In a war where neither side is right, not deciding which side to fight for is in itself a decision.

On my way home after the shooting, I stopped to tell Mr. Dechart, the editor of the newspaper, what had happened. He not only wrote an editorial about it, he put it on the front page. A few days later, he was arrested and sent to prison for being a Southern sympathizer. He was back in six weeks, after he signed an oath of loyalty to the Union and agreed to soften his editorials, but things were never the same after that. Then about a year later, someone broke into his office and destroyed everything, including the printing press. Everyone in town was horrified.

"This is America," Mama said. "You don't prevent a man from printing his beliefs, even if you don't agree with them!" And somehow, I felt like it was all my fault. If I hadn't told Mr. Dechart about the shooting, he wouldn't have published the editorial that got him sent to prison and his press wouldn't have been ruined, and he wouldn't have left town, leaving his son, my friend Josh, all alone.

But it seemed that no matter what I did, the war just seemed to get me involved. Finally, I realized I couldn't stay neutral, no matter how much I wanted to. It was my war too, now, and I'd have to fight it, along with everyone else. But at least I could decide how and when and why to fight it.