The sheer volume of words published on the Internet makes it possible to discount the importance of a few. However, as the PC Police love to remind everyone, word choice is important – especially when it comes to which names you call people. Take home invaders, for example. Acceptable names to call home invaders include: “intruder,” “criminal trespasser,” “attacker,” and “burglary suspect.”
In contrast, NBC New York recently incurred the wrath of the Internet for calling an armed home invader an “unwanted house visitor” on Twitter:
Since January 10, NBC has been torched nonstop about those few words – which is a good sign that the American people are paying attention to attempts to cast self-defense shootings in the wrong light. But… is it tiresome pedantry to harp on this kind of thing? After all, the tweet in question was a drop in the bucket among the 500 million Tweets tweeted each day.
In addition, NBC New York isn’t the only media outlet that’s recently called a home invader an unwanted visitor. Not even close. WJAC (Pennsylvania local news) did the same thing a couple months ago. Even WICZ, a Fox-affiliated local news operation in upstate New York, referred to a home invader as an “unwanted visitor” in a headline. Following a break-in at the home of pop star Rihanna, multiple media outlets referred to the intruder as a “visitor” or an “unwanted visitor.” This isn’t even a totally recent phenomenon. Back in 2011, CBS Chicago did it, too. And these examples are just what turned up after 10 minutes of Googling.
The point is, yes, we must all be vigilant when it comes to any media attempt to euphemize, whitewash, or understate the danger of criminals. That NBC New York tweet was particularly egregious, and gun owners are right to call out such misleading and dishonest language. We should set the record straight so that the good people of this country know who’s on their side. But even more important is the example we set as law-abiding gun owners day in, day out, in “real life.” If you’ve served in uniform, if you carry concealed, if you mentor young hunters – whatever you do, if you’re a responsible gun owner, there are a lot of people who look up to you. Take pride in that.