Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Stop Calling 'Em Terrorists; It Gives Punks Too Much Power

Calling the bomb-makers and other irritating crazy violent people terrorists gives them too much power.

I'm not terrified, are you?

Millions of Americans go about our lives every day, completely not terrified. We may be concerned, especially when we or a loved one boards an airplane.

We may be irritated, annoyed, exasperated, and fed up with these misguided miscreants.

But let's keep some perspective on this.

Calling them terrorists puffs them up with importance. It creates the impression that they hold one of the most powerful nations in the world in emotional bondage.

It suggests that Americans are sheep who are intimidated by a few crazy yahoos.

Let's stop creating a reality that does not exist and giving them credit they do not deserve.

Call them criminals, punks, severely delusional, sociopaths, psychopaths, and -- for the suicide bombers who are underage -- juvenile delinquents.

Believing one is a terrorist may be attractive to some people. Being called international scum, probably not.

Communication and psychology researchers have known for some decades that language constitutes in some part our reality. See, for example, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.

Journalists, wise up. Choose the words you use to describe renegade bomb-makers wisely. Diminish them; don't build them up.

I'm not terrified. Are you?