Here's the thing:
Words are important to me. They are my toys and my Holy Sacraments.
I'm always a little surprised that when I post a poem here there are folks who ask "You write poetry, too?"
Of course I do. I'm walking through a garden out here, an Eden of wonder and meaning. Whatever fruit I harvest has it's own luscious and distinct flavor.
I remember reading that while there are almost 200,000 words currently in use in the English language (with almost 50,000 words defined as obsolete) most of us go through our entire lives using less than 9,000.
That's like having the same meal over and over again.
While this allows us to get by, we end up sacrificing distinct meanings. We approximate what we mean to say, and we approximate the meaning of what we've been told.
Is it any wonder there's so much confusion?
Words are the narrative of our life. Whatever meaning there is to be found in life it is found in the words we use. Why, why settle for an approximation of life?
There's nothing profound in living a simile.
There is a great gulf between "It's kind of like ..." and
It is ... ."
Nothing I've ever eaten that wasn't chicken tasted like chicken and yet ...
Over time the meaning of words do change. The flexibility of language allows for that, and generally this is a natural process, a narrative evolution; a product of the people.
A couple of centuries ago "awful" meant to be filled with awe. It's opposite meaning, the one we use today, was actually introduced as a comic send up of The Church.
Today, the definition of terrorist is being imposed on us.
So I take exception when we begin to allow equivalencies to creep into the narrative. Most especially when the change in meaning is handed to us by the powers that be.
All terrorists are criminals. Not all criminals are terrorists.
We're living in a time when this distinction must be emphasized again and again.
This isn't about being a language purist and waxing poetic about my love for words.
It must be understood that what passes for our government has a distinctly different method for dealing with a terrorist than it does when dealing with a criminal.
A terrorist is outside the law, not by the actions, which are criminal, but by the governments methods of handling the terrorist.
A terrorist can be detained indefinitely without charges. No evidence needs to be presented. The entire body of law developed to protect the innocent until proven guilty is put to one side. Everything, from first detainment to eventual disposition, is done extra-judicially. No oversight. No evidence needed. No trial.
Which means outside the law. All of your so called civil liberties and constitutional rights are rendered null and void if you're labeled a terrorist.
Did you know that The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation defines eco-terrorism as "...the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an environmentally-oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target."
So, in real world terms, protecting the environment opens one up to charges of being a terrorist with all the ramifications of that charge; indefinite detainment without charges, loss of Geneva Convention protections and loss of Habeous Corpus.
There's talk, serious talk, about labeling Black Lives Matter as a terrorist organization.
That ought to scare the shit out of you.
The Las Vegas shooter (I know his name but I choose not to use it because fuck him) inspired terror. No one can argue that. But, and this is important, the emotion of terror should not, cannot be allowed, to be approximated with the legal definition of terror.
To do so, to allow that mangling of meaning, opens the door to draconian measure none of us can imagine.