Here is a great line from John Sanford’s novel, Broken Prey. ” Dead people don’t have any political clout,” says Lucas Davenport.

I thought about Stacey Burns when I first read that line and thought about it again when I heard Charles Cotton’s statement about the tragic shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. According to Cotton, the blame for the massacre in the church rests with the victims, who were unable to defend themselves because they were unarmed. Now, just like Stacey, they are dead and can’t speak for themselves. Does that mean they no longer have any voice?

In the book, Lucas Davenport follows his comment with another, which is definitely appropriate in the Stacey Burns case. “Maybe, it (political clout) could come from somewhere else, I suppose.”

Here is the crux of the matter in both murder cases, one individual and one with multiple victims. Because they are gone is not a reason for them to lose their voice in any arena, whether personal, political, religious, or legal. The political clout will depend on the strength of will of those remaining behind. Stacey Burns is forever silenced. It is up to the rest of us to see that she retains some “clout” with those who can do something about her death. Pastor Pinckney and his fellow Bible Study Class followers must depend on others to make their deaths mean something.

Unfortunately, political influence (clout) requires a power source, a base that has the previously mentioned strength of will. Can the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office and the N.H. State Police be influenced to try to make some progress in the Stacey Burns case? That will not happen if no real action is taken to ensure that it does happen. Where is the strength of will going to originate?

Will the powers that be in political circles try to figure out a solution (arming everyone with guns is not a realistic solution) to the mass killing crisis? That will not happen without action on the part of those of us who tend to tsk, tsk, tsk about the sheer awfulness of it all, then return to the armchair to watch the next round of violence on CNN.

The victims are just that-victims who now are silent. We still have a voice.