The headline is “Turtle-napper pleads pleads guilty“, but the story indicates the animals were merely poached:
The third of three men charged in a illegal turtle-napping scheme pleaded guilty in St. Louis today to a federal felony charge.
Bobby Wayne Pyburn, 20, admitted that he and Erich Wayne Higgins, 33, had set up nets and illegally trapped dozens of turtles late last summer in Missouri’s bootheel and sold them to Kenneth Brandon Reese, 26, in Arkansas. All of the men are from Lake City, Ark., the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
What’s the difference?
-Napping tends to refer to either the illegal capture of people or, less formally, pets. However, by applying it to wild animals instead of the more precise term for the crime that already exists, the journalist and writer are elevating the wild turtles to the same legal status as humans or human possessions.
Think I’m making too much of this? Well, try this analogy on for size. Poaching:-Napping::Hunting::Murdering.
In both cases, the gerund for an act involving wildlife is replaced with a legal term dealing with crimes against men to elevate your outrage at the lesser charge by making it sound like violence against man.
Orwell would be proud.