Wednesday, January 27, 2016

18th Century Guns ≠ 21st Century Guns

War is one of man’s earliest creations, and war has evolved throughout the history of our world.  Around the 13th century, war evolved to include cannons, and not much later to include guns as well.  By the time the United States were established in the late 1700s, flintlock pistols and rifles were common firearms used by armies.  It was at this time when the second amendment to the United States constitution was passed that gave Americans the right to bear arms.  This amendment put instruments of war into the hands of the American people, but after all, those weapons were only simple muskets and small pistols that took a minute to load each bullet.  Now, in the 21st century, this amendment allows for Americans to own weapons that can shoot 400 bullets per minute.
Over the past few years, the sides of the gun control debate have become clear.  One side believes that as Americans, we have a right to own any and all firearms that we choose to own.  While the other side believes that guns continually lead to tragedies and that they need to be heavily controlled by the government.  When I look at this debate, the staggering statistics fully convince me that guns cause great amounts of death and fear in the United States.  But aside from the statistics, I cannot imagine that 200 years ago our forefathers knew how much guns would evolve by the year 2016.  Surely they did not foresee that gun violence would become such a scar on America’s history.  But many Americans have gotten so entrenched with guns that it would be almost impossible to take them away now, so a compromise is the only solution.  
I believe that the only compromise that would work in the long-run is to restrict Americans to only own hunting rifles and handguns.  Fully automatic rifles are in no way necessary for Americans to guard their households, and should only be used by the United States Armed Forces.  Along with those restrictions, many stages of gun safety classes and tests must be passed for any adult to own a firearm.  If we let anybody get their hands on a gun with no training and no background check then the tragedies that we are now used to seeing will just keep coming.  One thing to remember: guns have been and will forever be deadly and effective instruments of war.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Are Guns the Enemy?

Gun ownership is a sport for some. Concealed carry allows them to feel safe and target shooting serves as a fun hobby. Taking away guns would be stealing a way of life from these people. However, those who own guns turn a blind eye to the numbers of people that die in the United States due to gun violence.

I've heard many people defend their artillery with the statistic that the U.S is far behind a lot of countries in terms of gun violence. However, in terms of developed countries, the U.S is in the #1 spot by a ridiculous margin. People who own guns are vapid dissenters to the gun control movement because it disrupts their daily life. Kids dying in urban concrete jungles might not be in their backyard, but getting rid of guns is. Gun owners represent an overbearing majority that cannot be overpowered until the number of Americans with guns drops. It has been steadily dropping over the past 10 years, so strict gun control and possibly, far in the future, the repeal of the second amendment, could happen. Until then all Gun control enthusiasts can do is compromise.

Mass Shootings Have One Thing in Common: And It's Not Guns

Despite the 22 international drug regulatory warnings on psychiatric drugs noted to cause side effects of "mania, hostility, violence, and even homicidal thoughts", there has yet to be a movement in America connecting gun violence to the use of psychiatric drugs. These symptoms are often overlooked when it comes to investigating the perpetrators of gun violence and mass shootings. At least 35 school shootings or acts of violence have been committed by those taking or withdrawing from prescription psychiatric drugs. Overwhelming evidence correlates the use of psychiatric guns to cases of gun violence, especially by minors.

The extensive amount of cases correlating school shootings to the use of strong psychiatric drugs is not a new phenomenon. For the last 20 years, nearly every mass shooting has had this one element in common. In 2007 a Finnish teenage taking antidepressants was responsible for a school shooting in which 12 students were killed. In 2008 a teenager prescribed Lexapro and Geodon shot 3 police officers and then ended his own life. In 2014, a man responsible for a mass shooting was taking the anti-anxiety drug, Hydroxyzine. Chances are, many of the most publicized and recent acts of mass violence also have one common factor - the use of prescription psychiatric drugs.

