Thursday, November 2, 2017

"Violent incidents" or "massacres?"

Words are important.

Please let's not use terms like "violent incident" to describe yesterday's or last month's mass-murderous rampages.

"Massacre" is more like it. A violent incident is when two drunkards getting into a fist fight at a bar.

“Violent” is an understatement. Here we are discussing horrific loss of life. Let's not take that lightly.

Also, "incident" is repugnant. Mass murders are anything but incidental. They are premeditated and planned-out well in advance. They aren't minor occurrences that are incidental to (or liable to happen as a consequence of simply) living in today's world.

“Violent incident” seems like a semantic attempt to minimize, sideline, or even trivialize an unspeakable atrocity. “Incidents” are just to be expected. Don’t be outraged, the term suggests. It’s just an isolated incident.

Well, forgive me, but I cannot help but be outraged. And it is deeply troubling that media or Facebook describes them merely as “violent incidents.”

Shall we rename other massacres of the past?

Is the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre now to be called the “S. Bartholomew’s Day violent incident?” Shall we call it the “Babi Yar violent incident” instead of massacre?

Does it have to do with numbers of victims? If that’s indeed the case, then let’s rename “Boston Massacre” and “Columbine High School massacre” too.

What occurred in San Bernadino, Las Vegas, Lower Manhattan, Orlando, Charleston, Oklahoma City, Newtown, etc., were nothing more than “violent incidents.” They just happened coincidentally.

This is not about political agendas. The point here isn't whether most perpetrators were Muslim immigrant jihadis, White Supremacists or unhinged teenagers. It's not about whether we ought to ban immigrants, guns or Home Depot rental trucks. It's about honoring innocent human lives that were senselessly lost at the hands of a depraved (or disturbed) mass murderer.

"Violent incident" sounds like an attempt at social engineering. It puts genocide on equal footing with any other garden-variety form of violence.

This expression has bothered me for years.

Here is my original article on the topic, regarding the horrific slaughter of the Fogel family and the beheading of their 10-month-old baby girl, all of which was dubbed by the media a mere "incident." In the article, I make the case that this cynical word game was eluded to in the Torah with regards to the nefarious nation of Amalek.

You can click here to read it.

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