Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What is wrong with this sentence?

I've seen this quote three times now, in three different articles:

"This man was brutal," Dr. Joseph Cacioppo, an emergency room physician who treated the wounded, told CNN. "There wasn't a shooting victim that didn't have less than three bullet wounds in them."

Heh, CNN again. Figures.

Will no one translate this for us? The Doctor can be forgiven for providing a quote while under pressure. But I can't understand how the journalists covering this story can keep using this same quote without ever reading it. Did no one ask this man whether he in fact meant to say: "There wasn't a shooting victim with less than three bullet wounds?"

Current wording leaves the hapless reader to wonder why shooting only one or two bullets - but never three or more bullets - would qualify this shooter as especially 'brutal.' Double and even triple negatives are terribly hard to negotiate.

Do news writers read the reports they reprint from the wire? Do wire reporters question quotes that make no sense?

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