It isn’t a right if it’s compulsory

In the United States there are several rights codified in our Constitution. And one concept about rights many seem to forget is they are entirely voluntary. You have the choice of whether to exercise those rights. Once you take away the choice, it is no longer a right.

Yet such is the topic of a recent “Letter to the Editor” in the Los Angeles Times:

Columnist Jonah Goldberg’s fear of mandatory voting can be summed up in the belief that it would be “coerced speech” and therefore something contrary to America’s basic values.

That seems to ignore other coerced activities that the majority believes “promote the general welfare,” in the words of the preamble to the Constitution.

Does Goldberg hold that education should be voluntary? Does he oppose licensing drivers? Would he make jury duty a totally voluntary undertaking? Does he think all Americans would freely send in their taxes because they believe, as Oliver Wendell Holmes stated, they are the “price we pay for civilized society.”

Mandatory voting should be a requirement of citizenship like so many other duties we willingly perform for the greater good of our family, our neighbors and our compatriots. If voters don’t like the ballot choices, they can leave the boxes blank rather than stay home in a righteous funk.

Godfrey Harris, Encino

This also shows much the same logic I’ve seen out of a lot of people: a lot of other things are compulsory, so [insert thing I want compulsory] should be as well.

I also wonder if Mr Harris would also use the word “right” to describe education, despite pointing out herein that education is compulsory in the United States – up till you turn 16 or 17, depending on the State.

Let’s take the right of free speech. In an earlier article – okay, a much earlier article on this blog, I said the right includes “the right to express, [and the] right to withhold expressing”. And that you have the right to not speak is so sacred that police are required to inform you of it before interrogating you. And the government cannot compel you to say anything. (A lot of people try to counter with “oaths of office” here, but those are conditions on taking a job or appointment with the government, not something you are punished for not doing.)

I’ve said the same about the Second Amendment as well: that the right to keep and bear arms includes the right to choose whether you will do so. The government cannot compel you to own firearms, or any particular firearms or any particular quantities of ammunition. Nor can they restrict what firearms you can own (that they currently do does not mean it’s a legitimate exercise of power) or what quantities of ammunition.

The same with the right to vote. If you don’t have a choice in whether to vote, it isn’t a right. Doesn’t matter what justifications you can make to support your assertion. It stops being a right when it starts being mandatory.

Which is why I’ve said “parental rights” don’t exist:

[P]arent’s don’t actually have “rights”. Instead they have only responsibilities and duties to their children. They have some discretion in making decisions over how to care for their children, such as in determining meals and clothing styles, but only to the extent that it does not come into conflict with their duty to provide an adequate level of care for their children.

But let’s grant the proposal for a brief moment. That voting should be compulsory. What should be the penalty for noncompliance?

And Mr Harris’s idea of submitting a blank ballot is completely indistinguishable from abstaining in the end. So why waste the time submitting a blank ballot, which wastes time with processing as well (more so when talking about mail-in ballots), when outright abstaining is just more efficient all-around?

Another variant in the wild

Like I said before, we need to start naming these variants like we name COVID-19 or influenza strains. Same scam as before, and again claiming they have access to my email when my mail server is sitting on a server behind my firewall.

Hi. How are you? 

I know, it's unpleasant to start the conversation with bad news, but I have no choice.
Few months ago, I have gained access to your devices that used by you for internet browsing.
Afterwards, I could track down all your internet activities.

Here is the history of how it could become possible: 
At first, I purchased from hackers the access to multiple email accounts (nowadays, it is a really simple thing to do online).
As result, I could easily log in to your email account ([REDACTED]).

One week later, I installed Trojan virus in Operating Systems of all devices of yours, which you use to open email.
Frankly speaking, it was rather straightforward (since you were opening the links from your inbox emails).
Everything ingenious is quite simple. (o_0)!

My software enables me with access to all controllers inside devices of yours, like microphone, keyboard and video camera.
I could easily download to my servers all your private info, including the history of web browsing and photos.
I can effortlessly gain access to all your messengers, social networks accounts, emails, contact list as well as chat history.
Virus of mine constantly keeps refreshing its signatures (because it is driver-based), and as result remains unnoticed by your antivirus.

Hence, you can already guess why I stayed undetected all this while.

As I was gathering information about you, I couldn't help but notice that you are also a true fan of adult-content websites.
You actually love visiting porn sites and browsing through kinky videos, while pleasuring yourself.
I could make a few dirty records with you in the main focus and montaged several videos showing the way you reach orgasm while masturbating with joy.

