Monday, December 17, 2012
Author Jay Heinrichs has written an informative piece about how word choice can help prevent future mass shootings. Among his suggestions: instead of calling the shootings a tragedy--which implies that they were inevitable--call them a massacre; and when the Second Amendment is discussed, mention that it calls for a "well-regulated malitia," which has nothing to do with shooting children.
I discussed similar issues of word choice in my article about George Orwell's relevance to legal writing. And I've noticed how gun-control opponents use language to their advantage when they say, "Guns don't kill people--people do." That piece of linguistic legerdemain ignores English syntax. A drinker could say,"The bartender made me drunk" (focusing on a person) or"the Scotch made me drunk" (focusing on the immediate cause). Both are true. Of course guns kill people--a fact that was all too vividly demonstrated at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
hat tip: Lisa McElroy