After the tragic Arizona shooting, the word "vitriol" was everywhere in the news. What is its literally dangerous meaning?

After Saturday’s shocking attack on Arizona lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords and a crowd of bystanders, an unusual word proliferated through all forms of media. Shortly after the shooting tragedy, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik cited “vitriolic rhetoric” as a potential source for the violence.

This article is not about politics or the relationship of media and violence in American culture. The topic at hand, of course, is “vitriol.” What is it?

Vitriol is an old-fashioned name for one of the most dangerous chemicals you can find: sulfuric acid. This substance is incredibly corrosive, meaning it eats away other substances due to chemical reactions. When sulfuric acid meets water, it produces an exothermic reaction, meaning that the chemical reaction with water produces heat. Reactions between the two are responsible for many horrific burns.

The acid is so corrosive that, even in diluted form, a drop of it will burn through a piece of paper. Medieval chemists named this substance vitriol after the Latin vitrium, “of glass.” In solid forms, sulfur compounds can have a glass-like appearance (like the image of crystallized copper sulfate above.)

Vitriol has been used poetically to refer to harsh speech since the 1700s. Sheriff Dupnik’s remarks are not the first time that the caustic word has been used to describe recent political discourse. In April, 2010, President Obama referred to some politically-themed talk shows as vitriol.

Are there any other words in the news you’d like us to explore? Let us know, below.


US Fed News Service, Including US State News April 29, 2010 CAPE CORAL, Fla., April 28 — The Cape Coral Police Department issued the following news release:

A 13-year-old boy died last night after his bicycle was hit by a vehicle as he attempted to cross Del Prado Boulevard. Ryan Michael Santos (DOB: 01/06/1997) sustained life-threatening head injuries and was transported as a trauma alert to Lee Memorial where he died at 10:32 p.m. 2007porsche911gt3.com 2007 porsche 911 gt3

At 7:15 p.m., Cape Police responded to a 911 call of a bicyclist hit by a vehicle in the 300 block of Del Prado Boulevard North. A 2007 Porsche driven by Aditi S. Nair (DOB: 11/28/1990) was traveling southbound on Del Prado in the middle lane and approaching the intersection at NE 3rd Terrace. Santos was on a bike perched in the cement center median heading westbound and waiting to cross the southbound lanes of Del Prado Boulevard. here 2007 porsche 911 gt3

According to witnesses, as Santos attempted to cross the southbound lanes, he was struck in the center lane by Nair’s vehicle. The impact ejected Santos from his bicycle, and he hit the windshield of Nair’s car. His body came to a final rest behind the vehicle in the center lane.

Santos is the city’s 4th traffic fatality in 2010. Nair suffered no injuries. A traffic homicide investigation is being conducted.

BICYCLIST Ryan Michael Santos W/M DOB: 01/06/1997 228 NE 16th Place Cape Coral, FL 33909 INJURIES: Fatal DRIVER Aditi S. Nair W/F 4120 Bayhead Drive, Unit 102 Bonita Springs, FL 34134 INJURIES: None.

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Chicago Sun-Times May 6, 2003 | Celia Colista When it comes to tutoring and test preparation services, parents and students have lots of choices. The common belief that the world is a more competitive place for today’s students may explain the proliferation of tutoring centers, online tutoring, private tutoring, and after-school programs run by private companies that are available.

Even Chicago Public Schools will be offering students in the system’s 25 worst-performing schools additional tutoring and test preparation services this summer, thanks to the federal funds provided by President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” mandate. These programs will be handled by several supplemental education providers, including Huntington Learning Center, Kaplan K12 Learning Services, Kumon North America Inc., The Princeton K12 Services, Progressive Learning, Score! Educational Centers and Sylvan Learning Systems.

Companies like Princeton K12 Services, provide in-school programs almost exclusively. Others have centers students visit for small- group tutoring sessions. For example, at Score! students work with an interactive computer program that adapts to student responses, progressing to more difficult questions once a student has mastered the previous level.

Some services, such as Kumon, Sylvan and Huntington, give students work assignments based on an initial skills assessment test. Instructors at these centers work with students on an individual basis. see here huntington learning center

Summer vacation means three months of not practicing reading, writing and math skills, and kids may fall behind.

“It can make it tough for the students to make it right out of the chute when they return to school,” said Wendy Odell Magus of Sylvan. “They need to make sure the foundation from the previous year is still in place.” The summer is also a good time to take standardized-test prep courses. These courses offer students who took an exam in the spring but would like to improve their scores and be able to retake the test in the fall.

Princeton Review and Kaplan offer classroom-style courses that teach techniques to help students master these standardized-tests. These classes last most of the summer and typically include several practice exams. These companies also offer free exams online at their Web sites.

The two-year old Chicago-based Academic Approach provides private test prep tutoring. Owner and tutor Matthew Pietrafetta emphasizes teaching concepts that will not only prepare students for the standardized-tests but also will make them better students in college.

“You can really appeal to the specific learning style of a particular student,” said Pietrafetta, referring to the company’s one- on-one teaching method.

Tutoring providers say many students continue with the programs beyond the summer into the next academic year.

These programs emphasize that they not only help students achieve specific goals, they also help make students feel more confident and enthusiastic about education.

“It’s about learning and becoming passionate about learning,” said Pietrafetta.

Small group tutoring sessions for grades K-12 at a center:

Huntington Learning Center Locations: in River Forest, Skokie, and Park Ridge. website huntington learning center

www.huntingtonlearning.com (800) CAN LEARN Method: Skill-based tutoring with an initial two- to three-hour assessment.

Cost: Varies by center, $165 to $200 for initial assessment, $35 to $55 per hour for tutoring.

Kumon Locations: City/suburbs www.kumon.com (800) ABC-MATH Method: Students receive daily 10-20 minute worksheet assignments and visit the center twice a week. The goal is to assist students in becoming independent learners.

Cost: Varies by location: $85 to $95 per month, per subject, plus one-time registration fee of $30 to $50.


(a subsidiary of Kaplan, Inc.) Locations: Lincoln Park/suburbs www.score.kaplan.com (800) 49SCORE Method: Students work independently on interactive computer curriculum; “coaches” provide guidance and encouragement.

Cost: $135 to $150 per month Sylvan Learning Center Locations: Suburbs www.educate.com (800) 31-SUCCESS Method: Initial skill assessments, then a personalized program.

Cost: Approximately $40 per hour. $125 to $200 for initial skills assessment.

Test prep services The Academic Approach In-home tutoring and, as of June 1, at its office, 342 W. Armitage www.theacademicapproach.com Method: One-on-one test preparation focusing on global concepts.

Cost: $180 per hour with owner Matthew Pietrafetta; $80 to $100 with other Academic Approach instructors.

Kaplan Test Prep Locations: Lincoln Park/suburbs www.kaptest.com (800) KAPTEST Method: Kaplan offers classes in its own centers, in schools, and by home tutoring. Online programs also available.

Cost: $599 to $799 for 9 to 11 ACT or SAT sessions. $299 to $349 for online program.

