WORDS AND MEANINGS

Bob at Unfogged has an interesting post on the radical environmental group Earth Liberation Front, which recently burned down a Hummer dealership in addition to other acts of terrorism.

I have nothing to add to Bob’s comments except a question: Since when is arson “vandalism”? That’s what NPR is calling it and what Bob refers to it as in his news summary. (I’m pretty sure Bob calls it that because the news media are using that term.) The use is correct in the denotative sense from Webster’s as “willful wanton and malicious destruction of the property of others,” conotatively, “vandalism,” to me at least, implies spraypainting “Save the planet!” on the windows or setting off shaving cream bombs, not mass destruction of propery. Indeed, Webster’s synonyms of “hoologanism” and “malicious mischief” have that milder meaning.

FILED UNDER: Media
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. O. F. Jay says:

    Vandalism?! I don’t throw the T-word around too much but this amounts to Domestic Terrorism. Think “Fight Club.” The antics you mention amount to vandalism. Setting fire on an SUV dealership? Hah!

  2. Matthew says:

    Why is it that when I see the front page of the ELF website, a cross burning comes to mind?