Naming the actors of violence

Sonia García de Alba | November 6, 2017
The Las Vegas shooting earlier this October was among the latest of the increasingly violent outbreaks that have taken place in the United States. As we seek to comprehend the underlying motivations behind the escalation of violence, we face the issue of describing and characterising those who commit these acts.

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Barbaric Terrorists, Nazi Savages, Inhuman Racists, and Lousy Zombies

28th November 2016 ¦ Adam Clay.

Violent crimes and massacres perpetrated by individuals or terrorist groups are frequently referred to as ‘barbaric’ or ‘savage’ (1). But what exactly is meant by that? If you turn to a dictionary, you will find that these words refer to ‘wild,’ ‘uncivilized,’ even ‘animal (non-human) behaviour.’ In other words, not only is it tempting to draw a line between ‘them’ and ‘us,’ but this line also usually deprives ‘them’ of their humanity – if not completely, certainly to a significant extent.

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