Princeton Review Locations: Lincoln Park, University of Chicago, and suburbs www.princetonreview.com (800) 2REVIEW or (888) 500-PREP for online course info Method: Teaches test-taking techniques through classes, workshops, and practice tests.

Cost: $899 for SAT 15 sessions Sylvan Learning Center (see location and contact information, above) Method: Teaches test-taking techniques in small-group setting.

Cost: $550 to $700.

Celia Colista BITE OF WISDOM The average starting salary for teachers with no experience in public charter schools was $26,977.

Celia Colista


  1. TheRealTopic -  January 21, 2011 - 12:43 pm

    Sulfuric acid is in onions. It’s what makes you cry.

  2. john rhea -  January 16, 2011 - 7:56 am

    Guns don’t kill people, bullets kill people.

  3. Misanthrope -  January 13, 2011 - 9:18 pm

    @Aporia: Actually, neither of us were really right. What Carlos Mason was describing was fascism. Good thing I did my homework… Late. On an unrelated note, sorry for not responding yet on the leetspeak article. You could say that I am experiencing extreme aporia in relation to your last post on that topic. I have so many things to say, but have no idea where I should begin. What’s harder is that I do all my typing, searching, and commenting from a cellular telephone. That’s one of the primary reasons why I haven’t replied back yet. It takes so much longer to type out my side of the argument. Not to mention that I usually have a lot to write as it is anyway.

  4. Aporia -  January 13, 2011 - 6:09 pm

    @Misanthrope: Closely associated, but hardly similar.

  5. Misanthrope -  January 13, 2011 - 2:54 pm

    @Aporia: I had wanted to say that too. I suppose that if we went under political correctness, then it would be a form of socialism. It’s just that both communism and socialism seem to be so closely associated

  6. Nichole -  January 13, 2011 - 1:46 pm

    Good luck Petrichor. After all the drivel that has been posted on this page, I doubt anyone from the site will see that suggestion.

    There’s a word for you… drivel. Because that’s all that’s on this page.

  7. jk -  January 13, 2011 - 1:37 pm

    Well those blue crystals are beautiful. And I never new “vitrolis” was a dangerous chemical. Cool I learned something new!

  8. Rufo -  January 13, 2011 - 1:25 pm

    exsibiliate, and squidgereen, definitions please

  9. Rufo -  January 13, 2011 - 1:24 pm


  10. nak -  January 13, 2011 - 1:15 pm

    I never new that the word “vitriol” refered to harsh speech. That being said, Darren no need to be hasty towards your “honey” the only person that needs to gain same IQ points should be you.

  11. Aporia -  January 13, 2011 - 12:44 pm

    @Misanthrope: No, it doesn’t sound like communism. It’s skewed socialism.

  12. Petrichor -  January 13, 2011 - 12:38 pm

    Please write an article about the word ‘crosshairs’. Thanks.

  13. Renee -  January 13, 2011 - 12:23 pm

    It’s easy to see why we have such conflict in this country.
    First of all, I use this website because I, like many of you, love words and like to understand the true meaning of words.
    After reading many of these comments I was troubled by the extemely one sided arguments. (I couldn’t read them all, because they were giving me a headache) I liked Bob’s comments about people and ideas not being so black and white. I see the sides to both stories. But I tend to believe that the person in question here (aka Mr. Wack Job) acted out of very misguided, sick ideas and feelings. Blaming one person’s behavior on an ‘environment’ or whatever is shifting blame off it’s owner. We are all responsible for our own behavior.
    I suggest we all try to improve the world by being a good neighbor. Show love and concern for people, no matter their view points etc.
    Peace and love to all.

  14. Tilly -  January 13, 2011 - 5:23 am

    I hope that Gabrielle Giffords survives!!! She’s suffering in the hospital right now!!!! How dare they attack Gabrielle Giffords??!! I AM FURIOUS!!!!! My birthday is today!! :):):) Wish me a happy one!!! :):):) Let us hope she survives (even though I’m Republican, but she’s Democratic). Later!!~ Tilly

  15. Jon -  January 12, 2011 - 9:11 pm

    @Australian Person: “Our police have guns but they try not to shoot people. It is quite simple really. It works for us.”

    Ignorance is bliss: Since Australia banned private firearms, criminal violence shot upward (no pun intended). Here in the USA, crime has been dropping, especially in areas where private gun ownership is high or has become less-restricted. Predatory criminals tend to go elsewhere to victimize people, rather than risk getting shot by their intended victim.

    Also, your crack about your police trying to not-shoot people (and the smug implication that we _do_ try to) is frankly offensive. I’m glad your police are so restrained, I wish certain US cops were so civilized; perhaps we’d trust them more if that were so. For that matter, nearly all civilian gun owners (even those of us who carry them in public, usually after going through training and a background check) really try not to shoot people. As you say, “it’s really quite simple. It works for us”.

  16. Billy Hand -  January 12, 2011 - 8:45 pm

    Regarding the corrections of the explanation of the chemical reaction between water and sulfuric acid, the language of the correction is just as inaccurate as the original article.

    The original article states that reaction resulting from adding sulfuric acid to water consumes the water and produces heat. Both are facts. It ignores the fact that the acid is consumed and that sulfate and hydronium are also produced because that is not relevant to the point of the article.

    “…the chemical combination converts the water molecules into heat.” Wrong. The chemical reaction produces so much HEAT that a stream of HOT STEAM is produced. This is more chemically correct.

    Not wrong, just not comprehensive, but intentionally so for the sake of brevity. Your explanation doesn’t really add anything except words.

    Sulfuric acid does not convert water molecules into heat. The reaction causes the chemical bonds in the water and acid molecules to break and reform. During this process, energy is released as heat.

    You are just restating the fact that water is consumed and heat is produced. Again, no mention of the acid also being consumed or the hydronium and sulfate being produced.

  17. Misanthrope -  January 12, 2011 - 5:46 pm

    @boo boo :): Your display name seems to amuse me for some reason. It’s probably because “boo boo” is how my uncle used to always refer to Barack Obama when complaining about his presidency or dishing out a reprimand for the current president himself.

    @smoothius: You do realize that by criticizing most of the comments on this article for being vitriolic, you yourself are exhibiting vitriolic behavior, don’t you? Also, I wouldn’t quite describe the media as being vitriolic. I would describe it as biased, melodramatic, and loquacious. The media panders to a fanbase that is primarily interested in hearing about death, sex, conflict, among various scandals.

    @Carlos Mason: That sounds like a vague example of communism or the like. Does it not?


  18. ms.karma -  January 12, 2011 - 5:16 pm

    Carlos Mason on January 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm
    >how i wish we could implement such.

    “menos personas menos problema”
    haha! sí! true true true.

    ayat ken kapia,

  19. markv -  January 12, 2011 - 3:40 pm

    @Carlos mason

    While you seem to be joking, that system WORKS.

  20. Carlos Mason -  January 12, 2011 - 12:12 pm

    Yes gun control is the answer. While we are at it, why not give everyone a GPS bracelet so that we can know at all times where they are. And just to be on the safe side. Let’s limit each family to one child, less people less problem, oh, another cool idea lets let the government decide how much each of us can make in a year and where we should work. Line up people; it’s for the good of the nation. Just turn in your guns and the world will be a much safer place. We are the government and we are here to help you!

