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The Second Amendment & The Linguistics Of The Arms Debate

2nd Amend.

The Second Amendment & The Linguistics Of The Arms Debate

When I used to teach composition, it was common for students to say, “I know what I wanted to say, but I just didn’t know how to say it.” I always told them, “What you know is reflected in your words. If it’s not in the words, you don’t know it.”

That was true thirty-five years ago and it’s true today. And there is a corollary to that maxim: people assume that what you say is true. It may not be, but the opening assumption is that your words reflect the truth. Otherwise, there would be little point in talking.

These maxims – that words reflect what you know and that they reflect the truth – can be used as a weapon. For example, people who oppose private gun ownership often say that the Second Amendment protects hunting.

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