Although it might not lead us directly to all causes of gun violence, we must learn to ask the right questions regarding the correlation between the prescribed psychiatric drugs and the ever increasing epidemic of gun violence.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Gun Violence: Can It Be Stopped?

Gun violence is a very prevalent threat in today's societies. Mass shootings are occurring at an alarmingly high rate, and it's sparking very heated debates on what to do with the weapons themselves. Some will say that getting rid of civilians' access to guns is the only way to go, while those on the other end of the spectrum say that gun laws should be more lenient. Both of these types of people, however, often overlook or avoid looking at a piece of information that could change the course of these types of debates and provide a solution-- that gun violence CAN'T be stopped.
I believe that, as long as people with the intent to commit these horrendous crimes exist, there isn't a way to stop them. However, I do believe that there is a way to lessen the toll that these types of tragedies have on the U.S. By increasing the restrictions on military-grade weapons, such as rifles, while allowing more concealed carry licenses to be issued, I believe that we can decrease the amount of casualties that occur during shootings. An argument that some will use to argue for this is that if someone is thinking of going into a theatre and shooting as many people as possible, they'll consider that people in that theatre will be carrying some sort of firearm. In some cases, this could be true. However, research shows that most people who commit these crimes have mental illnesses that affect their ability to reason. This means that the majority of times that someone wanted to shoot up a theatre, they wouldn't have the capability to consider that people inside are carrying weapons. This, sadly, means that there is no surefire way to completely stop these types of crimes-- we can only lessen the casualties and detrimental impacts that they cause.

The Cycle of Abuse: Gun Violence

In America today, we have all heard something about the need to control gun violence. In Chicago especially, there was an entire "put the guns down" movement. While gun violence is sky rocketing and people are getting killed left and right, we also have to realize that some of the mistreatment of weapons is coming from our "trained" officers. How are we supposed to expect civilians, that acquire weapons illegally and have no proper training to use reasoning when our law enforcement seems to have no restraint.

The example set for the average person is to solve others disobedience with violence and excessive shooting. You cannot possibly preach the need to control gun violence, when the people put into position to serve and protect you are also mistreating the use of their weapons with no consequence whatsoever.  There needs to be a complete change on both side of the tracks.

An Epidemic of Gun Violence

The epidemic of gun violence that has spread in America is one that must be put to a stop. The frequent appearance of some act of gun violence in the news has created a culture in which Americans are not surprised by these acts of violence. American culture has also become filled with violent movie, television shows, and video games that have further desensitized its viewers. Gun violence is a serious problem in America and has killed so many people but the access to guns remains the same. Wide spread access to guns and the use of them by the wrong people are what has made gun violence increase in America. 

The solution to ending the epidemic of violence is to limit who is able to get a gun in America. Tougher laws should be put in place to prevent dangerous people from obtaining a gun. Screenings and background checks on those who want to obtain a gun would help decrease the number or guns falling into the wrong hands. Some may view these screenings and background checks as invasions of privacy but that would be a small price to pay if it meant preventing someone else from being a victim of gun violence in America. While these laws may make the process of obtaining a gun take longer because of the increased vigilance on whom the gun is being given to, it will help prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. While increased vigilance and tougher laws are not ways to completely end gun violence, they are stepping stones that will help end the epidemic of gun violence in America.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Gun Violence

As time goes on, more and more reports of gun-related deaths are brought to the attention of the public. Each scenario is different in its own way, yet they are all in common in the sense that at least one human death was taken from a metal bullet. Society continues to contemplate the way in which we should go about fixing this horrible dilemma that seems to reoccur far too many times. Some people debate that the source of the problem is merely the person, that people kill people, and guns are blamed for the actions of those people. Others take the approach that the killing is done by the object itself. 

I believe that while people may, and most definitely are at times, be the reason that a person is killed in a gun-related incident, there are times in which a misfire occurs or a trigger is accidentally pulled. While these events many only happen in rare circumstances, innocent lives are still at stake. It is undeniable that lives would be saved at times like those if guns were not in the picture. Even for the instances that the killing was not accidental, it is hard to argue that if a life-threatening weapon was not present at the scene of the crime, less casualties would not occur. 