If you are still uncertain regarding the seriousness of my intentions, 
it only requires several mouse clicks for me to forward your videos to all your relatives, as well as friends and colleagues.
I can also make those vids become accessible by public.
I honestly think that you do not really want that to happen, considering the peculiarity of videos you like to watch, 
(you obviously know what I mean) all that kinky content can become a reason of serious troubles for you.

However, we can still resolve this situation in the following manner:
Everything you are required to do is a single transfer of $1390 USD to my account (or amount equivalent to bitcoin depending on exchange rate at the moment of transfer), 
and once the transaction is complete, I will straight away remove all the dirty content exposing you.
After that, you can even forget that you have come across me. Moreover, I swear that all the harmful software will be removed from all devices of yours as well. 
Make no doubt that I will fulfill my part.

This is really a great deal that comes at a reasonable price, given that I have used quite a lot of energy to check your profile as well as traffic over an extended period of time.
If you have no idea about bitcoin purchase process - it can be straightforwardly done by getting all the necessary information online.

Here is my bitcoin wallet provided below: 19Ya5oeV6zqsHa9TSyurpeF1LpYJqm84Yv

You should complete the abovementioned transfer within 48 hours (2 days) after opening this email.

The following list contains actions you should avoid attempting:
#Do not try replying my email (email in your inbox was generated by me alongside with return email address).
#Do not try calling police as well as other security forces. In addition, abstain from sharing this story with your friends. 
 After I find out (be sure, I can easily do that, given that I keep complete control of all your devices) - your kinky video will end up being available to public right away. 
#Do not try searching for me - there is absolutely no reason to do that. Moreover, all transactions in cryptocurrency are always anonymous.
#Do not try reinstalling the OS on your devices or throwing them away. It is pointless as well, since all your videos have already been uploaded to remote servers.

The following list contains things you should not be worried about:
#That your money won't reach my account.
- Rest assured, the transactions can be tracked, hence once the transaction is complete, 
 I will know about it, because I continuously observe all your activities (my trojan virus allows me to control remotely your devices, same as TeamViewer).
#That I still will share your kinky videos to public after you complete money transfer.
- Trust me, it's pointless for me to continue troubling your life. If I really wanted, I would make it happen already! 

Let's make this deal in a fair manner!

Owh, one more future it is best that you don't involve yourself in similar situations any longer!
One last advice from me - recurrently change all your passwords from all accounts.

Other Bitcoin wallets I’ve seen associated with this scam:

Simple wiring for a 3-way switch

As mentioned in a previous product review, the current ongoing project is attic insulation. Part of this project – and a significant source of delays – is rewiring.

First a little background. My home was built in 1951, making it older than my parents. And most of the insulation I’m removing is… original to the house. There was also a lot of wiring original to the house as well, meaning not grounded. According to what I could find, grounded wiring and outlets became required for new homes in 1974 when the updated electrical code went into effect.

So I’ve been replacing the non-grounded wiring as I found it. Along with splitting out the wiring so I don’t have… say, seven (yes, seven!) power lines coming to one junction box. (In all seriousness, if you think that’s a good idea, get some help.)

A lot of homes (most, I presume) have at least one 3-way switch pair. I have two, actually: the dining room and kitchen.

3-way switches need to be wired in series. And a lot of images and diagrams I’ve found show this. (Such as the one above, from The Family Handyman.) And I think it’s safe to say that most 3-way switches are wired like this. Which is all well and good, in theory. But the switches are typically on the opposite ends of a room, and wiring them directly in series means running two (2) power lines to each switch, one of them going between the switches, making things a bit… complicated.

And if you’re replacing older wiring (like me!), you probably want to avoid pulling two wires down through a wall. So is there a way to still connect the switches in series as needed that requires only one power line to each component?

Well you’re reading this, so the answer is obviously Yes.

Warning: I really shouldn’t have to say this, but I will anyway because people are stupid, and stupid people are litigious. Take any and all reasonable safety precautions when working with your house wiring. This means identifying and turning off the circuit breaker and using proper tools. These instructions are provided for informational purposes only, and you follow them at your own risk.

If you aren’t comfortable doing this on your own, why are you reading this article? Just call an electrician or a good friend who will do it for you in exchange for some beer.

