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"One reason that many otherwise 'good' people often use words irresponsibly and cruelly is that they regard the injuries inflicted by words as intangible and, therefore, minimize the damage they can inflict. Thus, for generations, children taunted by playmates have been taught to respond, 'Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words [or names] can never hurt me'. In our hearts, we all know that this thing is untrue…An old Jewish teaching compares the tongue to an arrow. 'Why not another weapon, a sword, for example?' one Rabbi asks. 'Because,' he is told,' if a man unsheathes his sword to kill his friend, and his friend pleads with him and begs for mercy, the man may be mollified and return the sword to its scabbard. But an arrow, once it is shot, cannot be returned, no matter how much one wants to." (Joseph Telushkin, Words That Hurt, Words That Heal, xix, xxx).

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