There are many circumstances in which guns are not only seen as objects of evil. When it comes to police enforcement and other forms of protection that our government supplies, weapons such as guns could be seen as necessary. It is important that police and law enforcers have a way to defend both themselves and the people that they have vowed to serve. This reason relates back to the initial cause for having a ¨right to bear arms¨ written in our Constitution. Protection is very important. 

Many new video games and other sources of entertainment now promote violence, specifically gun use. Installing comfort with using guns, even if it is only on a screen, into the younger generations sets our society up for a vicious future. In order to help prevent this, making it harder to purchase guns would be essential. The only way stop the madness that we continually witness with gun violence is by taking the device that allows murder to happen away from those who are not mentally stable or are clearly not trained in using it. 

Put the Guns Down

Chicago is a beautiful and busy city. There is much to do and see in the city of Chicago. People are usually attracted to the food and the beautiful architecture. There are many positive upsides to this beautiful city but, the gun violence overlooks all of those upsides. Gun violence has been a major problem in Chicago for many years. Year after year, the violence in the streets of Chicago only seem to get worse.

There are too many illegal guns in the streets of Chicago. Majority of the guns used to commit these crimes are not registered. If gun laws were enforced, the percentage of murders and shootings in Chicago will most likely decrease. If guns become harder to retrieve, the amount of crimes committed with them will decrease. Because of the easy access to guns, they fall into the wrong hands. There have been multiple incidents where children of young ages have found guns in their households. Some of these children play with guns as if they were toys and have been killed because of the carelessness of some gun owners.

In order to fix America, people must begin with their own communities. If they do not try to better their surroundings first, they will make no progress with America. Gun control must be enforced in America. If this streak of gun violence continues, there will be no hope of bettering our environments.

Using Guns to Stop Guns: The Endless Cycle of Killing in America

America is often thought of as one of the most advanced, powerful nations in the world. It is alarming, then, that America also has the highest rates of mass violence among developed countries. While many people are perplexed by these statistics, the cause of the frequency of these deaths is quite clear; killers are all but given weapons of mass destruction.

Many people in America are reluctant to acknowledge the easiness of obtaining a gun due to the Constitution. "The right to bear arms" has existed as long as the United States has existed, and most Americans cannot fathom the idea of giving up this right, even if it would ensure the safety of countless citizens. The average citizen is hell-bent on retaining these rights, and will stop at nothing to make sure they are secured. It is not until they are immediately affected by a result of gun violence that they begin to see the impact guns can have on everyday life. Unfortunately, by that time, it is too late to fix the problem.


In order to solve the problem of gun violence in the US, actions must be taken to prohibit gun use at a national level. While it may be next to impossible to have the Constitution amended, there are steps that can be taken in the meantime in order to move in the right direction. Stricter laws on who can buy guns, along with who can sell them will improve the rates of violence. Ideally, the purchase and sale of guns would be illegal in the US, although this will be extremely hard to see in the near future. With time, however, there can be an America in which there is next to no mass violence, as long as there is a fundamental change in the way guns are viewed in America.

Cruzin' Towards a Rhetorical Bruisin'

Donald Trump has recently revived the birther debate by calling into question Sen. Ted Cruz's citizenship in the United States, citing his birth in the American Embassy in Canada as reason for suspicion. For Trump this is old ground, as he did almost the exact same thing last presidential election with President Barack Obama. By questioning Cruz's place of birth, Trump plays on his audience's pathos and instills fear of a nominee who might not have his constituents best interests in mind- if he's able to become president at all.

