Covidiot. Plague rat. Mask slacker.

These are just a few of the many terms that I’ve seen people on social media use to describe the millions of Americans who reject wearing masks and oppose taking other collective actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On a personal level, I understand the appeal of these terms. I’ve used them myself in private and occasionally on social media. People who go out in public and willfully disregard masking and distancing guidelines are placing everyone around them in mortal danger. It’s reasonable for the rest of us to feel outraged by their behavior. It’s important for us to condemn their behavior in some way. It’s also helpful to have specific terms for such people so that we can discuss how to avoid them and curtail their destructive behavior.

However, the growing reliance on these insults in pro-mask discourse concerns me — not because I’m worried about the feelings of “plague rats,” but because I get the distinct impression that many people hurling such insults have failed to identify the underlying source of the problem. And if those of us who support collective action in response to the pandemic fail to identify the source of the problem, we won’t be able to solve it.

The eBook edition of my first novel, Change, is now available at many more booksellers!

I recently expanded distribution of Change by publishing it through Draft2Digital. After a brief delay due to my unusual name, the book started publishing at all of Draft2Digital’s distribution channels. It’s still available at Amazon, but now it’s also available in many other places for readers who don’t use Amazon. Please visit the new Universal Book Link (UBL) for Change to see all of the places where it’s currently available.

If you like Change, please remember the three R’s of supporting indie authors: Rate, Review, and Recommend. Rate and review change at your favorite bookseller and on Goodreads. This helps other readers find it and decide if they would like it. Also, recommend it to your friends by telling them what you personally liked about it and sending them the UBL for Change. Personal recommendations from friends or family often carry far more weight than reviews by strangers

This looks like a fun day at the water park, right? It’s a picture from this year’s Memorial Day celebration at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. People are celebrating the holiday weekend without a care in the world. There are plenty of photos like this circulating online, but the “PLEASE PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING” banner proudly displayed over a tightly-packed crowd makes this one my favorite. That’s one for the history books, folks.

The pandemic isn’t over. Not even close. The spike of people gathering in crowds like this over the holiday weekend will inevitably trigger a second wave of infections and deaths.

Why is this happening? Why are people gathering in large crowds when the virus may still be spreading at epidemic rates in 24 states, and a second wave was starting in the Midwest and South even before people started abandoning distancing over the holiday weekend?