Nayan j Nath, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I used to wear my hair long in high school just because I knew it irritated the members of my button-down, conservative rural community.

I couldn’t have been more psychologically opposed to the mindset of the people I grew up with. They dressed like they were out of the 50s and styled their hair like Biff Tannen from Back to the Future. You’d see them roll by in International Harvester pickup trucks wearing looks of such hatred that you didn’t know whether to laugh or run.

It didn’t occur to me that they might harbor an inclination to stop their…

The Reckless Writer

Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

There is a writer in my community who is very well respected. He teaches at the college, publishes a book a year, founded one of the largest writer organizations, and regularly gives talks at the most prestigious venues.

He’s a legitimately talented writer and I’ve promoted several of his books. However, if you go on Amazon and look up his titles, you’ll see that most of them have fewer than ten reviews.

It’s not a foolproof metric, but minimal Amazon reviews indicate that the books simply aren’t getting read. …

Худ. Виктор Михайлович Васнецов«Воины Апокалипсиса» (1887). Холст, масло., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Growing up, my dad was unfaithful to my mom. Everybody knew it, but nobody said anything about it. Instead, we fell into a habit of pretending.

We pretended to enjoy ourselves at Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner. We pretended we were happy to see dad after he returned from one of his monthly “business” trips. We pretended that everything was normal and fine and that we had the perfect life.

The sad truth is that it’s a lot easier to pretend than it is to do the hard work of recognizing and correcting problems. …

Photo by Michael Jasmund on Unsplash

“I believe in freedom and the constitution and that the government does not have the right to tell me what to do with my own body. Therefore, I refuse to cover my mouth when I cough. When I cover my mouth it causes potentially dangerous particles to rebound off my hand and back into my throat. These particles obstruct my ability to breathe. It is to the benefit of my personal health and well being that I am allowed to cough unimpeded. …

Photo by Braňo on Unsplash

My wife is a teacher, and when the vaccine became available she was among the first in line to get the shot.

“Think of how terrible it would be if you inadvertently passed on the virus to kids in your classroom,” she said. She found the idea appalling. She adores her students and would do anything in her power to protect them.

We live in a society where there is an expectation that teachers might die in the line of duty. We refuse to do anything about mass shootings and even something as benign as a minimal background check is…

The Reckless Writer

Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

I was talking with a writer friend when she mentioned that she was done submitting poems to journals that didn’t offer compensation.

“Darn it, I put so much time and energy into these poems that I deserve to get something for them. I don’t care if it’s $20, $10, or even $5. There just has to be some kind of payment.”

Her words resonated with me because I had come to the same conclusion years ago. All writers pass through many stages. At first, there’s an excitement just seeing your name in print. …

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Imagine if a teacher went to the front of a classroom to perform an experiment on the power of prayer. Maybe she’d hold up an egg and say, “I’m going to drop this egg. Let’s all pray really hard and see if we can use the power of prayer to keep the egg from shattering on the floor. We’ll do it ten times.”

So she holds the egg, the students start praying, she drops the egg, and it crashes on the floor again and again. The students record the data and come to the conclusion that prayer doesn’t work.


Photo by Duncan Sanchez on Unsplash

Imagine being a powerless child desperate to convince your father that you are not a demon spawn sent to destroy the world.

“Please don’t kill me daddy, I love you!”

“I’m sorry but I must, what I do now I do for the good of all humankind!”

You can’t appeal to reason when somebody decides that “demon blood” runs through your veins. You can’t resort to a logical, rational argument and plead with your attacker not to torture you to death. You don’t have any obligation to respect the rights of an individual who is committed to your complete and…

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Conservatives will often say, “Well, if it’s my body my choice, then I should be able to choose not to take a vaccine!”

They think it’s an irrefutable “gotcha” argument, but all it shows is that they’re still working with finger paints while the rest of us have moved on to oils.

Their pitiful exercise in applied logic is absolutely wrong.

It’s also dishonest, malicious, mean-spirited, and evil. Pro-lifers are dishonest. Their philosophy amounts to little more than frenzied calls for violence against women and they end up hurting more people than they help.

False equivalency

If you don’t take a vaccine…

Walter Rhein

Small press writer with Perseid Press, Burning Bulb Publishing, and Harren Press. I have a web page about Peru at

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