Trump plays on Republicans' fear of losing to the Democratic Party's candidate by introducing the idea that, once chosen as the Republican candidate, Cruz won't be able to be president at all. If Cruz is in fact not an American citizen (he undoubtably is an American citizen, but that doesn't seem to matter to Trump) he could conceivably be chosen as the Republican party's candidate and then be forced out of the election, handing it to the Democratic party's nominee. For those who would do anything to stop the Democrats from getting yet another term in office, this alone may be enough to turn them away from what could seem to be a "risky bet"

Trump also cashes on in the xenophobia exhibited by some of the American public. By painting Cruz as an outsider, Trump implies that Cruz is of the "other" and might in fact have ulterior motives that run against what's best for America. Trump provides his home-grown American self as a better option in comparison to the scary, ethnic, possibly Canadian Cruz.

Gun Violence in America

Chicago is know for its striking architecture, signature deep dish pizza, blues music, and colossal homicide rate. Many Chicago neighborhoods are often compared to as a war zone due to the devastating murders that occur everyday from gun violence. West Garfield Park has a homicide rate of 116.7 per capita, compared to the murder rate of 90 in Honduras, the murder capital of the world. Chicago has even been given the nickname "Chiraq" because of the bloodshed and innocent deaths that happen everyday, similar to the war in Iraq. The violence in Chicago will never be put to rest unless gun control laws are passed.

Guns are used to kill. If guns control laws are enacted and enforced, then violence will decrease and lives will be saved. If others have access to guns, they are more likely to hurt you or others, than if their access to guns is restricted. Recently, a Loyola University Chicago student was shot and put into critical condition while walking in Rogers Park in Chicago. The student was injured in a random drive-by shooting and was not the intended target. In 2012, a 7-year-old girl was gunned down while selling lemonade outside her house in West Chicago. Incidents like these highlight how problematic guns are. Everyday innocent lives are ended, not because they're affiliated with gangs or other provoking organizations, but simply because they are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Along with a decrease in murder and injuries, mass shootings will become history if there is gun control. America has been plagued with mass shootings in the past few years; it seems like every week there is a new devastating headline. The obvious solution to this epidemic is to ban guns or restrict access to such weapons. Enforcing gun control will create a safer and more secure environment in America.

The United States has the highest gun ownership rate in the world, with 88.8 guns owned per 100 people. The U.S also has the highest firearm-homicide rate, a clear relationship between gun related deaths and gun ownership. Given these statistics, I don't understand why the U.S doesn't enact gun laws immediately. Lives are at risk every day because of ignorant and careless people who misuse their privilege of owning a gun. I think enough is enough, how many more people need to be killed, families torn apart in order for others to realize that guns are the real culprit?

Trump Criticizes Cruz

In Donald Trump’s latest political ad he attacks his fellow candidate Ted Cruz regarding Cruz’s views on immigration. The ad states that Cruz wishes to let undocumented immigrants remain in the United States permanently and to obtain legal status. Trump believes that one of our nation’s biggest problems is undocumented immigrants and he and his followers believe that letting undocumented immigrants stay in the United States hurts the nation and especially hurts the economy. In this advertisement, Trump criticizes Cruz’s views on immigration with the use of visual and auditory rhetorical techniques, that put Trump in a positive and valiant light and put Cruz in a negative and untrustworthy light.

Throughout the advertisement, Trump uses a contrast in music to emphasize that individuals should be worried about Cruz’s views on immigration and should trust Trump. When clips of Cruz appear in the ad, looming and intense music plays. The music has a fast beat, with unexpected symbol crashes and booms, all which make viewers feel uneasy and alert when Cruz is talking. The music ultimately presents Cruz in a negative, panicked light. When Donald Trump appears in the ad towards the end, the music changes from intense and abrupt to more soothing and pleasing music. The music is slower, has subtle trumpet noises, and a very patriotic vibe. The change in music from chaotic to calm when Trump appears, makes Trump look like he has control, and the patriotic undertones in the music as Trump is speaking about his views on immigration make Trump appear to really care about those issues in our country.

