A female grizzly bear with cubs in tow killed a 57-year-old man hiking with his wife in Yellowstone National Park. The man apparently surprised the bear. The Associated Press turned up the Fox News volume with its lead paragraph:
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. -- A killer grizzly is roaming Yellowstone National Park’s backcountry after mauling a man who apparently surprised the female bear and its cubs while hiking with his wife.There are no doubt editors willing to defend the use of the word "killer" as being purely descriptive: A man, after all, was killed. But the word clearly has wider implications in a first reading: A ravening, uncaring, dangerous beast ... a potential serial killer ... see how the excitement/fear mounts. See how readers gather around? See how advertising revenue goes up?
In case anyone doesn't get it, grizzly (or any other sort of) bears are hell on wheels when they feel their cubs are threatened. The same is true, with different affect, among other species as well. Bears don't negotiate or sit down to consider the benevolent/malevolent intentions of those approaching. In bear-land, it is wise to be attentive and careful or risk being called a "killer" human being.
It sort of reminds me of the use of the word "terrorist" -- a moniker that has taken hold worldwide since the destruction of the World Trade towers in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. It's a "killer" bear, it's a "terrorist" action. Why? Because I say so and my importance and self-aggrandizement and political agenda is something others are willing to agree with. Let's not take a look at the foundations and circumstances of the assertion.
I guess a certain amount of stupidity is to be expected in large groups. But it really is stupid not to investigate it on a personal level. "Stupid" means that, in the end, an unwillingness to investigate, a willingness to rely on the agreement or definitions of others, works against an individual's deepest self-interest ... i.e. to find and exemplify some peace and to be happy.