Bill of materials

Note: If you’re rewiring, make sure the switches you have are actually 3-way and not 2-pole switches and that both have a ground connector. If you’re unsure, or unsure about how old they are, just buy new 3-way switches from your local hardware store so you know you have a matched pair.

I had to do that as one of the two switches in the pair was a 2-pole, not a 3-way. Plus I have no idea how old they were.

Sanely wiring a 3-way switch

Step 1. Set the junction box and bring power to it.

The power delivery will be divided at the junction box. The power main will be coming to it, and the power to the light will be going away from the junction box with both switches being wired here as well. This will make your life so much easier than working inside a lighting fixture box.

Step 2. The light fixture.

The light fixture should be pretty straightforward. You’ll first want to wire the ground to the box. Then wire the light fixture according to its instructions.

Step 3. Wiring the switches.

A grounded 3-way switch has four (4) contacts: two brass, one black, and ground. The brass terminals are called “traveler terminals” and are used to connect the two switches together. The switch position determines which terminal power travels through.

Per the diagram above, if you were using separate power lines between the switches, you’d be using the red and black wires to connect them while passing through the white and ground. But here there is only one power line to the switch. That means you’ll be hijacking the white and red conductors for the “traveler terminals”. So connect separate lines to each switch as such:

  • Ground to green
  • Black to black
  • Red and white to brass.

If you wire the brass terminals the same on both switches, they will need to be in the same position for the light to turn on. Wire them opposite each other, they will need to be in the opposite position for the light to turn on. Personal preference dictates what to do here. I personally have them wired the same just for the sake of simplicity.

Step 4. The junction box

Now to bring it all together.

  1. White from the power main to white on the light fixture
  2. Red to red, white to white on the power lines going to the 3-way switches
  3. Black from the power main to black to one switch
  4. Black to the light fixture to black to the other switch

And obviously the grounds get connected together as well. If you used a junction box with ground lugs, per the bill of materials above, connect all the grounds there. Though you are talking about 4 grounds, so things could be a little tight.

In the end it should be something like this diagram (from the aptly-named, only using a separate junction box instead of the light fixture box as the central point:

Step 5. Enjoy

Don’t forget to close up the junction box and secure the switches. Just be sure to turn the breaker back OFF before doing so. Just in case.

Another variant

I’m starting to think we need to start naming variants of this scam email the same way we name variants of COVID-19.


Unfortunately, I have some bad news for you.
Several months ago, I got access to the device you are using to browse the internet.
Since that time, I have been monitoring your internet activity. 

Here is the proof I hacked this email. Your password at the time when I got access to your email: [REDACTED]

Being a regular visitor of adult websites, I can confirm that it is you who is responsible for this. 
To keep it simple, the websites you visited provided me with access to your data. 

I've uploaded a Trojan horse on the driver basis that updates its signature several times per day, to make it impossible for antivirus to detect it. Additionally, it gives me access to your camera and microphone.
Moreover, I have backed-up all the data, including photos, social media, chats and contacts. 

Just recently, I came up with an awesome idea to create the video where you cum in one part of the screen, while the video was simultaneously playing on another screen. That was fun! 

Rest assured that I can easily send this video to all your contacts with a few clicks, and I assume that you would like to prevent this scenario. 

With that in mind, here is my proposal: 
Transfer the amount equivalent to 1850 USD to my Bitcoin wallet, and I will forget about the entire thing. I will also delete all data and videos permanently. 

In my opinion, this is a somewhat modest price for my work. 
You can figure out how to purchase Bitcoins using search engines like Google or Bing, seeing that it's not very difficult.

My Bitcoin wallet (BTC): 1De13L9Z7auBh9W8QtsxxiYRLqV8vke9Lt

You have 48 hours to reply and you should also bear the following in mind: 

It makes no sense to reply me - the address has been generated automatically.
It makes no sense to complain either, since the letter along with my Bitcoin wallet cannot be tracked. 
Everything has been orchestrated precisely. 

If I ever detect that you mentioned anything about this letter to anyone - the video will be immediately shared, and your contacts will be the first to receive it. Following that, the video will be posted on the web!

P.S. The time will start once you open this letter. (This program has a built-in timer).

Good luck and take it easy! It was just bad luck, next time please be careful.

Merry Christmas, I suppose?

Yes, I received this on Christmas Day from “Heather”. Imagine that!


