Stupid Is the Word You Want

One of my greatest interests as a reader and writer is the definitions of words, and I am concerned that words for assessing the intelligence of ourselves and others are often misused. Let’s get these words straight.

Ignorant is one of my favorites, but let’s be clear. Ignorant simply means that “one does not know.” This is the best assessment because all one must do in response is reading and research. Just yesterday, I was ignorant of the Dickey Amendment, which restricts the Centers for Disease Control from researching gun violence in America, but now, I know that the Dickey Amendment must go.

Dum (not dumb, which means the physical inability to or personal decision not to speak) means refusal to analyze and evaluate actual evidence, especially when the evidence is plentiful. Clearly, those are dum who advocate arming teachers or legalizing “open carry” in response to gun violence. Dum means closing eyes to what is obvious because looking is enough to see. Anyone can see that more guns is not a solution to mass shootings.

Stupid goes beyond both knowing (not ignorant) and ignoring (refusal to see) that an action is not good for people, animals, place, or environment. Stupid is for those who know and see the reality and decide to take the wrong action anyway.

Those who know the speed limit and exceed it are stupid. Those who know taxes fund education, infrastructure construction and maintenance, public safety, and emergency services and still vote reflexively against every tax bill are stupid.

Those who approve NRA purchases of senators and representatives to oppose legislation allowing study and limitations of gun ownership in an America where citizens are ten times more likely to be killed with a gun than in other developed countries are stupid. Choose the right word.

Eric Shaffer