Thursday, January 31, 2008

post hoc ergo propter hoc

Despite the NYPD's best efforts, recorded crimes have continued to decrease year after year according to this NY Times report.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

death becomes them

To my ears (and eyes), the verb kill has a negative connotation which describes a causal relationship to the death of a person, animal or animate matter in a unfair and judgmental manner when there is no direct agency to ascribe the responsibility. Because I shun, excuse me, eschew such usage, I like to substitute the verb die in its various tenses; i.e., "he died from a fall from a four-story window" instead of "the drop from the four-story window killed him."

This is unless I am talking about a scenario involving a conscious attempt of life-taking, in which case I would prefer kill for justifiable or accidental homicide, and murder when it's neither. So if I shoot an aggressing brigand in self-defense it's the former, while if I did the same to a pencil thief, my improportionate response would be tantamount to murder according to a libertarian theory of justice.

It's not a watertight distinction. If someone commits suicide, I don't know if that counts as killing one's self or self-inflicted murder. Or deaths stemming from a reckless driver's car accident, an event he didn't want to eventuate but none the less contributed to by operating his vehicle in a manner not conducive to a safe-driving habitat.

I find that many folks are in this habit of using the word kill to push forward their political agenda (and I'm not specifically referring to anti-abortionists.) For example anti-development zealots will decry the unfortunate plight of construction workers "being killed on the job" to shamelessly push forth their agenda of a housing or commercial stasis.

Thoughts anyone?