Hopefully you actually do not mind my language sentence structure, since i am from Indonesia. I contaminated your device with a virus and im in possession of all your private data from your computer system. 

It was established on a mature page and after that you've selected the online video and  it, my program immediately got into your os. 

After that, your camera documented you fapping, besides i documented a video that you have viewed. 

After some time in addition, it picked up your social contact info. If you ever wish me to wipe out your all that i currently have - send me 700 euros in bitcoin it is a cryptocurrency. 

This is my btc wallet number - 


At this moment you have 21 hrs. to make a decision The minute i will get the deal i'm going wipe out this footage and everything thoroughly. Otherwise, please be certain that this video would be sent to all of your buddies.

Do Not Reply to This Email

Same hallmarks as all the previous ones, but at least it’s a LOT shorter than all the previous ones, too. So whomever originally wrote this template deserves a commendation for that, at least.

Zenith Self-Prying Pro-Bar

Buy it now at Home Depot or

This year’s major house project has been attic insulation. And getting all of the old out to put down the new has been a chore unto itself. But to get to all of the old and make sure I could lay down the new, I needed to pull up floor boards.

And the Zenith Self-Prying Pro-Bar made that task super easy.

The wide base and thin beveled edge made it very easy to get under the boards and pry them up. Far better than using a claw hammer or other pry tool. Just use a rubber mallet to push it under the board you’re lifting. The groove in the front made it easy to get far enough under the board with nails in the way to still use the joist for leverage.

The wide base also spreads the force out over a wider area compared to typical pry tools, so the board comes up with less effort. And if you’re trying to pull up old boards, such as what was in my attic, the boards are far less likely to splinter apart compared to a typical pry tool with a much smaller surface.

I used the tool to raise one edge of the board enough that I could then use a hammer or pry bar to get the nails out. Then when one row of nails was out of the way, the pry tool could get leverage under the board to lift up the other row of nails, allowing me to pry those out and get the board out of the way in tact. (Most of the time.)

Its short handle is my only complaint given its use cases. It’s 16″. So Zenith should consider a new version of this tool with a longer handle. I think 24″ would be ideal here, as the longer arm would allow for more leverage. That combined with the wide base would make short work of any floor boards with still less effort, which would be far better for the largest jobs. They should also consider just getting rid of the small pry head on the handle as well as it only gets in the way given the use cases this tool was obviously designed for.

Let’s be honest about who this tool is for, though. It’s is a niche product with a >40 USD price tag. Don’t get me wrong, though. It’s definitely well worth its price given the time and effort saved compared to typical pry tools.

But let’s be realistic. The typical DIY homeowner will only be using it for one or two projects. For me, once the attic floor boards are all out of the way, I don’t see anything else I could use this for. So I’ll most likely be selling it on rather than keeping it around.

If you’re a professional, though, this tool should absolutely be part of your arsenal.

Buy it now at Home Depot or

Bernie doesn’t understand the drug market

I’ll say this up front: if you’re complaining about the cost of something today compared to several decades ago, and your explanation doesn’t include change in demand and the FDA, you’re out of touch with how things work.

Enter Senator Bernie Sanders.

So how can we explain this? Let’s start with inflation. Now inflation alone doesn’t account for a 14-fold increase in price. 21 USD in 1996 is equivalent to about 37 USD today. So that’s only about 16 USD of the nearly 300 USD increase. Hmm…

So what about change in demand? Across the last 25 years, how has the demand for insulin changed? A. Fucking. Lot. But enough to account for a 14-fold increase in price?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 10.5% of the population in 2018 has diabetes – about 34.2 million people – and about 1.5 million people are newly diagnosed each year. And the prevalence of diabetes has gone up significantly over the last 20 years among adults, from about 9.5% to 12%.

Now that alone also doesn’t account for a 14-fold increase. According to the United States Census Bureau, there were approximately 209 million adults in 2000, compared to 258 million in 2020. That means the total number of diabetics increased from shy of 20 million in 2000 to almost 31 million in 2020. A greater than 50% increase.

Okay so change in demand plus inflation should mean the price of insulin should be… about 55 USD, right? Not quite. Because there are a ton of other factors that determine the price of insulin.

First is the capability to meet that demand. Making insulin isn’t easy. Just like… really any drug that needs to be synthesized in mass. Drug makers, just like all manufacturers, have only so much manufacturing capacity. I mean it isn’t like we can just conjure it via a Star Trek replicator. (Boy wouldn’t that solve a lot of problems!) The price they charge to buyers acts as a valve on that demand. So it becomes a balancing act.

