Friday, January 9

Did hostages "die" or were they "killed"? And does it matter?

Words mean things.  Specific things.

Here's how London's "Mirror" reported the seige of a kosher deli in Paris:
Fifteen hostages were eventually freed alive and four died at Porte de Vincennes.
"Died."  Such a neutral, antiseptic word.

People die in car crashes.  In hospital operations.  Every day people die of old age--a common, unremarkable, normal occurrence.

While it's certainly undeniable that four hostages "died" at the deli, a much more accurate account would be that "four hostages were killed."

This changes the dynamic altogether.  "Killed" accurately implies an external agent did the killing.  The lives were ended not by old age or disease, but by the acts of an evil, malevolent Force.  If you don't understand that you're too stupid to reproduce.

This is a war.  It's just that one side know it and is fighting it, and the other side isn't.

That is all.


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