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Speaking Up for Gun Control: The Easy Way

Walking through a housewares shop today, I saw a blender called "Magic Bullet." In the wake of the many articles published after the Virginia Tech killings, I've been paying more attention to our everyday speech. Gun references abound.

"Hit me with your best shot. Fire away." Have a double-shot of Starbucks expresso. Go to a photography shoot. Is your old car shot? Drink Coors, the Silver Bullet, or buy a Silver Bullet Comic Book. Buy a Bullet Skateboard, or update your computer with Bulletproof Software. Perhaps, you're gunning for your next promotion; you've discovered a sure-fire way to succeed. Or, your economic state may force you to live in a "shotgun shack." We place design "bullets" at the end of articles or use bullet-point lists in our MS Word or WordPerfect documents. When it's time to do something important, we say, it's time to "bite the bullet."

Take our everyday expressions a step further, and we go into the land beyond bullets. "She's dying to go out with him. That outfit is killer. His solution is dead-on. Eat this chocolate; it's to die for." In fact, in our current lexicon, you'll find desserts, clothes, movies, and beaches to die for, among a host of other things.

Still, the scariest expression to me is "the magic bullet." What is magic about a piece of metal that plows through flesh and bone? What magic is there in an invention that makes it possible for one person to wound or kill many others? Aside from being the trade name of a popular kitchen blender, we use the term magic bullet (and silver bullet) a lot. On, an article entitled "Redefining the Search for the Magic Bullet" begins: "Rather than a single pain treatment, effective relief may require an arsenal." We even use bullets to describe, of all things, health care.

What's in a word? Truth lives in our words,
like it or not, face it or not.
Sticks and stones break only bones.
Words can break everything else.

Before you tell someone that the party you went to was the bomb / la bomba, that you're dying to meet Cameron Díaz, or that you're going to shoot someone's picture ( you can always take or make a photograph instead), think twice. CNN/US President Jon Klein changes channels if CNN is on the television when his young daughter or son walks in the room. We can also turn off our daily expressions that incorporate violent metaphors. No legislation or politicking necessary.

How can we expect guns to disappear from our children's schools, our neighborhoods, our daily lives, if we can't stop talking about them, if we don't stop using gun language to describe what is fun, healthy, and even magic? I understand the reasoning behind our forefathers' inclusion of the "right to bear arms" in our Constitution. I also understand that we can and should use our freedom of speech to forbear arms when it makes sense to do so.

Text copyright 2007, Ysabel de la Rosa

Magic Bullet Blender at
Bullet holes, Photo by BlindSquirrelPhoto
Bullets on "Right to Bear Arms" by Alptraum both from istockphoto


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