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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Let's tell it like it is

As a writer and editor, I choose words carefully before publishing them – making sure they accurately convey the intended thought.

That said, I cannot understand why numerous news services – including The Associated Press, from which the Freeman draws its state, national and international articles – insist on using the word "militants" to describe the gunmen who spread death and destruction this week in the Indian city of Mumbai.

According to an online dictionary that I use frequently, “militant” (a word dating to the 14th century) is defined as a person who is “vigorously active and aggressive, especially in support of a cause” or a person who is “engaged in warfare or combat.”

Those definitions conjure images of valiant patriots, dedicated to a common purpose, who are defending their beliefs and fighting for good over evil.

The gunmen in India were nothing but savage barbarians, murdering everyone who was within shooting distance in hotels, restaurants, a train station and a Jewish center.

And only one word should have been used to describe them: Terrorists.



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