"Open Fire" with Guns but "Launch a Knife Attack"?

MaverickNH

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The media use the phrase "open fire" almost religiously to describe a shooting, as in "the gunman opened fire on the crowd", in their reporting. I can't find the etymology of the phrase but wonder if it derives from matchlock guns?

The Brits seem to stick with "launched a knife attack" as their killers often use knives (and/or vehicles, explosives, chemicals) instead of guns.

Unless chestnuts are roasting, the phrase ought be "commence fire" on the shooting range.
 

cams

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Remember who the MSM audience is...
View attachment 315897
He was hilarious.

I certainly don’t want to call the op stupid (I don’t know him at all and honestly I’m kind of a rock myself sometimes) so I’ll stick with maybe he just got distracted or something (squirrel!!) and lost his train of thought along the way. lol
 
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My post wasn't directed at the OP at all. It was directed at the people who actually watch the nooz on teevee
 

greencobra

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....so I’ll stick with maybe he just got distracted or something (squirrel!!) and lost his train of thought along the way. lol
haha, do it all the time. that steel trap mind i had when i was young deteriorated to cardboard...that crappy asian/chinese cardboard at that - with a little help from alcohol.
 

cams

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haha, do it all the time. that steel trap mind i had when i was young deteriorated to cardboard...that crappy asian/chinese cardboard at that - with a little help from alcohol.
Right there with ya brother. With a lot of help from alcohol and too many shots to the head, my memory is like a GD spaghetti strainer. (Does anyone even use those anymore or am I aging myself again?)
 

MisterHappy

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On the 16 yard line, shootin' for the Lewis!
Hey, look on the bright side.....at least they've stopped firing at Will, and he can go check into the emergency room for all his wounds....
not true for all:

 

C. Stockwell

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The media use the phrase "open fire" almost religiously to describe a shooting, as in "the gunman opened fire on the crowd", in their reporting. I can't find the etymology of the phrase but wonder if it derives from matchlock guns?

The Brits seem to stick with "launched a knife attack" as their killers often use knives (and/or vehicles, explosives, chemicals) instead of guns.

Unless chestnuts are roasting, the phrase ought be "commence fire" on the shooting range.
The correct verb for projectile weapons like bows, guns, and crossbows is "shoot." You shoot a gun. You shoot a bow. You shoot at a deer. I shot the target. John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln. The neighbor shot the cannon to mark the Fourth of July.

The correct verbs for a knife are "stab" or "cut." There's also other verbs that describe other actions like "plunge", "penetrate", "pierce", "rip", "shred", "shank", etc. The wife stabbed the husband. Julius Caesar's assassins stabbed him 23 times. I cut the fat off my steak. The peasant used his knife to pierce the downed knight's armor.

The problem is journalists aren't necessarily taught to remove excessive verbiage and passive voice from their writing. In most writing, the goal is keeping the subject, verb, and actor as close together as possible. This is the "active voice." Here's an example:

I cut the steak. "I" am the actor. "Cut" is the verb, the action. "The steak" receives the action.

"Passive voice" is when the writer adds unnecessary verbiage to a sentence and clouds up the relationship between the subject, verb, and actor. General rule: if you see two verbs together or if the subject and verb aren't right next to each other, or if there's no subject at all, this is passive voice. Passive voice is used to hide the actor or the precise action:

"Mistakes were made" - should be "I made a mistake" or "you made a mistake," etc.
"He perpetrated a robbery" - should be "he robbed someone."
"The suspect launched a knife attack" - should be "he stabbed the complainant."
"The suspect opened fire on the crowd" - should be "he shot into the crowd."

Some of what the media does is also to generate hype and clickbait. What sounds more emotional? "He shot into the crowd" or "he opened fire on the crowd?" The passive voice paints a more descriptive mental picture than the active voice.

Finally, remember that "to be" is a verb. I am/you are/they are/we are/it is/it shall be, etc.
 
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