Tag Archives: rhetoric

Sunday Question – Do You Believe Words Can Hurt?

Last weekend there was a terrible tragedy that occurred in Tucson, Arizona. What we’re all calling a “mad man” went on kind of a rampage. He walked up to a U.S. congressional representative, shot her in the head, then proceeded to shoot 18 people in all, one of those people being a devoutly religious federal judge, another a 9-year old girl who was born on 9/11/01 and seen as a sign of hope for this country in the long run.

Arneson’s Yin & Yang Eggheads
by Steve Webster

Pretty much hours after this event, after the initial shock, the battle of words began. Many people were blaming one particular side of the political landscape for the type of rhetoric they were putting out, some of which made it sound like people who didn’t agree with them should be killed. The other side came back saying they weren’t to blame for the acts of a mad man and that saying it was their fault was using a tragedy for political purposes.

I have to admit that my mind went to that place after I was notified of what was going on. The last couple of years has had some of the nastiest rhetoric I can ever remember in American politics, and it went beyond that into communities across the United States this summer. Representatives and senators were dealing with something they’ve never had to worry about before, that being their safety from an angry populace that had been stoked by people like… nah, I’m not naming names.

Something else that was new were people showing up with guns and making sure you knew they had them. I mean, there had always been cranks, but never had anyone so openly decided to let someone know that their life was potentially in danger, especially at a presidential event, even though it was all legal. So much for the right to bear arms and being responsible.

I’m someone who actually believes that there’s a great power in words. Remember the old saw “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”? Well, not only is that not true, but calling someone names can get you killed in today’s world. Back in my day it could get you into a fight. I’ve been asked often why I didn’t go into politics. It’s because my skin isn’t thick enough to endure someone lying to me in public; I’d be at their house later that evening demanding a retraction or someone would be getting their behind kicked. Not quite what people want to see in a politician. lol

I answer my own question with “yes”. Although I think everyone is ultimately responsible for their own actions, I do believe that there are people whose minds can be swayed and encouraged to do things they normally wouldn’t have done. Do the names Hitler and Manson mean anything to you? It’s one reason why I, for the most part, temper my words. With an open forum comes responsibility, and though I doubt I’d say anything that would get anyone to take an immediate action, I figure you just never know what you’ll say that might make someone do something stupid.

Those are my thoughts; what are your thoughts on this one?

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