Trump uses bold and simple text to get straight to the point when criticizing Cruz’s views on immigration. As video clips of Cruz talking about his beliefs that illegal immigrants should be able to gain citizenship in the United States play on the screen, large text appears next to the clips that say “PRO IMMIGRATION” and “PRO AMNESTY” in all capital letters. These quick blurbs of criticism are simple and to the point, and are easy for all to understand. Donald Trump’s views are against illegal immigration and amnesty and by using text to identify Cruz as supporting these issues, Trump puts Cruz in a bad and untrustworthy light. The text is also surrounded by a dark red color, which makes it identifiable, but also gives the message an easily viewable negative tone. The simplicity of Trump’s criticism makes it easy for viewers to see and comprehend that Cruz is the bad guy in this light.

Trump uses visual and auditory effects to create a simple and comprehensible advertisement against Ted Cruz. With the use of loud, fast music and bold text, Trump makes viewers uneasy and alert when the ad focuses on Cruz. The contrasting positive tone when Trump is shown in the ad is complemented by light patriotic music. The negative and positive contrast between Trump and Cruz is easily identifiable, and shows that Trump believes that Cruz’s views on immigration are ineffective and an overall  threat to our nation.

Trump's Advertisement -

The odd ones out.

Here in America, the second amendment of the Constitution states that we as citizens have a right to bear arms. Now, as Family Guy has once joked, this does not mean that we have a right to have a pair of bear's arms on display within our homes. What it does mean is that we have a right to have a firearm within our possession, presumably for self-defense. Now a large debate within our country (and a hot topic for presidential debates) is what we are to do about our gun laws, as there are some people who decide to use this right for more than self defense. There are people who use it to take over government buildings (Bundy Militia in Oregon), and plenty of mass shootings that take place in the US, which, as you can imagine, is not the intent of the second amendment. Now, the question is what are we going to do about it?

In all honesty, America's officials need to crack down on gun laws and background checks immediately. Guns are useful for a lot of things for a lot of people, hunting, self defense, etc., and they should definitely continue to be used for those things, but for those things only. America needs to put in place more in-depth background checks onto whoever is looking to buy a gun, in order to assure that whoever is buying it is mentally and criminally sound. This is exactly what Australia does, and they haven't gotten a mass shooting since 1996, because their minister completely cracked down on who could buy and sell guns.Why America hasn't taken the hint yet? I'm not entirely sure.

The Three Stooges: Trump, Palin and Pathos

This past week, Trump’s campaign enjoyed exceeding attention with the endorsement of former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. No one need be reminded of Palin’s antics and the phrase most often associated with her: “I can see Russia from my house” and with her endorsement for presidential candidate Donald Trump, she continues to make headlines. Trump and her seem like the perfect duo, and with good reason. While oftentimes they fail to make little sense and/or barely scratch the surface of an important issue, they use an unparalleled appeal to emotion that sways the listeners in their direction.

After a short introduction from Trump, Palin walked onto the stage with the utmost confidence and began her speech with Trump slogan, “Are you ready to make America great again?” followed by loud cheers from the crowd. She then continues to rile up the crowd by expressing her appreciation for hard working Americans, “you hard working Iowa rock and rollers, and holy-rollers, all of you who work so hard, you full time moms, you with the hands that rock the cradle, you all make the world go round, and now our cause is one.” While it may seem like a long list, Palin effectively utilizes pathos by making the listeners feel wholly included in the process of Trump’s campaign.

While Trump stands admiringly in the background, mimicking Palin’s words with sly winks and gestures, Palin continues to talk about what she perceives as holes in America’s foreign policy, especially the recent capture of sailors in Iran. She vehemently condemns the current government for apologizing and then bending over and saying “thank you, enemy. We are ready for a change. We are ready, and our troops deserve the best.” Again, Palin uses an appeal to pathos, using a strong tone and playing on the fears of the listeners when it comes to foreign policy. She continues with this appeal when she boldly shouts, “he is from the private sector, not a politician, can I get a hallelujah?” The crowd then answers her call with a resounding “Hallelujah.” Here, Palin appeals to the listener’s emotion of want of change and discontent with candidates that are from inside Washington.

