Tag: op-ed (Page 1 of 2)

When Everyone’s Truth is Real



Imagine waking up to a breaking news broadcast that shows Donald Trump speaking from the Oval Office and declaring war on North Korea1. Then imagine changing the channel to see a startled-looking Trump quickly going on air to say the war declaration was a hoax. How would you find the truth?

Turn on the television right now, and you’re likely to come away thinking that we are in the midst of a public health crisis never seen before. The flu is, indeed, pretty bad this year. If Facebook is any indication, this year’s flu is a particularly nasty strain, one that takes a long time to go away.

Flu season never ceases to open up a Pandora’s box of conspiracy theories, though. Chief among them is an unshakable belief that the flu shot will, in fact, cause you to get the flu.

This week the New York Times sent a brave reporter into a hospital tent set up outside an out-of-space emergency ward in Pennsylvania. There, he interviewed patients suffering from the flu, including one woman, who delivered this timely summation:

Dr. Greenberg […] asked if she got flu shots. “I hear the shot gives you flu,” said Ms. Rogers. “I heard you can get Alzheimer’s from it — that there’s mercury in it, and it goes to your brain.”

Mr. Moyer interrupted to ask Dr. Greenberg what caused flu, and Ms. Rogers interjected: “I heard it’s a government plot for population control.”

Dr. Greenberg, who has already heard her patient turn down a prescription for Tamiflu (“No, I heard it causes hallucinations,” she said. “I heard about a lady whose daughter got Tamiflu and tried to kill her.”) then asks gently where on earth she was getting this information.

“Social media” she replied.

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John Locher / AP

What if we treated guns like cars?


Another mass shooting, another missed opportunity to talk about common-sense gun control. But humor me if you will.

The argument about guns in America has continually devolved into two diametrically opposed camps: those armed to the teeth and those attempting to destroy liberty.

What a tragedy in itself.

It’s important for both sides to be honest. Every time our country experiences a mass-casualty shooting, it doesn’t take long for talking heads on either side to begin spinning off statistics–and fear. Someone inevitably will decide that “now” is “not the time” to talk about regulation, gun ownership, etc. in the wake of the tragedy.

We always seem to forget when the “right” time to talk about it is.

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The Beautiful Story of a D-Rated School



Letter grades can’t possibly tell the whole story of a school. An inside look at the passionate work of a school our state says is a letter away from failing.

(Author’s note: this story was originally published in September 2015.)

A few weeks ago, my wife began her fifteenth year teaching elementary school music. She’s been in the same classroom and the same school for her entire career, and she’s seen thousands of kids come through her hallway.

She enjoys her job; she teaches every kid in the building, so she’s kind of like a local celebrity. We rarely can make it through the grocery store (or anywhere around town) without someone running up to her, hugging her leg, and running off with a smile. It’s a happy thing to see.

This week, though, her school received a North Carolina school performance grade of D.

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