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In re Brandishing. The misunderstanding of brandish is endemic to the trade.

color of law

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“Advise loved ones and friends to refrain from wearing clothing items or carrying items brandishing the department name and logo, for their safety,” Jennings wrote in another precaution in the letter.
brandish - an act or instance of waving something menacingly or exhibiting something ostentatiously or aggressively.
ostentatious - attracting or seeking to attract attention, admiration, or envy often by gaudiness or obviousness : overly elaborate or conspicuous : characterized by, fond of, or evincing ostentation.
aggressive - marked by combative readiness.

So, brandishing a weapon could be for good or evil?
 

user

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That definition is from a "vulgar" dictionary (reporting popular rather than correct usage), and takes its meaning from an analogical usage. Swashbucklers didn't brandish their swords by displaying them in a shameful or ostentatious manner, they waved them about in an attempt to kill others. So, for example, one who brandishes his private parts in an act of sexual assault is brandishing only as an analogy (assault with a friendly weapon).
 

user

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The problem with courts' misuse of the term comes from the inability to distinguish between "meaning" and "usage". Popular (or "vulgar") dictionaries are reporting popular usage, not denotative meaning. Here's the meaning of "brandish", from the 1933 OED:

"1. [verb, transitive, i.e., requiring an object] To flourish, wave about (a sword, spear, dart, club, or other manual weapon) by way of threat or display or in preparation for action."

It is not a synonym for assault, nor is it necessarily involved in acts of intimidation. No "flourish" or "wave" of a weapon as a positive act, means no brandishing. I think the reason the word is "interpreted" dishonestly is a misguided attempt on the part of courts to "help get the bad guys" (i.e., disfavored persons, regardless of whether they've actually committed a crime). (I prefer to think that judges are not misusing such terms out of stupidity, though there's no question there's some of that going around.)
 

OC for ME

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I am convinced that the term is being used exactly as the state (judges and cops) wish it to be used. I rarely subscribe ignorance to those who hold individual liberty in low regard...IOW, they know exactly what they are trying to accomplish and in Virginia and they have been doing quite well...it seems.
 

solus

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That definition is from a "vulgar" dictionary (reporting popular rather than correct usage), and takes its meaning from an analogical usage. Swashbucklers didn't brandish their swords by displaying them in a shameful or ostentatious manner, they waved them about in an attempt to kill others. So, for example, one who brandishes his private parts in an act of sexual assault is brandishing only as an analogy (assault with a friendly weapon).
or as a dead weapon!
 
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