Do words mean what­ever peo­ple want them to?

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

ED­I­TOR, TIMES-DIS­PATCH:

Thanks for fi­nally speak­ing out about the ram­pant mis­use of words. It seems words mean what­ever a large group of peo­ple want them to mean, re­gard­less of whether the word is a noun, a verb, an ad­jec­tive, or an ad­verb.

I do not be­lieve that hate can be a crime. We know peo­ple are charged with and con­victed of hate crimes. But hate is just a thought in a per­son’s mind. When does it be­come a crime? When some­one re­ally hates, some­what hates, or just hates?

Large so­lar panel in­stal­la­tions built solely for sell­ing elec­tric­ity to other users are now called so­lar farms. But those sites have no tra­di­tional farm­ing or agri­cul­ture prac­tices tak­ing place. Sun and wind are called re­new­able en­ergy sources, but there is noth­ing hu­mans can do to in­crease, di­min­ish, or re­new sun­shine or wind.

The Amer­i­can Her­itage Dic­tio­nary de­fines abor­tion as in­duced ter­mi­na­tion of preg­nancy be­fore the fe­tus is ca­pa­ble of sur­vival as an in­di­vid­ual. By that def­i­ni­tion, when any fe­tus or un­born child that can by all med­i­cal pre-birth knowl­edge sur­vive on its own be­fore the due date but whose life is ter­mi­nated pur­pose­fully, it is not an abor­tion. It’s some­thing else, not an abor­tion.

Cer­tainly a full-term child be­ing born by a woman not by in­duced la­bor but by nat­u­ral oc­cur­rence would at no point in such de­liv­ery be gov­erned by any govern­ment-adopted abor­tion laws.

The re­cent law passed by the state of New York and pro­posed by Vir­ginia to ter­mi­nate the life of a liv­ing hu­man be­ing af­ter it leaves the mother’s womb or just be­fore en­ter­ing the world is not an abor­tion bill.

The writ­ers of such bills just can’t bring them­selves to call it what it is.

R. KEN­NETH HATCHER. POWHATAN.

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