    Sí, el control de armas es la respuesta. Si bien estamos en eso, ¿por qué no dar a todos un brazalete GPS para que nosotros podemos saber en todo momento dónde están. Y sólo para estar en el lado seguro. Vamos limitar cada familia a un niño, menos personas menos problema, oh, otra idea cool permite que el Gobierno decida cuánto cada uno de nosotros puede hacer en un año y donde debemos trabajar. Línea de personas; es por el bien de la nación. Sólo en sus armas y el mundo será un lugar mucho más seguro. Somos el Gobierno y estamos aquí para ayudarle.

  21. smoothius -  January 12, 2011 - 9:29 am

    if you have any questions about what vitriolic rhetoric may be, just read the majority of these posts and that should give you a good idea. kudos lilliana:) it’s heartining to know that compassion and sweetness still exist in this ‘vitriolic’ environment. there will always be psychos doing psycho things and no one is really to blame but the psycho. but we must all remember that good people doing good things are much more prevalent just not as widely reported by the ‘vitriolic’ media.
    peace and love people, and a sweet nod of appreciation to you lilliana:)

  22. Professor Ripster -  January 12, 2011 - 1:33 am

    It may be true that the Arizona shooter was a deranged individual who was not spurred on by vitriolic political debate. But that doesn’t mean the topic isn’t worth discussing. Ironically, the very type of unnecessarily partisan, over-the-top discourse that has been called into question by the good sheriff is reflected quite nicely in this very blog.
    How does a benign, non-political article about the definition of a word devolve this quickly into such a mean-spirited, personally charged, hate-filled, name calling free-for-all?! I think that’s really what’s at issue, and this blog gives us a better definition of vitriol than you’ll find, well, in a dictionary. So well done, dictionary.com! Well done indeed.
    As an American, I greatly appreciate the rights and freedoms we enjoy. I sometimes fear that as a people we lean on those rights a bit too heavily in our own rhetoric, and when combined with our collective tendencies toward inappropriate machismo we come across to the rest of the world as arrogant and stupid. I will defend that we are not so stupid as we are inexplicably unaware that we are perpetually drowning in pools of our own hubris.
    That said, whenever I read of a tragedy like this, after a while I realize there’s not much point in worrying or wondering whether the individual perpetrator is representative of typical American society.
    But I do think quite a bit about the few dozen-to-few thousand people who typically append the comments that they do to such stories, and I wonder whether THEY are representative of typical American society.
    Bottom line: people don’t change their stance on core issues very much, and we needn’t apologize for having an opinion and we shouldn’t expect someone else to change theirs. But we have an obligation to remain civilized when we disagree, to argue the issues without getting personal, to prioritize the truth of our arguments ahead of winning them, and to not disparage any person or group simply because they disagree with us. And I still hold out hope that people who don’t always operate that way today can change the way they carry out their debates, even if they do not intend to change which side they are on.

  23. Misanthrope -  January 12, 2011 - 12:43 am

    I apologize for the few errors in my above post.

  24. Devra -  January 11, 2011 - 10:59 pm

    Boo Boo got it right! When these crazy zealots turn to 2nd ammendment remedies, they only need to look at the map with the crosshairs to find their targets.

  25. Mark Othoudt -  January 11, 2011 - 10:49 pm

    “Sheriff Dupnik’s remarks are not the first time that the caustic word has been used to describe recent political discourse.” Vitriol is a “caustic” word? Oops! Look up caustic on dictionary.com

  26. Misanthrope -  January 11, 2011 - 10:48 pm

    There are a few things that I feel need my coverage.

    First and foremost, it is typically only human nature to try and find ways in which to decipher the irrational/illogical behavior or actions displayed or made by an individual. The reason for doing this is to ascertain the perspective of the individual in question. Even if it is a waste of time in some cases, there’s still nothing wrong with doing it. Of course, in this case, I’m sure the reasoning would be distorted at best. In reality, the only type of person who would attempt a massacre on a group of people who he has little to no association with would have to be mentally or/and emotionally unstable. Moreover, this especially holds true when the actions aren’t even on the grounds of actual reprisal, not that that is humane either. Basically, he killed seemingly innocent people.

    On another note, I’m not sure why people are surprised that the primary political parties of America are trying to use this occurrence as leverage to rebuke, reprimand, and altogether traduce one another. We’ve this happen time and again. Their main agenda is all about convincing citizens to become a proponent of their political party and despise the opposing one. It’s happened, it’s happening, and it will continue to happen in the future. Simple fact of political persuasion, competition, and myopia among related discords. On a related note, I do see many people using the latter as a tactic in argument in the comments section here.

    Now, to dive into a debate in the comments section, I think that if you’re going to argue a point on a statistical basis, you better damn well have an reputable illustration to support you in your viewpoint(s). Otherwise, everything that you verbalize and stand for can and will become a puff of smoke or a pile of dust. I will say this though, weapons were made by people and are operated by such, so this proves that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” What most fail to realize about that is that the piece of weaponry used is just acting or being utilized as a catalyst in the circumstance of murder.

    As someone above said, all we can do is speculate about the motives of the perpetrator; as it is impractical to think that any one of us will be getting close enough to him to actually find out what they were. Even then, we could still be missing a few details of his motivation and/or perception.

    I do however agree with Lilliana to an extent in that we should mourn the tragedy that befell the several who suffered some physical, mental, or emotional scar from Laughner’s (SP?) rampage. In addition to that, those of us who can say we live comfortable lives should be thankful that we have all that we do and to not take our advantages for granted; for there are many who are much less fortunate than we.

    @Carl: Carles Darwin (Charles Darwin)? Carl Marks (Karl Marx)? :P


  27. ToDeeJay -  January 11, 2011 - 9:50 pm

    Maybe the article was edited.

  28. ms.karma -  January 11, 2011 - 9:34 pm

    Lilliana on January 11, 2011 at 3:32 pm
    >thank you for having such a good heart.

    Raine on January 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm
    Grace on January 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm
    >God bless you guys.

    c’mon guys.
    make a change.


  29. JC -  January 11, 2011 - 9:24 pm

    Actually, ‘rhetoric’, the accompaniment of the term ‘vitriol’ during the recent news events, has far more to offer in terms of interesting definitions. The art of rhetoric, which was first introduced as an academic discipline by Aristotle and the ancient Greeks, has a pretty bad rap nowadays. Essentially, the art of rhetoric is “finding the available means of persuasion,” to paraphrase Aristotle. In the academic community, rhetoricians generally seek to uncover the ways in which certain arguments are persuasive. Unfortunately for rhetoric, popular uses of the word often only refer to empty words and poor logic, as in the sayings “that’s just rhetoric” or “tone down the rhetoric”. In truth, rhetoric merely refers to persuasion, be it logical or fallacious, ethical or otherwise.

