How should playwrights respond to violence? What can we DO?

Gun Violence in Seattle

Five people were shot in Seattle last Wednesday (May 30th). The man who shot them then shot himself. He died, along with four of his victims. One has survived and will probably be all right.

I’m trying to write about this, but I’m tying myself up in mental and emotional knots, because people get shot in Seattle all the time. Not a lot, but it happens. Why am I writing a blog post about these shootings? Don’t I care about all the other people who have died from gun violence?

Do I care because these victims were white, and other victims have been African-American? Or Asian American? Or Latino? Do I care because the man who shot them was white?

Or do I care because I didn’t expect people to be shot in these particular places in the city? Roosevelt and First Hill are not known to be violent places. The Central District, Rainier Valley, White Center, sure.

Or do I care because I know that rival gangs try to kill each other, but most other people don’t?

What Can Playwrights DO?

About a year ago, I started to write plays that deal with every day, unconscious, fairly mild issues of race. Who the fuck cares? Will my plays ever do anything to help people not be so damn violent towards each other? Will my plays ever help us understand and help mentally ill people better?

With all of the horrible problems this country has, am I helping the most I can with the plays I write?

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, or so the saying goes. I feel like I’m taking at damn small and useless step.

What can we do?

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