Her speech reaches its climax, however, when Palin shouts, “Are you ready for a commander in chief who will let our warriors do their jobs and go kick ISIS’ A**?” Followed by a resonating cheer from the audience, Palin again appeals to the fears that many Americans hold. Additionally she appeals to American’s pride. Therefore, while what Palin says may at times sound nonsensical, her messages still reverberate with emotion and continue to capture many of the American people.

America Needs to Crack Down

The Second Amendment to the Constitution, which grants people the right to bear arms, is continually argued in the United States. Some people see guns as a necessity to their security. However, guns are quite threatening to the lives of many Americans, and therefore there should be more preventative measures taken for those who are allowed to possess guns.

More than 30 people are shot and murdered each day, and more than 30,000 people are killed by firearms every year. The only way to significantly reduce this number would be by having stricter background checks for people who wish to purchase guns. For example, almost every state does not require proof of an I.D to purchase a gun. If photo I.D's were required to purchase a gun, it would limit a lot of people from purchasing firearms. People who wish to purchase a gun should have to pass tests and courses before they are allowed to possess guns.

In addition to stricter rules for the people buying guns, there should be stricter rules for the people who are selling guns. People selling guns should be required to have a license that allows them to sell guns, and they should only be rewarded this license after a rigorous course outlining their responsibilities has been taken.
I do agree that some people, especially those who live in rural areas where the closest police station is an hour away, need to possess guns in order to assure their safety. If this is the case, then it seems reasonable for these people to go through the training so that they are able to possess their guns.
Although it would be ideal if guns could be outlawed in the United States, they have been a part of our American culture for such a long time that some people have come to rely heavily on guns to insure their safety. Although this may be the case, mass shootings that take the lives of 26 students and teachers at an elementary school, or shootings that take the lives of a Chicagoan every 2.5 hours should be put to an end. In order to do this, America needs to crack down on its gun policies.

Sen. Sanders Strikes Back

Throughout the many months of Sen. Sanders and Sec. Clinton having divided opinions, this most recent Democratic Debate on Jan 17 was no different. In the very start of the debate, Clinton verbally attacks Sanders for his background with where he stands on gun violence and how she is appreciative he has changed his opinion. In his unprompted response to her attacks, Sanders statistics, multiple rhetorical questions, and specific diction to regain control and to rally support.

Although the moderator seems to have a different question for Sanders, he quickly responds to Clinton's accusations of his platform. Sanders starts off stating, “We have a broken justice system. Who in America is satisfied that we have more people in jail than any other country on Earth including China, disproportionately African American and Latino?” This question is pretty heavy-hearted, it begs the audience to consider the hard fact in which our country has such high incarceration of the minorities. He continues with a statistic, “51% of African American young people are either unemployed or underemployed. Who is satisfied that millions of people have police records for possessing marijuana when the CEOs of Wall St companies destroyed our economy have no police records?” Again his questions with the use of logos, invokes serious consideration in the audience. His words have significant weight in them and truly makes the audience consider and ponder how our system works. Finally, Sanders concludes with the use of words like “we”, “us”, and “our” to signify that it is our duty as citizens to unite to change our justice system. By using these words, he evokes the feeling of being unified and integrated. And that together, the citizens can do something about the injustice. All in all, Sanders knows how to use rhetoric to join the audience for his support.

Sanders' New Approach

Bernie Sanders is one of the prominent contenders for the Democratic Party's nomination of the 2016 presidential election. Sanders gains his support through emphasizing and expanding his skills of rhetorical strategies. In the most recent Democratic debate, Sanders took a more aggressive attitude towards his opponents, Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley, ultimately allowing him to receive the final 'win'(as according to most viewers and internet users) before the first primary election in Iowa. Throughout the debate, Sanders contentiously establishes his ethos and pathos to draw more voters and convince Americans that he is best suited to be the next president of the United States.