  30. Australian Person -  January 11, 2011 - 9:10 pm

    I know people from the United States of America who have become Australian citizens and do not own guns because we have laws against owning guns. These American/Australians seem very happy to me – not at all in a state of fear from being unable to defend themselves. I have never met a person who has been shot and I am an older person. Our police have guns but they try not to shoot people. It is quite simple really. It works for us.

  31. Yeah..right -  January 11, 2011 - 8:37 pm

    @jim who wrote: “you are right the SICKO who shot those people has NOTHING to do with politics, only the lib dems would stoop low enough to bring this into the political arena and use their vitriol and Lies to try to gain political points! Despicable!!”

    I agree with you on the point that the nut-job that shot those people has nothing to do with politics. However I call complete BS on your second point. If it was a republican who was the target, you can bet without a shadow of a doubt that FOX news and all the other right wing outlets would be all over it blaming the left for the tragedy. There in lies one of our country’s biggest problems these days, we can’t even come together when our own people are killed. Shame on both sides.

  32. Haibane -  January 11, 2011 - 8:35 pm


    To be honest, I’m not a frequent visitor on this website. But every single article I’ve read has comments that either target the writers of the article, this site, or each other.

    O_O Ummm….Maybe this sounds biased, but are you Caucasians always this angry?

    While there’s nothing wrong with providing criticisms or feedback that help to correct and improve; or to voice your personal opinions, the overflowing sarcasm and verbal abuse shouldn’t be a necessity in making points. Rather; if I may say so, colouring the comments with negative emotion would render the instruction ineffective, as it can be difficult to swallow bitter advice. Plain, neutral-sounding truth may work better.

    And also, shouldn’t we have some empathy for the writers? They are doing their best to provide illuminating articles, which all of us have so evidently read; and perhaps, benefited from. At the very least, they should receive reviews without pungent embellishments for their effort.

    Having said that, I must agree with Grace-san. Hurt only begets more hurt. Instead, we really must try to do somtething more constructive; especially at times like these.

  33. Danmike -  January 11, 2011 - 8:21 pm

    I sitll don’t get why the chemical is concenrened to this stuff…

  34. Rob -  January 11, 2011 - 7:49 pm

    dictionary.com is a great website
    Sulphuric acid AKA “oil of vitriol” as I recall it in old chemistry books
    Copper Sulphate crystals illustrated are indeed hydrated – otherwise colour is opaque white
    As reqards recent shooting in USA and above comments on this site, Australians just shake their collective heads at the mentality of mainstream USA (not to tar you all with the same brush), but crikey, WTF is it with the firearm obsession in your society? Pls excuse my background having grown up in Canada (who also shake their heads), but will anyone see sense in USA regards gun control?
    Perhaps it’s just been left too long and is no longer possible to control.
    What attitudes from your politicians too! You will see some ridiculous behaviour from our Aussie politicians too, particularly in parliamentary question time, but they won’t get guns out when the argument gets hot.

  35. icky -  January 11, 2011 - 7:12 pm

    Lilliana,thank you, sweetie, for telling us exactly what is important.

  36. CmacQ -  January 11, 2011 - 7:01 pm

    Sometimes the devil’s in the details. There is an Arizona State Law that requires law enforcement to conduct a physiological evaluation on any individual referred by an educational institution, deemed a potential threat to themselves or public safety. The recent Giffords shooter was referred by PCC to the Pima County sheriff’s office on five separate occasions. Nothing was done as this is the office of which Clarence Dupnik was and remains the Sheriff. This is the same Clarence Dupnik who is now trying to deflect his own blame, negligence, and guilt by falsely saying it was due to the vitriol found in Pima county and Tucson, Arizona, as its “the national hub of prejudice and bigotry.” The only question is why is, “Tucson why is this incompetent still the Sheriff???”

  37. Ruth -  January 11, 2011 - 6:18 pm

    Boo Boo…when you take people’s words out of context, your words become “this type of talk.” I’m with Dave.

  38. bryan -  January 11, 2011 - 6:13 pm


  39. Allison -  January 11, 2011 - 5:53 pm

    Hey boo boo :(, nice attempt to take a purely apolitical act performed by a, note, registered INDEPENDENT and, might I mention, ATHEIST, and spin it as an opportunity to badmouth Republicans. No different than the age-old Liberal-run media. Perhaps try looking up the definition of “independent” and the Latin root, “a,” meaning “without, lacking.” Thanks.

  40. why -  January 11, 2011 - 5:48 pm



  41. Shari -  January 11, 2011 - 5:42 pm

    When did individuals(crazy or not)carrying around Weapons of Mass Destruction become ok in our society? Weaponry such as that used for this massacre should not be a right for anyone other than those in true warfare. Politics needs to be full of debate not vitriol, yes, we need to allow freedom of expression, true and intelligent debate in politics and social issues. We can’t be hushed by the threat of the “man with the gun” If politicans cease shooting from the hip verbally we may stand some chance of once again becoming a civilised society.

    My prayers are with you as you deal with this terrible crime.

  42. Hather madigan -  January 11, 2011 - 5:31 pm

    whats the meaning of the word smoulder… I heard of it from Disney’s Tangled

  43. Linz -  January 11, 2011 - 5:20 pm

    @Nathan I agree with ds. You are WAY off! I’m in middle school, but even I know that though guns cause a lot of problems, they also solve them. I don’t know about you, but I would like to have a gun if I were robbed. Also, Lilliana, thank you so much for reminding us that this isn’t just a point of discussion. People died. I most certainly will pray for that poor girl and her family.

  44. rianna -  January 11, 2011 - 5:01 pm

    What a wonderful example of vitriol we have seen in the majority of these posts! Now for some eye of newt and snake venom….

  45. ScoJo77 -  January 11, 2011 - 4:57 pm

    Ladies and gentlemen: You are witnessing “vitrol” first hand. Post an article about linguistics and people on the internet make it a fight.

    Point of order, “Getalis”: You’re playing telephone. The phrase was precautionary “don’t bring a knife to a gunfight” (the lesson Indiana Jones taught us) not a confrontational “if they bring a knife, we bring a gun.” Far different meaning.

  46. Grace -  January 11, 2011 - 4:35 pm

    I notice that the last comment by Lilliana was not responded to. I’ve read through all the comments here, skimmed through some, skipped one or two. But really, what stopped this heated debate and purposeful hurt? This one comment by a compassionate girl who took no sides, who instead got to the heart of the situation that recently just happened. Let’s do something that will help. Let’s do something useful. Instead of deliberately and ruthlessly correcting one another’s mistakes, let’s have empathy for those people who were hurt. We can all benefit from our peers, but only if we feel those with separate opinions as our peers.

  47. Raine -  January 11, 2011 - 4:31 pm


    I most certainly will.. :(

  48. Lilliana -  January 11, 2011 - 3:32 pm

    If you read this comment, will you please take a moment to remember those poor souls, one of which was a 9 year old girl. Pray for their families and for those who have a chance for survival. We sis this at my school a few days ago.


