[Ads-l] POTY - "Abundance of Caution"

Geoffrey Steven Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Fri Oct 24 18:32:56 UTC 2014


The phrase 'abundance of caution' has been used frequently in the past couple of years to cover absurd over-reaction and/or zero-tolerance policies that lead to ridiculous punishments for harmless behavior. Here are a random three:

'Abundance of caution closes Stanford campus buildings' 
(Stanford U response to someone seeing someone with a backpack on campus, http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/february/alert-closes-tresidder--21214.html)

'ARLINGTON, Va. - People in Reagan National's Terminal C may have been exposed to measles on Sept. 23, according to Arlington health officials.
Someone with the illness was in the terminal between 8:45 am. and 12:30 p.m.. People at risk for infection who were on the plane have already been notified. Arlington County Public Health says they are acting out of an abundance of caution.
Read more: http://www.wtop.com/139/2068359/Possible-measles-exposure-at-Reagan-National-Airport#ixzz3H5VNOVHb'

'Earlier, on a Denver-to-Detroit Frontier Airlines flight, the crew reported that two people were spending "an extraordinarily long time" in a bathroom, Frontier spokesman Peter Kowalchuck said. Police detained three passengers at Detroit's Metropolitan Airport after the plane landed without incident. They were released after questioning.In both instances, the FBI said the jets shadowed the planes "out of an abundance of caution.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/09/11/f-16-jets-shadow-passenger-plane-headed-to-detroit-3-detained/

Another case involved a child being given detention because he chewed his pizza into the shape of a gun. Again, the excuse was 'an abundance of caution':
http://ethicsalarms.com/2011/12/17/ethics-quiz-killer-pizza-edition-can-school-no-tolerance-be-dumber-than-this/

[no curly quote marks were harmed in the production of this post--I hope...]



Geoffrey S. Nathan
Faculty Liaison, C&IT
and Professor, Linguistics Program
http://blogs.wayne.edu/proftech/
+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)

Nobody at Wayne State will EVER ask you for your password. Never send it to anyone in an email, no matter how authentic the email looks.


----- Original Message ----- 

> From: "Tom Zurinskas" <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM>
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Sent: Friday, October 24, 2014 12:47:17 PM
> Subject: POTY - "Abundance of Caution"

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Tom Zurinskas <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM>
> Subject: POTY - "Abundance of Caution"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

> This phrase=2C "abundance of caution" is often being used in the
> ebola situ=
> ation. Even though they say that ebola cannot be spread by anyone
> prior to=
> symptoms showing up=2C they are hospitalizing folks without symptoms
> "out =
> of an abundance of caution" because of close acquaintance. So a
> person t=
> hat feels just fine=2C and is not sick and not contagious=2C must
> live in a=
> hospital room for 21 days. Makes no sense unless "abundance of
> caution" m=
> eans "we're not sure what we are dealing with."
> On this theme=2C pretty soon they'll be locking people up "out of an
> abunda=
> nce of caution" as being pre-criminal=2C possibly.

> Tom Zurinskas=2C Conn 20 yrs=2C Tenn 3=2C NJ 33=2C now FL 12.See how
> Englis=
> h spelling links to sounds at http://justpaste.it/ayk

> =20
> =20

> =

> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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