So if drug makers cannot meet demand, we just need more insulin makers, right? Well yes, that’s the easy answer. But reality isn’t so simple.

Enter the United States Food and Drug Administration – the FDA. They are the gatekeepers to the drug market in the United States and one of the primary gatekeepers to the health care market. Anyone who wants to make insulin or a vaccine or anything to be offered as a treatment for anything must go through them. First to be licensed as a drug maker (along with any State licensing) with periodic renewal fees, then the insulin you do make has to be licensed before it can be offered for sale.

Insurance definitely doesn’t help here either. And the effect insurance has on the price of everything in health care is pretty well established. (Hint: it’s one of the leading reasons health care costs so much.)

So why is insulin up 14-fold over 25 years ago? A combination of factors.

  1. Substantially increased demand
  2. FDA preventing new insulin makers from entering market
  3. Insurance hiding the cost of insulin allowing drug makers to inflate the price merely because they can

So greed is a factor, but it isn’t the ONLY factor. And I wouldn’t consider it a substantial factor either. Especially since the drug makers also have programs wherein they give away drugs to those who need them (with a proper prescription, of course) if they are low-income and meet other qualifications. And the cost of those programs is passed onto everyone else.

Then there’s the cost of what is needed to produce insulin. And not just the components, but the labor and machinery. I’ve already mentioned the FDA, but regulatory compliance is also another hidden cost. And all costs of business get passed onto the customers. Meaning the cost of the product goes up with the cost of production.

So there are a ton of factors going into why the cost of insulin – and really everything in health care – is higher compared to 25 years ago.

Yeah I get snarky at times

This was an email I recently received:


My name is [REDACTED] and I’m an account manager at [REDACTED].

One of our clients has shown interest in being featured on an article on  your website.

Is that something you are able to accommodate?

We have a great inhouse team of writers and we can provide the content, or if you prefer, you can also write it and feature our client.

Can you please send me a price quote for an article? Please keep in mind we are an agency and require competitive pricing as we resell them to our clients.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Best regards,


Account Manager

And with that, I decided to send this as a response:

With all due respect, do you walk into a car dealership and, without any preamble, say “Quote me a price for a car…”? Not anything specific. Not providing any details of whether you’ve got a specific make or model in mind. Not listing out your needs. Just “a car”.

So care to tell me the name of your client and how they’re expecting to be featured on my site? Are they looking for me to review a product? A mention in an article relevant to their primary market? (On which knowing their name would allow me to research.) It would’ve been very helpful having that information up front, since that’s what I need to provide a price quote.


That was 5 days ago. Not expecting to hear from them.

And I’ll state this again: no one should be asking me about paid custom content given the very few hits per day my site gets. Which tells me the email they sent me is just another form email that gets cast out into the void to a mailing list.

Quieting the MikroTik CRS317

I actually never thought I’d be writing this article. Almost three years ago when I wrote my review of the MikroTik CRS317, I said it’s “quiet”. Even with SFP modules for GbE connections, since SFP modules do run hotter than optical modules.

Once I put the CSS610 into service, the fans on the CRS317 came on very infrequently.

So what changed?

Internet Upgrade

The whole 10GbE project started back in late 2016. Google Fiber came to Kansas City in 2015, and my apartment complex was part of the early rollout. Since having Google Fiber, with Gigabit up and down, it was the feature we looked for when shopping for another apartment with W/D hookups, and eventually our house.

Plus Google Fiber came with the benefit of it being locked at $70/mo. And that rate NEVER went up.

They recently introduced 2Gb service. (It’s 2Gb down, 1Gb up.) Having a 10GbE switch as the backbone on my home network meant taking advantage of that service bump was easy since one of the connectors on the new router is 10GbE RJ45. (I wish it also had an SFP+ cage so I could use optical fiber, but oh well.)

The switch being SFP+ with no 10GbE RJ45 port meant I just needed to buy an SFP+ RJ45 module. Specifically I bought MikroTik’s S+RJ10. Just plug and play with a Cat6A or Cat7 cable.

So what’s the issue?

It’s hot!

Pretty much all 10GbE RJ45 SFP+ modules run hot. There really isn’t any getting around since they also consume far more power. It takes more power to modulate a signal across a copper wire than through fiber. And more energy consumption means more heat. Active cooling on the SFP modules is the only way to counter this. Which I don’t know of a switch that actually does that.