  49. antifreindly -  January 11, 2011 - 3:29 pm

    i think if guns kill people then then pens misspell words and spoons made rosie odonnel fat

  50. Adreth Rackliff -  January 11, 2011 - 3:07 pm

    Maybe the murderer should have some actual vitrol rubbed all over his body instead of getting off the hook with being put to death painlessly.

    How many lives has he shattered including the his very own parents who can’t come out of their own home.

  51. Hannah -  January 11, 2011 - 2:48 pm

    without psychos, weapontry is not an issue Nathan!

  52. DeeJay -  January 11, 2011 - 2:42 pm

    Nathan’s advice is very poor advice, and dangerous:

    …pouring a strong basic solution such as NAOH can stop the damage in the skin since it neutralizes the acid.

    Sodium hydroxide (lye) is itself extremely caustic, and would cause a serious chemical burn on the skin. I believe it would also cause another highly-exothermic reaction to occur, adding further heat to the situation. Look up “lye” on Wikipedia or do a web search.

  53. DeeJay -  January 11, 2011 - 2:26 pm

    It might be helpful for people to read what the original article actually says! Here are excerpts:

    “When sulfuric acid meets water, it produces an exothermic reaction, meaning that the chemical reaction with water produces heat.”

    Notice that it does NOT say that “…the chemical combination converts the water molecules into heat.” The original statement is correct.

    …(like the image of crystallized copper sulfate above.)

    Notice that the original reference is to COPPER Sulfate, not to Iron Sulfate.

    People either don’t read things very well or they make things up in their minds.

  54. here's to reason -  January 11, 2011 - 1:59 pm

    Calm down everyone. Let’s make this simple,

    To the right: not everyone expressing a leftist opinion is a freedom-hating commie radical.

    To the left: not everyone expressing a rightist opinion is a peace-hating fascist zealot.

    The nutjob who fired on all those innocent people was just that, and none of us can possibly know what factors led him to act as he did. We can speculate all we want, but we shouldn’t pretend any of us really know what motivated his horrific actions.

    This is a dictionary blog, people. We’re here to learn about words. No need for all the hatred and hurt feelings.

  55. RC -  January 11, 2011 - 1:41 pm

    I like your answer best, Carl.

  56. DS -  January 11, 2011 - 1:38 pm

    I agree with Kevin. Guns don’t kill people, but making them readily available to the general public makes it more possible for someone like Laughner to go on a rampage much like that of Saturday’s shooting. Guns are not toys. They should not be taken lightly. They are serious, deadly weapons. Allowing just any man on the street to have one is irresponsible.

  57. ap -  January 11, 2011 - 1:20 pm

    I say we have a schizo or at the very least bi-polar post going here. On one hand there are the chemists arguing about sulfates and which molecules split to cause the exothermic reaction. Kudos for staying on topic. On the other side we have all the political opinion. I have learned much more from the chemists than the politically opinionated. But nowadays it seems we all learn very little from the politicians. Chemists. :)

  58. doublevee -  January 11, 2011 - 1:11 pm

    I just read the first 3 comments, and then stopped since I had no idea what they were tailking about. Why am I even on this webpage?

  59. Saf -  January 11, 2011 - 12:51 pm


    Was that “psych study” conducted with any participants who were taught how to use and respect guns, or was it conducted with participants who have never owned or handled a gun, and are likely to be anxious/fearful/excited to be in the presence of one of those magical death wands they’ve heard so much about in the news?

    Also, define “aggressively.” Were they more aggressive in answering the questions, or were their answers actually indicative of a more violent mindset? Did any of the participants actually own a gun?

    Switzerland. Every citizen serves a term in the military, and keeps their gun afterward. It bears rephrasing: Nearly every household in Switzerland contains at least one firearm. Do you know which country has the lowest crime rate in the world? Go on, take a guess.

    Instead of the silly pretend objective viewpoint, why not just argue honestly that you don’t like guns and will accept any piece of inconclusive, non-empirical study as validation of your righteousness? :P


    “Fatally kill.” Lol.


  60. Bob -  January 11, 2011 - 12:44 pm

    I think its funny when people blog their opinions, since nobody actually cares. And its a bunch of people saying other people are stupid because they don’t believe what they personally believe, and correcting others because it makes them feel accomplished

  61. GM -  January 11, 2011 - 12:19 pm

    “rhetoric” appears to be the most used in the shooting case. Most of the media and officials have been using rhetoric to complain about all of the rhetoric! Trying to bring reasoning from a nut! They are trying to bring people to a side they support. “Rhetoric.” Was thae same done when Hinckley shot Reagan? Was Hinckly a Demcrat or liberal? Who knows? It was clear that he was a nut. Same here. The concern is if our lawmakers will try to take some of our 1st and/or 2nd Amendment rights. Due to the “rhetoric.”

  62. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  January 11, 2011 - 12:05 pm

    “Vitriol” is a junkie’s word for not-liking what decent people have to say … And that includes the Sheriff who has to save face in Arizona: Junkies believe their problems are so caused by rhetoric they do junk, and then they get more violent and do more junk: Arizona legalized it.

    But what Arizona ‘law’ doesn’t say, is, there is no prohibition on the use of preventative medicine: Their politicians created thug-medicine, for thugs to get high before a wilding where injury is likely but many people don’t like that omission… whoever, the current politician is.

    It’s not surprising that the ‘perp’ previously demanded the politician answer what government is when words have no meaning…. In succession politicians are making it difficult for decent politicians to succeed: (cf the Clinton-Bush-Obama-succession ‘junkie-luge’).

    Whence the Sheriff’s meaning is quite-probably the “glassy attention.”

    REF: http://drugpolicy.org/statebystate/arizona/ “as of December, 1996.”

  63. Literal Joe -  January 11, 2011 - 12:05 pm

    I’m not sure that the meaning of the word is “literally dangerous”.
    This grammatical mistake is literally 9/11 all over again.

  64. anonymous -  January 11, 2011 - 12:02 pm

    Can you explore the definition and usage of “racist” or “diversity”? These two words also proliferate all forms of media and debate.

  65. Bob Emery -  January 11, 2011 - 11:56 am

    Whoever said humans were the most intelligent beings on the planet? WRONG!

  66. Carl Jones -  January 11, 2011 - 11:43 am

    Ok, the Article doesn’t say “turns water into heat,” it says the reaction produces heat. The writer was not talking about converting matter into energy, the result of which would be Hiroshima.

  67. dk -  January 11, 2011 - 11:37 am

    Gee, kids. The subject was a word, ‘vitriol’, and it’s definition. It sure doesn’t take much to start a political uprising these days.

  68. Rich Durst -  January 11, 2011 - 11:33 am

    Wolf, I honestly don’t think they mind at all. Judging from the HotWords that I’ve read over the past six months or so, it seems as if they actually hew to controversial topics as a matter of course. This is probably in order to get more activity and draw more traffic to the website — the blog is only a means to an end, after all.

    I’d assume they simply weren’t paying attention to the comments, but they regularly make corrections to the article after errors are pointed out. So either they don’t care about the topic of conversation, or they prefer topics that will provoke this kind of activity.

  69. Carl -  January 11, 2011 - 11:32 am

    Left… Right… Are those the only choices? I’m tired of this game. Back and forth… Us and them.

