There has been much talk about how “progressives” don’t believe in individual responsibility. There’s the stereotype that liberals attribute volitional powers to firearms…that firearms cause violence. In anticipation of the Missouri legislature’s veto override of SB656, Kansas City Mayor Sly James tried to get out in front of the issue in an address to a gaggle of community organizers . . .
As fox4kc.com reports,
Violence, the mayor says is committed by guns.
I listened to the video of the speech. That isn’t exactly what Hizzoner said, but rather a paraphrasing of the speech by Kerri Stowell of Fox4 News. As I heard it , she said that Mayor James said “Too much violence is committed by guns”.
Ultimately tt doesn’t matter much whether the Mayor said it or if Kerri Stowell misquoted him because that’s what most viewers will hear. It’s a major misuse of the language to say that violence is committed “by” guns instead of “with” guns. “By guns” attributes agency and volition to guns, a nonsensical statement. “With guns” correctly attributes agency and volition to the people using the guns.
I see and hear poor language usage repeatedly and I don’t think it’s accidental. Saying that violence is committed “by guns” removes the volition and responsibility from human hands, and offers a simplistic and irrational solution to a complex problem — remove the guns and you remove the violence. As with most simplistic solutions to complex problems, it only creates more problems.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.