Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Getting It Right

Why precision matters.

Here's what CNN says, on screen and on a voiceover, in reporting on the Supreme Court decision to take up a Second Amendment case:

"A well regulated Militia.." and "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Except the reporter said it as one piece, as if militia and people were two separate groups, tied together by CNN's "and" and both were granted the right to bear arms.

The structure of the sentence has always been problematic, particularly because of the commas. But CNN just gave the wrong idea.

Here's what the amendment says:

"A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

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