Thursday, February 16, 2006

Pet Peeve: "Homicide Bombing"

I completely understand why so many people are tempted to use (or rather, do use) the term "homicide bombing" in place of "suicide bombing." The term "suicide bombing," especially in relation to terrorist attacks against Israelis, became so over-used (because the tactic was so over-used) that a fear arose among American supporters of Israel that the media-saturated English-speaking public was forgetting that the bombing was not just about someone committing suicide, but about someone taking dozens of innocent lives with him when he blows himself up. Hence, "homicide bombing," to bring the focus back to the victims, and away from the perpetrator.

See, I totally get it.

The thing is though, the term "homicide bombing" is repetitive. The redundancy is so glaring, it makes me gnash my teeth every time I see it, especially when I see it in print in newspapers such as the New York Post, whose copy editors should know better. People! Is there any type of bombing that isn't designed to murder others? If you want to take the focus off the "poor Palestinian who was brought to such desperation that he/she was willing to kill himself/herself" then just say "bombing" instead of the ridiculous and redundant "homicide bombing."

The term "suicide bombing" was coined to distinguish the tactic from other, equally murderous, ways to blow up others, such as leaving a bomb in a backpack at a school cafeteria and blowing it up by cell phone from off site, or dropping a bomb from the sky. The term "bombing" implies "homicide." If you are thinking about saying "homicide bombing," then you can save yourself three syllables by skipping the first word, since anyway the term means nothing other than that a bomb blew up, somehow.

Which, of course, is bad enough, whether suicide by the perpetrator was involved or not.

The widespread use of such a glaring redundancy is making me crazy. Please, people. Either say "suicide bombing" like normal folks, or, if you really do not want to acknowledge the death of the perpetrator, say "bombing." Please. My dentist will thank you.

(Please don't come after me telling me that I myself was just repetitive because I said the same thing four different ways. It's late at night, I'm trying to make a point, and when it comes to grammar I am personally compelled to make sure that no one leaves my blog in any confusion. Down with redundancy!)

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