One Fell Swoop…Arizona “Meet and Greet” Shooting Tragedy

10 Jan

It’s been a few year since I’ve used the phrase at one fell swoop but I used it this past weekend at work and all I got was a blank stare.  I used to use the phrase to describe how my teenage boys and friends descended upon my kitchen afterschool and wiped out just about everything in the refrigerator and freezer in one of their afterschool gatherings at our home but not so much lately.

According to

Shakespeare either coined the phrase, or gave it circulation, in Macbeth, 1605:

MACDUFF: [on hearing that his family and servants have all been killed]

All my pretty ones?
Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
At one fell swoop?

The kite referred to is a hunting bird, like the Red Kite, which was common in England in Tudor times and is now making a welcome return after near extinction in the 20th century. The swoop (or stoop as is now said) is the rapid descent made by the bird when capturing prey.


The phrase has become to mean a sudden action rather than an act of savagery.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines fell as meaning ‘fierce, savage; cruel, ruthless; dreadful, terrible’. 

I thought of this phrase for a second time this past weekend when I heard the news of the shooting in Arizona that killed and injured so many. 

My heart and prayers extend to all the families involved in this tragedy.


Posted by on January 10, 2011 in Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

15 responses to “One Fell Swoop…Arizona “Meet and Greet” Shooting Tragedy

  1. nrhatch

    January 10, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Such a shame . . . especially the 9 year old girl with her whole life ahead of her.

  2. flyinggma

    January 10, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Defies understanding…One angry man and so many lives changed forever.

  3. duke1959

    January 10, 2011 at 11:25 am

    This is also a glimpse into a world that most know nothing about.

    • flyinggma

      January 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      Are you speaking of the phrases or the tragedy? I’m assuming it’s the tragedy. Tragedy can strike without a moment’s notice and change the trajectory of our lives forever.

  4. planejaner

    January 10, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I love to look into the meanings/birth-places of words, phrases, idioms, colloquialisms…I use that phrase here, a lot…also, after I explained to my crying daughter what I actually meant, “Kill two birds with one stone.”

    that 9-year old girl was born on 9/11…the very day we experienced hatred in a new way.

    sad…so very sad.

    • flyinggma

      January 10, 2011 at 11:38 am

      I love phrases and their meanings/birth-places as you put it as well.
      My husband and I use a lot of different phrases around here. The favorite around here is still “shooting at the whole flock” when we are overwhelmed with responsibilities and not knowing what to work on first.

      I hadn’t read about the 9-year old’s birthdate. My heart hurts for all the families…. Jeanne

  5. Todd Pack

    January 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    There’s nothing you can do, really, to protect yourself against stupid people. If someone’s stupid and wants to hurt people, they’re going to find a way. Also, don’t count on anyone in the stupid person’s life getting involved and preventing a tragedy, because no one wants to believe the person is stupid enough to actually do something.

    • flyinggma

      January 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      You are correct Todd. I look at all the gyrations that the NTSB goes through to try and prevent airline tragedies like 9/11 from ever happening again. Most of it is pretty pointless and unnecessary because if someone wants to cause problems they will find a way regardless of safeguards put in place. Same with gun control.

      For example, they could cause problems in the lines before anyone ever gets through security and do plenty of damage just in that one area. At that point what good is the security system at the airport?

  6. Thomas Stazyk

    January 10, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    A real tragedy that will probably have a lot of negative consequences.

    From the news we have gotten down here the guy was a nutcase. The question that people down here keep asking is “How did a guy like that get his hands on a semi automatic weapon?”

    • flyinggma

      January 10, 2011 at 4:28 pm

      If they are motivated to do something they will find a way to obtain what they need. I haven’t read much about the guy yet but a normal person wouldn’t consider doing what he did.

  7. duke1959

    January 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    People need to understand that this country and world is awashed in weapons of all sorts. It is not difficlut at all to get your hands on most of them.

  8. sunshineinlondon

    January 11, 2011 at 6:27 am

    We have watched – in horror and sadness – the events of last weekend. How awful and tragic and so pointless. I can’t imagine what can possess a living person to do such a thing? I wonder if we’ll ever know…
    Sorry for my absence – I’ll explain soon! Good to catch up with you, Jeanne.
    Sunshine xx

    • flyinggma

      January 11, 2011 at 9:30 am

      It is definitely hard to understand acts by people that take the life of another. I will always wonder why and what in their life brought them to that point.

  9. Linda

    January 12, 2011 at 12:18 am

    It’s terrifing and so horribly sad.

    • flyinggma

      January 12, 2011 at 7:13 am

      So true…It’s touched so many lives unnecessarily.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: