David Mandl on Sat, 22 Sep 2007 14:11:36 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Police language

In light of the brief discussion of the politics of language on
Nettime recently, I thought this was a particularly interesting quote.
In a New York Times article about the Tasering of a woman in Ohio
(after she'd already been handcuffed), the Tasering officer was quoted
as saying:

'I deployed a second Taser cartridge into her and the violent
turbulent action stopped immediately." (*)

"Deployed" here is a substitute for the perfectly accurate word
"fired." Why the ridiculous "deployed"? Because it sounds very
not- nice to FIRE something into someone, especially someone who's
handcuffed. "Deploying" something sounds less nasty and more official,
and has the side effect of sounding erudite (Latin vs. Anglo-Saxon
again). There is no reasonable explanation for using that word except
to make the guy sound like he didn't just shoot someone. (Translating
"the violent turbulent action stopped immediately" into plain English
is left as an exercise for the reader.)

Was OJ Simpson acquitted because he merely "deployed" a knife into his
wife and her boyfriend?



* http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Taser-Cases.html? 

Dave Mandl

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