Tag Archives: words matter

Susan’s Decoder Ring: Execution

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As an editor, I work with words — duh, right? Except part of “work with words” means I need to know how to bury something, how to pump it up, how a word’s placement in a sentence affects the reader. Unless I’ve done a line edit for you already, you’d probably be surprised at what a skill this can be.

That’s why I want to bring this very important one to you. Because for years now, we’ve been set up by a certain narcissist to accept something that I pray we won’t have to.

First was talk of walking out onto Fifth Avenue in New York and shooting someone and getting away with it.

There was no condemnation of the Saudi prince and his murder of a journalist.

There have been talks of sending our military into Venezuela. Rumors of military action against North Korea and others. Lots of talk of military action.

Just in March, a scant month ago, a Navy SEAL charged with murder was moved to a different spot in prison, a less restrictive place. Let’s reward the murderer!

And haven’t we seen some of that associated with certain mass killings? A kind of sideways absolution of someone who committed murder, at a rally, with an AR-15 or two or three? A lack of condemnation can be and probably is a sideways absolution when you’re speaking a narcissist’s native tongue.

There is talk of the military at the border being allowed to use more force against hopeful immigrants.

And then, recently, the most chilling one yet.

He started off by painting a lovely picture of a delivery room. Babies wrapped in blankets. And then, buried at the end of the sentence, after the feel-good moment, there it was. One word that both was preposterous in reality as we know it, but also a narcissistic teaser, a(nother) feeler to see how this new policy would go over, if there would be an outcry from the public.

EXECUTION.

This is a common narcissistic tactic: float an idea bunded into something else. See if there’s a reaction. If not, float it again and again. Inch toward the goal. Wear down the listener until they are too tired, too numb to react anymore.

Note, too, that this came mere days after Saudi Arabia executed 37 people. When we SHOULD be sensitive to it. When there SHOULD be an outcry, and not just because one of the executed was set to attend an American university when he was arrested and then executed. Thirty-seven people faced an execution. Thirty-seven people died. And a few days later, buried in a sentence, there it is.

EXECUTION.

It keeps coming back, in various forms. Don’t be numb to it. Listen to it. We are being shown what lies ahead.

So where is the outcry?

This is why that was tacked on to the end of that lovely picture. Oh, yes, it was meant to shock and horrify, and it did that. But that seems to be restricted to the idea of infanticide. Not to the wider idea of a change in our culture, a change in which the idea of execution becomes something that… well, if we’re not comfortable with, at least we’re not screaming bloody murder to keep it from happening.

Screaming now will hopefully save us from screaming in terror and the pain of loss later on.

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