Thursday, November 9, 2017

Silence Isn't Necessarily Golden

John Quiñones hosts a television show that has been on the air for twelve seasons called, What Would You Do? The premise of the show places individuals in situations acted out by marks to see “what would you do?” in that situation. Some of the episodes have been interesting.

In one, a restaurant worker refuses to serve a homeless man who has money to pay for a meal. In another, an individual leaves a briefcase or purse on a bench and walks away. Things like that.

Each situation is dependent upon who is present. Some come forward to help. One man buys food and offers it to the homeless man. Another argues with the restaurant worker to let the guy eat. In the case of the purse or briefcase, one individual chases down the guy/woman who left it on the bench.

I watch the show sporadically at best, but when I do, I am interested in those who don’t say anything, those who choose to do nothing.

Back when I was in fifth or sixth grade, I remember going to a diner in Milwaukee with my sister, Betty. We were sitting at the counter which was something new and different from me. While we ate, there were patrons who came and went as any customer might do. I remember the hustle and bustle of the place and at that time, being kind of a quiet kid and new to the “big city” I was at once apprehensive and exited at the same time. Probably in equal parts as I recall.

An interesting thing happened  . . .

A man walked in and sat down on one of the stools at the counter but off to the left. Like many, he grabbed a menu and looked it over and waited. My sister and I kept eating. Then the man begins to say, “Why is everybody staring at me?” Each time he said it, he got louder. He even pounded the counter.

I have to say I freaked, maybe more than a little. I wanted to leave and I actually got up from my stool even though my meal wasn’t finished. My sister, a nurse at that time, placed her hand on my arm and shook her head. I remember wanting to argue that we should leave, but my sister only held my arm and shook her head.

So my sister I finished eating but I watched the guy out of the corner of my eye as did the other patrons. Eventually the guy left and it went back to a kind of normality, I guess. As I said, I was new to the big city and eating at the counter of a diner.

I think about that situation from time to time. I think about the brave souls who march and protest and who dare to speak out, to write in order to make a point of view known. I know there is a time and a place for it. I also know there are those who choose to say nothing, do nothing and leave things as they are while they grumble among friends.

Martin Niemöller was a prominent Protestant pastor who was as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler. As a result, he spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

He is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Doing the right thing, saying the right thing isn’t always comfortable and safe, is it? It’s a lot easier, safer to ignore and keep on walking. Perhaps circle on back when the coast is clear and murmur encouragement or condolence when no one is looking.

Saying and doing the right thing is especially tough when it involves a friend, someone you admire and like. It because a lot easier to just walk away, to remain silent. I think in these cases, Silence Isn’t Necessarily Golden. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

My fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction Caught in a Web will be published by Black Rose Writing in April of 2018. It is currently in the very skilled hands of an editor I especially admire. When she finishes, I fix what’s needed to fix and then I send it to Black Rose and their editors will no doubt find more for me to fix. The real work of any writing takes place in the edits, something I both dread and get excited about. Yeah, I’m smiling as I write this. As always, I will keep you posted on the progress.

Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

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If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction, check out my novels:

Available on Amazon for .99 the Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Agent Kelliher and two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.              

Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.            

Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
Six desperate and violent men escape. One of them stands in a kitchen facing a 14 year-old-boy with a gun. There are many reasons for the boy to pull the trigger. Mainly, the man had started it all.             

Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year-old-boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers.

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe