People ask me all the time where I find my inspiration, the ideas for my stories. Sometimes it's from my memories. Sometimes it's what my friends have done. Sometimes it's from the newspapers.
I've been following a local story for many months. A teenage boy shot and killed his best friend. Shot him in the back and twice in the back of the head. Tried to lie to the cops about not seeing his best friend the day he went missing. Long and short of the story, the police arrested the boy and charged him with capital murder. In Virginia, that's the death penalty.
This week, the case was resolved in court. The shooter pleaded guilty to murder and several other felonies. He was immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 53 years.
Why did this particular story touch me? Maybe it was because I've worked with the father of the victim and understand his pain. Maybe it's because one act of violence ruined two families. The family of the victim can recover and heal. The family of the murderer can't. Both have lost a son forever.
This happens too often. We teach our children right from wrong, but still some get it wrong. They don't think. It ruins families, divides communities and leaves a child dead.
No, this is material I can't use. It's too close to my community. My heart goes out to both families. They've lost so much.