Letters to the Editor

Letter of the week: Language can be a weapon

Perhaps you’re feeling “under the gun” with a tough project and are hoping for a “magic bullet” to solve the problem. Or maybe you’re thinking of just “shooting from the hip” for a quick fix.

You might be surprised how often we use gun-related words and phrases like these in everyday conversation. Our local organization, Grandparents Against Gun Violence, has developed a list of more than 70 similar examples we think contribute to the culture of gun violence.

Being aware of those common words and phrases and replacing them with more benign language just might make a slight change in that culture.

No, we’re not advocating an exercise in political correctness. We simply hope to make people aware of how this seemingly innocent but violence-tinged language affects every aspect of our communication and culture.

So before you go off “half-cocked” and maybe even “shoot yourself in the foot,” we urge you to listen, and listen closely, to the words you use that reinforce the gun culture.

You can read our Gun Violence Thesaurus at www.moksgagv.org in the Resources section.

Judy Sherry of Kansas City is president of Missouri and Kansas Grandparents Against Gun Violence. She also serves as chair of the Heartland Coalition Against Gun Violence and heads a marketing and advertising company. She and her husband have two children and four grandchildren.

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