I had a nightmare last night. I woke up and started writing, “To whom it may concern,
“I’m writing this letter to inform you all of what I had done during the summer of 1995. I am not proud of what I have done, and what I did was inexcusable. But I must tell you about the summer of 1995 nonetheless.
“I was playing outside my front yard when I saw Diana Kirkland speaking to a person in a black car. I knew that it was never a good idea to talk to strangers, especially if they can grab you and force you inside their cars, but I didn’t do or say anything. I turned away from the scene to talk to one of my friends, who had gotten a new dirtbike from his grandmother. By the time I looked back, Diana was gone.
“I gasped in horror, knowing that she was kidnapped by the person in the black car. Instead of telling my parents what I saw or having someone call the police, I went back to playing and did nothing. Little did I know that that mistake was going to cost me everything.
“When the police came to our house, asking my parents if they had seen Diana, I knew I had one chance to make everything right. I should have told the police that Diana had spoken to a stranger in a black car and was taken by them. But I didn’t do that, as I willfully ignored the crime in favor of seeing my friend’s new bike.
“I should have spoken up that day, but I didn’t.
“Later, the news reported that a 12-year-old girl was found dead next to the Arching River. Many people panicked, knowing that she had been murdered by the stranger who kidnapped her. Because I didn’t speak up or told anyone, Diana was dead. And it was all my fault.”
I set the pencil down and thought to myself why did I not speak up when I had the chance? Why did I stay quiet? Diana is dead because of me, and I have helped the strange man kill her with my silence.
The truth is, though, silence has killed more people than wars and diseases combined, and I have added to that number.