NOVEMBER 7, 2022: “Those Little Toy Guns!” …

I saw a question posted on my Quora forum recently that asked: “How can imprisonment for insults be justified, considering no one has ever been killed by words, and no words can force somebody else to choose to do harm?”

With that, and in honor of the anniversary of “The Four Agreements” I love so much having first been published on this day in 1997, let’s go over “words” by reading through my response to that question:

Oh, but you couldn’t be more wrong, my friend. Someone “ever” HAS been killed by words, let me assure you of that. While words themselves cannot physically force someone to choose to do harm, they can, indeed, incite it. Both the spoken and written word are the womb from which good things are born, and the sword upon which many tragic tales have fallen. This is why every “word” should be chosen impeccably, and why, yes, some insults are, indeed, deserving of imprisonment. If the words one speaks can metaphorically imprison the person receiving them in internal turmoil and ACTUAL hell, and thus potentially even cause their death, so, too, should the person who speaks such such words be imprisoned.
Long story short?
Be sure to watch your mouth, lest you end up choking on the very same poison you spew into the atmosphere.
By the way, this is especially important when it comes to the words we speak into the ears of children, be them our own children or someone else’s. Many are the children whose bodies physically grew into adulthood, but whose hearts, minds, spirits, and fledgling wings were physically MANGLED at the receiving end of careless “words”. How do I know this? I AM ONE OF THEM!
{“The Real Cat Williamson on Quora“}

The song I’ve paired with this entry is from the perspective of a child who hid in closets while their mom and dad were not just murdering each other with “words”, BUT THEM AS WELL! Been there. Done that. Yes, it’s true, and I am brave enough to admit that not only was I, too, that kid hiding in the closet from sparring parents, but I later grew up to be one of those parents who ashamedly let subjected my babies to the war of words between their dad and I. So, whereas my Quora answer is obviously about the danger of not speaking impeccably in general, likewise are children MANGLED in the presence and crossfire of “words”.

Are we clear now, people? Good enough! In the meantime, make it a powerful “Four Agreements” kind of day, and for God’s sake PLEASE be impeccable with your words. They are not … I repeat – NOT … just “little toy guns”.


In between the coats in the closet, she held on to that heart shaped locket. Staring at a family flawless … but it ain’t a pretty picture tonight. Mom and daddy just won’t stop it. Fightin’ at the drop of the faucet. Cuts through the walls catastrophic. She’s caught in the crossfire. Puts her hands over her ears … starts talking through the tears … she’s saying … she’s praying. I wish words were like little toy guns. No sting, no hurt no one. Just a bang bang rolling off your tongue. (I wish words were like little toy guns.) Yeah. No smoke. No bullets. No kick from the trigger when you pull it. No pain. No damage done. (I wish words were like little toy guns.) Wish there was a white flag waving, or that they were both just faking, and it was just a game they were playing, like shoot’em up cowboys. Leave the plastic pistols in the front yard, throw away the score card, and just turn off all the noise. I wish words were like little toy guns. Oh, I wish they didn’t cut like a knife. I wish they didn’t break you inside. I wish they didn’t bang bang make you wanna run, yeah. {Carrie Underwood}