

But tonight, the rivers of Tallapoosa County are bloodred. Tonight the skies of Alabama are black with grief. Tonight, our friends and family members are mourning the loss of our teenagers.

Tonight, I am sick, because I don’t know what to do. I wish there was something I could do.

So I will pray. I can only pray. That is all I know how to do. God bless Dadeville. God bless Alabama.

And God bless us all. Everyone.


  1. Gigi22 - April 18, 2023 11:40 am


  2. David in California - April 18, 2023 12:15 pm

    You’re right, Sean. We’ve lost our moral compass. Nothing can change that except prayer. Only God can change our hearts and minds. 🙏

  3. Cathy M - April 18, 2023 12:30 pm

    I think all who live in Alabama are reeling with shock and sadness. This was a sweet sixteen party at a skating rink. It sounds so safe and all American. The honoree’s brother was killed. Can you imagine how she must feel? Dadeville is a sleepy little town that I have passed through too many times to count. It is heartbreaking and only God can help us. I am in my fourth quarter and will be 75 next month. I pray to see a change before I leave this world. Jesus, hear our prayers💙🙏🏻

  4. pattymack43 - April 18, 2023 8:47 pm

    All you (or anyone) can do is pray. And I will pray with you.

  5. Bubba Stubbs - April 18, 2023 9:00 pm

    Pray Sean, pray…pray without ceasing.


Leave a Comment