A note on language

February 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Gun Rights, Newbie Info 

In writing yesterday about the courageous stand being taken by LaRue tactical, I realized that one thing was bugging me about their press release.  It had to do with a word choice.

Gunnies are a notoriously picky lot when it comes to nomenclature.  Calling a magazine a clip, for example, will almost certainly cause a cacophony of protest.  But gun banners are a tricky lot, and they are very good at controlling language.  For example, inventing the “assault weapon” and the “high-capacity magazine.”  We’ve gotten better about perfecting our responses.  Replacing “assault weapon” with “modern sporting rifle” and calling the factory magazines “standard capacity” are subtle changes, but they go a long way to change public opinion.

Which brings me to the heart of the matter.  There is one word that LaRue used in their press release that I thought was unfortunate.  That word was “civilian.”  This is not to take anything away from what LaRue is doing.  We all use the word incorrectly from time to time, but it is a bad habit to get into.

I’ve been using an alternative word in place of civilian that I think sums up my position quite nicely.  That word is “citizen.”  Note the difference:

“There is no reason for a civilian to have an assault weapon!”

vs

“There is no reason for a citizen to have an modern sporting rifle!”

What about:

“There is no reason for a civilian to carry a concealed weapon!”

vs

“There is no reason for a citizen to carry a concealed weapon!”

A subtle distinction to be sure, but one implies equality, and one does not. And I think it is important to draw that distinction.