They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that mislike it, heresy: and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion. — Thomas Hobbes

After all of the years I’ve contributed my musings to these pages I’ve never had the feeling of boredom, which is sort of a surprise to me, because I tend to lose interest in things after a fashion. I suppose the reason I stick around is based on something I never thought would happen when I first began this work — I enjoy it.

One of the perks of having a forum like this is the feedback I get from you, gentle reader. If something I shove in front of you gets a reaction, whether positive or negative, it means one thing to me — somebody took the time to glance over what was printed, which led to a response on their part concerning the topic at hand.

After saying that I’ll admit to being human, meaning some criticisms I’ve gotten in the past stung a bit, but like I said, at least somebody is paying attention.

The way I understand things if some sort of dialogue can be stimulated by something I’ve written, that means there is room for debate. I’ve gotten folks thinking about some issue that will affect us in one way or another.

I’ve been asked numerous times how do I come up with the topics I address. The answer could be trite, yet it’s more complex than that. I sometimes see a little thing, like a bird on a telephone wire, and observe its action afterward. At other times a person will tell me about an experience they had in a given situation. In other words, I have no idea where or when inspiration will hit me.

Conversely there are some tales I wouldn’t touch with protective fire gear. These are the ones that could possibly set off a literal firestorm if the facts aren’t in place. I’ve been told heart-wrenching stories about the lack of health care, abuses in the justice system and many others. Just because I have this space doesn’t give me protection from any perceived slight experienced by somebody. To tackle big issues like those would require serious documentation, and I think the high sheriffs wouldn’t appreciate the litigation that may be involved if such charges were proven untrue.

Am I a coward? Possibly, but there is a reality I’ve understood since day one — there are some toes one doesn’t step on, at least not when one simply tosses out speculation and innuendo. Those ducks have to be in a row before any accusations are even put to paper. I know of one instance where one of our columnists years ago offended several influential persons via his space and was shown the door shortly after because of it.

They say the pen is mightier than the sword. That may be true, but one has to learn the difference between when to wield it and when to lay it down. Learning that distinction may prove to be the means for advancing or curtailing a promising career.


Ken Hall is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears Thursdays and Sundays. He may be reached via e-mail at

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