    Can we not evolve a little? Can the institution of United States government evolve and continually improve as it was designed to? Probably not- because we and it have all whored ourselves out to money and the pursuit thereof. For shame… In all these millions of years, we still bow to bananas over all.

    To the gun control folks: You can’t give a baby a toy and then take it away without them crying. Nor should you try. All controls and laws are constraints to our ultimate freedom which should be our ultimate goal.

    To the gun nuts: I hope you’re hunters and skilled craftsmen and are good with your hands and good to your neighbors. If you’re not- be angry and proud! Big monkey-man wield big stick. ROAR!

    Come on people. The solution is evolution. If we stop running; fleeing the monster of extinction/annihilation, if we stop fighting fear and malice, if we don’t always continue to crawl up towards the light of reason and understanding we are surely doomed. Not me, not you, not us, not them. ALL.

    People think they know so much. And we do, but it amounts to so little. Step back, lighten up, and open your eyes and shut your mouth.

  70. Anonymous#2 -  January 11, 2011 - 10:56 am

    Correlation ≠ Causality
    A crosshair on a website does not necessarily have anything to do with a shooting.
    If you demand everything be integrally linked, you’d better get started blaming everything from War Movies to 80′s GI JOE cartoons to the news report talking about the incident itself.

  71. Deidre Christiansen -  January 11, 2011 - 10:42 am

    @Andy, that’s what stood out for me, too. Meanwhile, the string of conversation brings to mind “vituperative.”

  72. Kevin -  January 11, 2011 - 10:37 am

    “If he had no weapons, he would have acted with a kitchen knife, or a gas tank, or a rock.”

    It would have been a little harder for him fatally kill six people within seconds with a rock. He’d have been apprehended long before so many people got hurt if he started swinging a knife.

    Guns don’t kill people, people kill people…but a 30-round Glock sure makes it a lot easier.

  73. Mel -  January 11, 2011 - 10:28 am

    @Sonshine: Yes, he was in legal possession of a weapon, but I’m not sure if he had a concealed carry license.

    As for the article, I thought it was very interesting. I’ve never heard the phrase “vitriolic rhetoric” used and it was good to learn something new this morning.

    As for keeping politics out of it, I don’t think that’s possible with such a fresh and sensitive issue, regardless of the original intent. I’m sure all the readers noted that it was not about politics, but rather about the meaning of the phrase. I agree with Misty; let’s explore “heinous” next.

  74. poz -  January 11, 2011 - 10:25 am

    Nathan on January 10, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    “The ultimate cause, of course, is the fact that guns are freely available in the United States. Without weaponry, talk is just talk.” if I have interpreted this comment correctly, this Nathan is against the possession of firearms what happened to the second amendment? I hope to god this individual has no political power at all. his statement is atrocious and implies a change to the constitutional rights the right our forefathers fought and died for.

  75. jim -  January 11, 2011 - 9:59 am

    you are right the SICKO who shot those people has NOTHING to do with politics, only the lib dems would stoop low enough to bring this into the political arena and use their vitriol and Lies to try to gain political points! Despicable!! look at all the vitriol that spews out of their leader, barry the Socialist’s, mouth Daily!

  76. Shirlz -  January 11, 2011 - 9:43 am

    I believe the worst kind of person is one who will discount obvious truths on order to hide behind defective rhetoric.

  77. Carl Noeding -  January 11, 2011 - 9:34 am

    Regarding Boo Boo’s coments, Obviously most of the political rhetoric are metaphores. What if someone says “They bring knives and we will bring GUNS”. Guns! This was said by someone you know, wasn’t it. HOPE you would CHANGE and bring this statement up. Laughner is a kook, as we now know. Seems like many on the left are begging to describe his ideology as someone far from theirs. May be closer to theirs; Anti-Goverment,Anti-currency,No religion,9/11 Truther,Great solution Racist,Pot smoking Militant Commi-individualist. Sounds more like an Anarchist…Ideologicaly closer to the Far-Left whack jobs. There, you were begging to peg Laughner’s belief. Don’t like it now??

  78. Wolf -  January 11, 2011 - 9:31 am

    Hot Word,
    Do you ever get sick of people completely missing the point of your articles and going off on whatever tangent they wish?

    Vitriolic. Good word.

  79. Ohaustu -  January 11, 2011 - 9:21 am

    Whitney, why don’t you ask our Communist friends over in Russia how the whole left wing radical government thing went.

    Nathan, take a trip to Mexico and let us know how their disarmed citizens are talking their problems out with the militant anarchist drug cartels that have overthrown the government in some places.

  80. T from NC! -  January 11, 2011 - 9:12 am

    Boo, Your pals on the “LEFT” use inflammatory rhetoric as well.You just close your eyes!It has ALWAYS been oksy for your side to even march publicly while displaying “Kill Bush” signs.
    Our President uses his “teleprompter” to refer to those opposing his views
    as “enemy combatants”…Wake Up!

  81. Meg -  January 11, 2011 - 9:09 am

    Dirk, you’re right. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. as for me i definitely think that ‘vitriol’ is the perfect term for the kind of corrosive, hatred-driven behavior that allows such tragedy to happen. the thing is, maybe nothing political in particular activated Loughner, maybe he was just deranged–but no matter what, to kill is the ultimate wrong and to attack innocents is even worse. in the words of Mark Twain, “it’s enough to make a body ashamed of the human race”.

  82. Donny -  January 11, 2011 - 9:06 am

    Whitney, one that quickly comes to mind is Lee Harvey Oswald.

  83. amber ferro -  January 11, 2011 - 8:49 am

    I would like you to explore the word “remunerative”.
    The most emailed article in The New York Times is titled, “Is Law School A Losing Game?”
    It mentions the word remunerative in the following paragraphs:

    The mismatch of student expectations and likely postgraduate outcomes is starting to yield some embarrassing headlines. In October, a student at Boston College Law School made news by posting online an open letter to the dean, offering to leave the school if he could get his tuition money back.

    “With fatherhood impending,” wrote the student, whose name was redacted, “I go to bed every night terrified of the thought of trying to provide for my child AND paying off my J.D., and resentful at the thought that I was convinced to go to law school by empty promises of a fulfilling and remunerative career.”

    Thank you!

  84. Whitney -  January 11, 2011 - 8:47 am

    Anonymous#2 is exactly right!

  85. Dok -  January 11, 2011 - 8:45 am

    How, in the space of 2-3 posts, can the useful comment about the origins and meaning of “vitriol”, evolve into political argument, seemingly possessed, ironically, of much of what the word itself defines – and in exactly the context in which initially appeared? Is that a uniquely American habit, or are Americans just better at it than others? I’ve never observed any individual, myself included, change their political or religious opinions in the context of combative debate. Have any of you fine folks?

    I find the study of words – their origins and deconstruction – fascinating. I also find that giving time to contemplate the depth of meaning inherent in even the most commonly used words, even while speaking, let alone writing, adds much to my shared communication with others.


