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Shoot first and ask questions later

Posted by Smokey Stover on April 05, 2006

In Reply to: Shoot first and ask questions later posted by mcasey666 on April 02, 2006

: origin of "shoot first and ask questions later"

I don't know the answer, but there's a widespread opinion, including my own, that it has a connection with the American "Wild West." If you Google the phrase, you won't find the first to use it, but you'll find references to cowboy days, along with the many later uses to characterize politics or policies that someone finds questionable--or occasionally highly desirable. Many references are to the Bush-Cheney foreign policy, e.g., one which deplores the Iraq war: "This is the epitome of the old west saying, "Shoot first and ask questions later."

Many citations of the phrase refer to a new Florida law regarding the circumstances under which one may "shoot first." "MIAMI - It is either a Wild West revival, a return to the days of "shoot first and ask questions later," or...." SS