Words are potent weapons of war. Right now they are being used against us on many fronts, and we so unaware of this that we often help advance the agendas of the bad guys.
Consider this all too common news story:
Car bomb kills 57 people in a public market square in (fill in your favorite metropolis.) Terrorist group XYZ claims responsibility.
Note what is happening here. ‘Claiming responsibility’ is a good thing. We teach our kids to take responsibility for their actions, that it’s the grownup thing to do. By attaching the idea of taking responsibility to the murders of 57 people, XYZ is attempting to legitimize these murders.
And we are letting them get away with it when we thoughtlessly use their description. A more accurate report would say:
Car bomb kills 57 people in a public market square in (fill in your favorite metropolis.) Terrorist group XYZ admits guilt.
Let’s use our words to characterize these claims as the admission of guilt for the murders that they are, rather than their words which are intended to make them some sort of political statement.