  86. Whitney -  January 11, 2011 - 8:36 am

    Obama was making reference to what Eagle fans say in Philly, Getalis. Get in their face is fine. He isn’t putting up websites that show crosshairs. The point is from all sides is that those who have a VERY LARGE following should not be using vituperative or “vitriolic” language. They have a responsiliblity. Oh though I’m an independent, when did a left wing, radical person ever kill anyone or try to?

  87. Wejonnever -  January 11, 2011 - 8:18 am

    It’s most unfortunate that in America’s current climate there are idiots that continue use this storm of uncertainty as a vehicle
    to vent their anger .

  88. Anonymous#2 -  January 11, 2011 - 8:17 am

    This article is not about politics or the relationship of media and violence in American culture.
    This article is not about politics or the relationship of media and violence in American culture.
    This article is not about politics or the relationship of media and violence in American culture.

    Say it over and over again, and it might work.

  89. Dman -  January 11, 2011 - 8:16 am

    Really? Every time I get in here, it seems that instead of people enjoying the article, they get in here to find ways in which to correct the writer and make it seem like they don’t know what they are talking about. Don’t you think that the purpose of the writer is to make information simple to understand to the reader? just stop focusing on the little details and look at the big picture, what is the actual focus of the article, how about you ponder on that…..

  90. galenpeder -  January 11, 2011 - 7:59 am

    you know, i really don’t think ‘vitriolic rhetoric’ is the root of the problem… the real disease is our debt-based capitalism and our ‘two-party’ ‘republic’. once people wake up and realise that violence is merely a symptom of a far more disgusting problem, we can actually have a sophisticated dialogue of how we will solve it. until then, all any of us will see is finger-pointing. it is high time we take responsibility for ourselves and stop allowing ourselves to be trod on in the name of profit margins and political advancement.

  91. Balaji -  January 11, 2011 - 7:48 am


  92. Peter Apps -  January 11, 2011 - 7:45 am

    Those beautiful blue crystals are more likely copper sulphate than iron sulphate.

  93. Alan Turner -  January 11, 2011 - 7:43 am

    Guns are used by people to kill others in certain circumstances

    Cars are used by people to kill others in certain circumstances

    Cars kill more people than guns do each year.

  94. john whithead -  January 11, 2011 - 7:26 am

    i drink that stuff for breakfast
    not really tho
    i put a little bit of it in a shot
    try it its good

  95. Crystalness -  January 11, 2011 - 7:24 am

    So – – take the gun rights away from the good people trying to protect themselves, collect, hunt or whatever and that way only the bad guys have the guns. How about just get rid of the bad guys – “eye for eye” instead of: “oh, he was crazy, so let’s be nice to him.” or “oh, he came from a bad family, let’s go easy on him.” Or “let’s put them in a cell and give them nutritionally balanced meals and a chance to earn an education” at the COST OF LAW ABIDING CITIZENS!!!

  96. Rich Durst -  January 11, 2011 - 7:07 am

    “This article is not about politics or the relationship of media and violence in American culture.”

    We see how long that lasted.

  97. Misty -  January 11, 2011 - 7:04 am

    Another word that is used for situations like these is “heinous.” President Obama said of the shooting that “these heinous crimes have no place in America.” I think heinous could be a good word to explore.

  98. mary duignan -  January 11, 2011 - 7:02 am

    The quality of the comments made behooves me. Could Oprah be correct in her statement: “I believe in the intelligence of the American people” ? — HEAR HEAR!! I certainly hope so.
    In the meantime let’s lay off the inciting garble and toughen our gun-control laws to boot!

  99. Ridin Ridge -  January 11, 2011 - 6:49 am

    oops, didn’t mean to go off on a tangent,i’m not sure why a new buzz word makes an issue more relevent.some self serving idiot came up with a not so great idea to make a statement about some delusion conjured from whatever opinion spoon fed by the whoring media.
    When is the media informative if most has opinion attached.we are being mesmerized and comtrolled.remember the meeting the president had with news networks when he first took office.they all do it .its nothing new and we are constantly exposed and dont even realize it.
    Free thinkers see , hear ,and taste it to the point of discust.most people don’t notice or even care and even find it entertaining.the powers that be are counting on our ignorance.

  100. RedNeck -  January 11, 2011 - 6:46 am

    Boo Boo – you need to get a life – people who own the guns are the people responsible for THEIR OWN ACTIONS! The current administration has caused more distress among ALL Americans than any other in history. Racial, Financially, etc. I see where a Dem/lib in North Carolina (recently) shot an intruder with his gun – and oh yes – he is against the public having guns – now GO FIGURE!!!

  101. Jarvis -  January 11, 2011 - 6:45 am

    Very interesting! It’s disheartening that we can (accurately) find a correlation between modern politics and vitriol / sulfuric acid.

  102. nicki -  January 11, 2011 - 6:44 am

    WE all need to think We are suppose to be the smart society that knows how to tell everyone one else how to live,what a joke.You don’t like what someone’s views are shoot them.Kids shooting up schools Dad shoots up the office cause he gets let go.Damn people we are the civil country not savages ,right? No wonder they all hat us what a bunch of hypocrites

  103. Nathan Gonzalez -  January 11, 2011 - 6:39 am

    I agree, “…the chemical combination converts the water molecules into heat.” is wrong. The chemical reaction produces HEAT (exothermic) which instantly heat the surrounding water molecules enough to brake the hydrogen and oxygen bonds which later leave the liquid form in gas/vapor form burning the person close to it, the acid itself also causes serious burning in the skin. It is highly recommended to pour enough water in the affected are, pouring a strong basic solution such as NAOH can stop the damage in the skin since it neutralizes the acid.

  104. lovepeace -  January 11, 2011 - 6:39 am

    Someone just mentioned receantly that rest of the world does not lack in idiotic people, but they don’t make the wapons so easily available to them to cary on what our idiots do…something to think about

  105. letsvaluepeople -  January 11, 2011 - 6:27 am

    Everyone seems to be talking about what the meaning of the constitution is: blah, blah, blah. Let’s understand the fundamental reason of human life. Understanding that everyone, yes everyone, has a precious commodity on Earth can create a greater understanding of existence on planet Earth.

  106. Andy -  January 11, 2011 - 6:23 am

    And of course the word “caustic,” used as a synonym for vitriolic in the last-but-one paragraph, is also a chemical term. In chemistry it’s usually used to refer to the opposite of an acid – an alkali.

  107. Ridin Ridge -  January 11, 2011 - 6:22 am

    i’m sure all the anti-gun blather will rise like a boil on the constitution from the news media pumping the derrick of fear in the common populace.Just keep in mind how many people die in inner city gun violence every day wih no media circus. I feel the best gun control is by using two hands for accuracy,not creating an atmosphere with which the criminal is the only one with rights.
    Where I live we dont dial 911. I personally dial 357 because otherwise my body would be cold by the time anyone came to rescue me.

  108. Sonshine -  January 11, 2011 - 6:16 am

    Did that shooter have a legal weapon? If not all the comments above are without merit!

