There are probably as many reasons why people write, as there are writers. Some people write for the same reason that some people talk. They love the sound of their own voices. There are some writers who actually believe that they, and only they, know the truth. They are pretty easy to spot, because they always have trouble making a point. They ramble on and on, hoping to stumble across a viable thought. After all, even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while.

Some writers want to confuse the readers, but many more want to amuse them. I like those writers because they know that nothing offends the enemy as much as laughing at them. You can spot the enemy a mile away because they have no sense of humor. They wake up each morning hoping something goes wrong. If they don't get their disappointment by noon they are really depressed. Laughing at them drives them to their knees, and hurts them more than slapping their faces. You sourpusses out there, you know who you are.

There is a small group of writers who genuinely want to share their experiences with the readers. They realize that their experiences are not the only valid experiences, and they know that not everyone will agree with them. But, they truly believe that they have something worth sharing. Very often, these writers have been to places and worked with people, that most of us will never see or meet. It's a big world out there, and no one person can possibly experience all of it. So, these writers try to bring their experiences to the readers, and the readers are free to decide if they agree, or not.

I write because it is much more efficient than trying to offend all those people who need to be offended, one at a time. With the written word, I am able to offend them by the carload. Not only that, but those who need offending almost always identify themselves to the reading public. It isn't necessary to name them, or to take them on in print. They take it upon themselves to make their presence, and their names, known to all. Nothing could please a writer more than having those detractors exposed.

Gratefully, we live in the very best country on this earth in which to write. Freedom of the press is not a universal right. In the majority of countries, freedom of speech, like freedom of the press, does not exist. In those places, the role of the press is to restrict opinion. In those places, it is not the role of the press to offer a forum for free expression. Such freedoms are a constant threat to those who would maintain power by controlling the thought processes of the people they dominate. In America, it is the job, no it is the duty, of our free press to keep the faith with our free people.

The vast majority of America's countless writers are not offended by detractors. In fact, they welcome them as proof positive that we are actually being read, and purposely being misunderstood. It is fitting and proper that a free press presents all sides to our differences of opinion. Only in that way can the truth be determined by the readers. As for me, I trust those readers to make intelligent and informed decisions.

Robert Evans Burnette is a Crossville Chronicle columnist. His column appears on Wednesdays.

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