So it was no surprise, then, that the fans were screaming as the module ran at 70°C or hotter. And with the linen closet where I have the networking equipment being right outside my office door, you can probably imagine how annoying that got. Even with good headphones.

Rigging for silent running

My MikroTik switch has two Chiefly Choice CC4020B12M fans. The manufacturer rates them at around 28.5dB/A on noise, pushing shy of 9 cfm at 7000 rpm. The CRS317 uses two 4-pin fan headers as well, but these are 3-pin fans. So up front these are nowhere near as bad as the fans in the Quanta LB6M.

And they were running at max RPM pretty much all the time after installing the SFP+ module.

Only one name came to mind for replacing the fans: Noctua. Against which I compared other 40mm fans for both airflow and noise. Despite the premium, Noctua had the best balance of both noise and airflow. (In my opinion as of this writing.)

The Noctua NF-A4x20 FLX is rated at around 15dB/A and pushes about 5.5 cfm at 5000 rpm. Much less airflow, which is the unfortunate tradeoff in trying to reduce noise by replacing these small fans. At even just 60mm or 80mm, the tradeoff isn’t nearly as steep, and you can easily find quiet 80mm fans with good airflow. One such fan with an adapter would easily replace both 40mm fans.

But the switch is now much more tolerable compared to the stock fans. And this is still a good upgrade to make even if the fans don’t run all the time. It’ll just mean the switch is virtually inaudible when they do. Which is perfect if the switch is being used as a desktop switch near workstations or in a home office.

So what about that active cooling on the SFP+ module?

Cooling things down

There’s about 20mm of space between the SFP cages and the switch’s lid. So no clearance for typical fans you’d find on the market. And I again wanted a quiet fan. So back to Noctua and the 10mm thick NF-A4x10 FLX. I used VHB tape to hold it in place over the SFP+ module, taping it to the front side of the switch blowing down.

A splitter cable connected the two rear fans to one of the fan connectors – there are only two on the mainboard. And the SFP+ fan is plugged into the second fan connector. With the three 40mm fans, even running at full blast, it is not audible from my office. The stock fans absolutely were.

And that dropped the operating temperature of the SFP+ module by about 15°C. It still runs hot, but the reported temperature is in the low 60s as opposed to the mid to high 70s.

Deleting their wedding

We all love a little petty or nuclear revenge. But what happens when that nuclear revenge comes in the form of formatting memory card(s) in front of a groom? You have a post that has recently been going viral in which a photographer did just that: “AITA for deleting my friend’s wedding photos in front of them?” This one’s a doozy.

I’m not really a photographer, I’m a dog groomer. I take lots of photos of dogs all day to put on my Facebook and Instagram, it’s “my thing” if that makes sense. A cut and a photo with every appointment. I very seldom shoot things other than dogs even if I have a nice set up.

A friend got married a few days ago and wanting to save money, asked if I’d shoot it for them. I told him it’s not really my forte but he convinced me by saying he didn’t care if they were perfect: they were on a shoestring budget and I agreed to shoot it for $250, which is nothing for a 10 hour event.

On the day of, I’m driving around following the bride as she goes from appointment to appointment before the ceremony, taking photos along the way. I shoot the ceremony itself, and during the reception I’m shooting speeches and people mingling.

I started around 11am and was due to finish around 7:30pm. Around 5pm, food is being served and I was told I cannot stop to eat because I need to be photographer; in fact, they didn’t save me a spot at any table. I’m getting tired and at this point kinda regretting doing this for next to nothing. It’s also unbelievably hot: the venue is in an old veteran’s legion and it’s like 110F and there’s no AC.

I told the groom I need to take off for 20min to get something to eat and drink. There’s no open bar or anything, I can’t even get water and my two water bottles are long empty. He tells me I need to either be photographer, or leave without pay. With the heat, being hungry, being generally annoyed at the circumstances, I asked if he was sure, and he said yes, so I deleted all the photos I took in front of him and took off saying I’m not his photographer anymore. If I was to be paid $250, honestly at that point I would have paid $250 just for a glass of cold water and somewhere to sit for 5min.

Was I the asshole? They went right on their honeymoon and they’ve all been off of social media, but a lot of people have been posting on their wall asking about photos with zero responses.

And unsurprisingly, the consensus is Not the Asshole (NTA). And it’s telling that consensus was reached purely through emotion. Well time to dissent from the majority.