  109. Mel -  January 11, 2011 - 5:56 am

    If I’m not mistaken, this individual shouldn’t have had a gun anyway. He had issues in his background that should have hindered his ability to get a firearm. I like guns. I think we should be able to have them. “We” as in law abiding, responsible citizens. The background checks they do on a person before purchasing a gun should be a little more in depth. On the other hand, there are many felons out there who have firearms illegally. It’s usually the ones that aren’t allowed to have guns and illegally procure them that cause the trouble, not the people who are responsible with their weapons and are allowed to have them. I don’t think he fired on those poor people because of politics. I think he did it because he’s sick, but that’s just my opinion.

  110. Rampaw -  January 11, 2011 - 5:47 am

    What caused the tragedy in Tuscan? Was it the fact that the shooter was obviously emotionally unstable? Or, was it the fact that firearms and magazines with the increased capacity to kill are so readily available? Or, was it the fact that the shouting heads on radio and television make very generous livings by keeping people stirred up? YES! All of them were factors.

  111. Lance -  January 11, 2011 - 5:39 am

    People sound like Parrots quickly spewing what ever ideas are planted in there minds by the Media. Quote: “Vitriol is the perfect word for the type of extremist rhetoric that has been spewed for the last two years” …. Last 2 years ????
    Its been spewed from both sides of the political debate for the last 200 years of our democracy. Dont remember anyone blaming talk radio or the media for Kennedy being shot and killed ?? Now were down to blaming words from others for horrific acts with the immediate false assumption that the man who shot these good people even listened to talk radio or any Repulican rhetoric. Its been said in the news that he was Liberal. From what Ive seen he listened to hard metal rock. The Vitriol rhetoric is blaming others words for a murder for political gain…, thats irresponsible factless drivel.

  112. Ajay -  January 11, 2011 - 5:14 am

    Sulfuric acid does not convert water molecules into heat. no. The reaction causes the chemical bonds in the water and acid molecules to break and reform. During this process, energy is released as heat. Duh! can’t believe people are like this.

  113. Thinkerman -  January 11, 2011 - 4:50 am

    Getalis says: “Yeah, because inanimate objects are oh-so capable of firing themselves. [/rolleyes]”

    Hey, eyeroller. That’s a tired argument. By your logic, we should scrap the Non-Proliferation Treaty because it isn’t nuclear weapons that kill people, it’s governments.

    Your argument misses the fact that people are influenced by their environments. A person in the presence of a gun becomes a different person — a person with a violent option. There are psych studies that show that just having a gun visible in the room causes subjects to answer questions more aggressively. It is not wrong to say, therefore, that guns “cause” at least some people to use them, usually against family members, and sometimes against the world.

    Instead of the silly pretend logic, why not just argue honestly that you just like guns and you think the freedom to own them is worth the higher murder rate.

  114. Darren -  January 11, 2011 - 4:14 am

    People like ‘boo boo,’ are clearly ignorant of every logical fallacy known to man. Look it up honey, perhaps you can gain a few IQ points.

  115. Joseph Okello -  January 11, 2011 - 2:50 am

    (1). An old word for sulfuric acid .
    (2). Abusive or venomous language used to express blame or censure or bitter deep- seated ill will.

    Thank you Hotword. I have found this article most informative.

  116. Wrangler Rob -  January 11, 2011 - 2:29 am

    Eric Fromm said in, “Escape from Freedom,” which inadvertently predicted the rise of the 3rd Reich, that men will surrender their rights in exchange for personal peace and security. Seeing the comments from Boo Boo remind me that the Left has defined all disagreement with their positions as “vitriol.” That is the real corrosive point of view.

  117. NickNook -  January 11, 2011 - 2:13 am

    “This article is not about politics or the relationship of media and violence in American culture.”

    Someone somewhere must be mixing the chemicals to create such acidic rhetoric. American news media is that laboratory. For decades, it has been a conduit for political agenda that is used to heat up both sides of debates, and rally a population to a cause. News broadcasting is a blessing and a curse in the way it keeps us informed, while at the same time, stirs up the emotions of society. e.g. after the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords, the news media continues to emphasize the supposed outrage, injustice, shock, etc. that the American people are feeling as a whole. But common sense will tell you: stirring up “outrage” in millions of people can have negative consequences.

  118. Dave -  January 11, 2011 - 2:12 am

    “This article is not about politics or the relationship of media and violence in American culture.”

    Huummm …. why do some find it impossible to stay on-topic at ANY type of website? Trying to use a “Dictionary” site to spread personal political agendas is pretty bad.

  119. C Melvin -  January 11, 2011 - 2:12 am

    Those blue crystals are not Iron Sulfate. They’re COPPER Sulfate-Blue Vitriol. It’s used as a root killer among other things. Iron Sulfate is green.

  120. Dirk -  January 11, 2011 - 1:43 am

    No, Nathan. The ultimate fact is that the perp is mentally deranged. If he had no weapons, he would have acted with a kitchen knife, or a gas tank, or a rock.
    And the Sheriff should be more careful in attributing motives on criminal behaviours before having clear evidence corroborating them. In the case de quo, the Sheriff’s references to the ongoing political debate are without any foundation.

  121. passers-by -  January 11, 2011 - 1:42 am

    Isn’t that blue crystal CuSO4·5H2O?

  122. Getalis -  January 11, 2011 - 1:39 am

    Yeah, because inanimate objects are oh-so capable of firing themselves. [/rolleyes]

    No kidding! Obama telling his supporters to “get in their face”, “if they bring a knife… we bring a gun”, and describing working with the GOP Congress as “hand-to-hand combat”. What vitriolic, extremist rhetoric indeed!

  123. Nathan -  January 10, 2011 - 11:10 pm

    The ultimate cause, of course, is the fact that guns are freely available in the United States. Without weaponry, talk is just talk.

  124. Mistress of Darkness -  January 10, 2011 - 10:33 pm

    Cool.. Maybe that is the reason why you need to acquire permission first to be able to buy Sulphuric Acid nowadays… ^_^

  125. boo boo : ) -  January 10, 2011 - 9:46 pm

    Vitriol is the perfect word for the type of extremist rhetoric that has been spewed for the last two years. Michelle Bachman (R) Minnesota quote “I want you all to be armed and dangerous”. Sharon Angle (R) Nevada senatorial candidate on the campaign trail quote “We need to use those second ammendment remedies”. Not to mention Sara Palin’s famous crosshair target sheet, that actually has a crosshair target on the very office of Representative Giffords office, and her mentioning that quote “Don’t retreat! Reload! This type of talk only stirs up the worst in those whose zeal for their causes might make them actually take up what was said by these people seriously, which in effect can cause enourmous harm as we have just seen. Stop it!

  126. Joshua` -  January 10, 2011 - 9:26 pm

    Sulfuric acid does not convert water molecules into heat. The reaction causes the chemical bonds in the water and acid molecules to break and reform. During this process, energy is released as heat.

  127. Marco A. Cruz Quevedo -  January 10, 2011 - 9:00 pm

    “…the chemical combination converts the water molecules into heat.” Wrong. The chemical reaction produces so much HEAT that a stream of HOT STEAM is produced. This is more chemically correct.


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