"gunfight" and "exchange of gunfire"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 23 15:23:12 UTC 2013

Joel, I don't understand what you're talking about.

It was repeated over and over on Friday and Saturday that there'd been an
"an exchange of gunshots" at the boat, a "gunfight."  Video records dozens,
even scores, of shots fired, but shots do not make a "gunfight" or an
"exchange." For all anyone can tell, all those shots came from the SWAT

Days later, not even an officer who was present will confirm that Joker was
found at the boat with a gun.

Unless Joker is known to have fired at police from the boat, there is no
justification for the media's appeal to melodrama. There was a police
"fusillade." There was "the sound of a great many shots fired, more than a
hundred perhaps."

At the moment, the phrases "exchange of gunshots" etc., simply make for
more excitement than what the evidence currently shows as having happened.
Or people don't care what "exchange" means, an "exchange" that immediately
became a "battle."

Ultimately this will be a minor point, because the facts will come out.

But this list is dedicated to such minor points.

You'll remember, too, the indignation with which we were  told  again and
again that George Zimmerman had used a "racial epithet" while following
Trayvon Martin. It turns out that the sounds may not even have been words
at all. But wouldn't it be so much more exciting if he'd really used them?


On Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 10:44 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: "gunfight" and "exchange of gunfire"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 4/23/2013 07:41 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> > > said they were being fired at.
> >
> >Like the National Guard at Kent State?
> >
> >A member of the SWAT team that arrested him told CNN this morning that
> they
> >approached the boat with caution when he surrendered because "we thought
> he
> >might have a weapon."
> Jon, you know better than this.  They thought he might have a weapon
> before they approached him.  That is not evidence -- on either side
> -- about whether he actually did have a gun.
> >There may have been a gun. But people are claiming there was a gunfight
> >when, so far, nobody's reported a gun.
> Both Victor and I have said there are "reports" he had a gun.  What
> we perhaps lack (although surely others have, or can refute) is
> reliable confirmation.
> Joel
> >Even if there *was* a gun, so far there isn't any, if you catch my drift.
> >"Gunfight," etc., were the wrong words.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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