In the comments one person pointed out that the “Am I The Asshole” forum isn’t about asking whether someone’s actions are justified. Several have also said the poster should have not deleted the photos but, instead, should have demanded more money for them given the slave-like treatment they endured.

My opinion is quite simple. YTA. The poster is the asshole for deleting the photos. And if you think by saying such I’m somehow dismissing, diminishing, or excusing the groom’s actions here, a basic study in logic will be to your benefit.

So let’s start with the groom.

Yes, the groom is an asshole

The groom talking a dog groomer into being the photographer at his wedding was purely a money move. Wedding photographers normally charge several thousand dollars to photograph a wedding. And with good reason. I’ll let UK photographer Dave McKeegen do the explaining:

There’s a LOT that goes into wedding photography. There’s a LOT that goes into any photo shoot. A lot more than is readily apparent, which is why a lot of people try to undercut what a photographer charges for their services. As the saying goes, we charge what we do because the years of experience you have not seen is what provides the results you do see. And that goes not just for photographers.

And when it comes to photography, while it might look like we’re just pointing our cameras and pressing a shutter, there’s a bit more that goes on before that shutter button is pressed. And with weddings, the shots to take and how to take them is something really only learned through experience. Either as a second photographer or by just shooting a lot of weddings.

So if you think you can get away with hiring just anyone with a camera to photograph your wedding, and doing so for only $250, don’t expect stellar results. Actually, don’t expect really much of anything.

And don’t threaten to not pay them in order to get them to comply with your demands. Even if their agreement was entirely verbal, it’s still fully enforceable with the photos as evidence an agreement existed. If I was in that photographer’s position, I would’ve just up and left, sent them an invoice, and told them I wouldn’t even consider editing what I did take till they paid up.

Your wedding photographer is just as much a part of your wedding as you are. Probably more so. If a wedding was a television or movie production, your photographer is literally the camera crew. Without them, you just have a bunch of people going through the motions and largely… nothing to show for it. As such, treat them the same way you’d treat one of your groomsmen or bridesmaids.

Actually, no. Treat them better than you’d treat anyone in your wedding party. You want good results? Keep them happy.

This also means not denying them breaks and chances for food and drink.

But so is the photographer

So why is the photographer an asshole? Well… the agreement, for starters.

The agreement was to take photographs in exchange for being paid. Your obligations under that agreement begin when you show up. So by deleting the photos that have already been taken – in front of the groom, no less – they became in breach of contract. And could be sued for such. The groom could sue for an injunction forcing the photographer to produce whatever photos were taken. Which would then obligate the photographer to confess under oath that they were destroyed. Intentionally.

Now one could say that since no money changed hands, then the groom wouldn’t be able to get anything. And that’s where “punitive damages” comes in. While not normally awarded in a breach of contract claim, the circumstances here are extenuating.

But there’s a lot more.

I mentioned “collateral damage” in a previous article talking about an employee who quit on the spot after her manager refused to accept her resignation. The photographer didn’t screw over just the groom. They also screwed over the bride and the families of the bride and groom.

Yes, the groom was an asshole without doubt. But that doesn’t justify denying photos to everyone who would’ve expected them.

Had they merely walked away early, I would’ve had zero trouble siding with the photographer. That they went “nuclear”, to borrow Internet parlance, was so far beyond “too far” that they’re no longer in the same galaxy. Exhaustion and hunger got the better of them and they acted without thinking. Which is why they ended up second guessing their actions and went to the Internet in hopes of hearing they did the right thing.

And Reddit, also responding purely emotionally instead of actually thinking through the totality of the circumstance, caved. How predictable.

Trouble clients

Anyone who has worked anywhere knows that trouble clients and customers are just part and parcel. So what, then, if you’re the wedding photographer who is on the receiving end of a groom or bride’s assholery? There’s unfortunately not much you can do about it except stand up for yourself.

If the bride or groom isn’t letting you eat or take any kind of break – e.g. the restroom – then you need to stand your ground. Telling them you will be taking breaks as needed, including for food and water, and that not paying will be met with photos being withheld until they do pay as agreed, with a lawsuit to follow if they don’t pay.

And when that fails, you always have the option to just cut your losses and walk away.

Yes, seriously, that is what it requires. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t have that kind of mindset. This photographer included. Since they didn’t cut their losses. They scorched the earth.