In the beginning of the debate, Sanders uses ethos when he forcefully depends his viewpoints on presented issues. When moderator asks Sanders about his controversial split-viewpoint on gun control, Sanders fires back with a clearer point of direction. Sanders expresses that "as a senator from a rural state with virtually no gun control" he is the position to make American feel united about this issue. Sanders explains how he knows from experience that he will succeed in making Americans unified on gun control. Additionally, Sanders also speaks of the time of when he was a congressman in Vermont in 1988. He continually uses vehement words such as "stood up," "came out," and "maintained the position" to establish his trustworthy character towards the audience. Sanders also asserts his views are legitimate, due to his previous experience in such gun legislation. He attacks the issue with background and strong emotion to rigorously establish his views. Ethos prevails as one of the dominant forms of rhetoric Sanders uses to capture his audience. 

Furthermore, Sanders creates strong pathos when expressing his future plans for America.  When discussing his top priorities if elected president, Sanders determines he stands for universal healthcare, increased minimum wage, and more employment opportunities. He frequently asserts phrases such as "I'll bring America together," and "[I'll] have a government that works for all of us!" enthusiastically to convey to his audience that he is active and will respond to the needs of his voters. Sanders pulls emotion from stating powerful words to convince his audience he will make a better America. Additionally, Sanders claims that this campaign is a "political revolution!" Sanders declares such powerful and possibly radical terms in effort to demonstrate his positive and beneficial differences from the other candidates. Conveying such terms allows the supporters to rally behind Sanders and to see him have his motivation for a cause he is passionate about. From these examples, pathos is a eminent element Sanders establishes to win over voters. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Feel The Bern From The Cold, Hard Facts

In the recent Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders butted heads over a variety of topics. All politicians have special techniques they use to sway the voters their way. In particular Bernie Sanders love sticking to the cold hard facts. Bernie Sanders employs logos to show voters how he will improve America and convince them to vote for him.           

Bernie Sanders uses key facts to show voters how his policies will positively impact them. Last Sunday at the Democratic debate, Sanders and Clinton argued over health care. Sanders said, “29 million people still don’t have health care.” This kind of information is used to shock listeners. Sanders followed up this astonishing fact by saying he will “lower health care by 5,000 dollars for middle class families.” A majority of voters are part of the middle class. Hearing that Sanders can save them 5,000 dollars on health care grabs their attention and encourages them to vote for him. While Sanders tells voters he can save them money, he also reminds them that they are spending far more money than other countries when it comes to healthcare. Sanders says, “Tell me why we are spending almost three times more than the British, who guarantee health care to all of their people, 50% more than the French, [50%] more than the Canadians.” Sanders intends to bring the cost of healthcare down for middle class families. By showing how much cheaper health care is in other countries, Sanders hopes to show voters that he can close that gap and bring the United States to the same level as these other countries. Throughout the entire campaign, Sanders has been very logos centered and has used facts to support his arguments and appeal to the American voters. 

How do we Solve Gun Violence?

Data shows that 32% of Americans either own a gun or live with someone who does. "Everytown" research shows that 133 mass shootings have taken place between January of 2009 and July of 2015. In majority of these mass shootings was the gun purchased legally by the shooter. And in a crime study highlighted by the "Washington Examiner", it was exposed that in most mass shootings a handgun was used instead of an assault weapon.

Given the facts provided above, guns should be banned across the nation. However, even with repealing gun laws people would still find a way to obtain them. Getting rid of guns will not prevent mass shootings, even though we would like to believe that it would. Increasing the difficulty of a person's ability to receive a gun license will not do much either (considering there are many gun owners who lack a license). While some people may defend owning a gun for the purpose of protection, hunting, etc., none of the purposes for ownership take away from the fact that the owners are fully capable of using guns harmfully.

While a hunter may be prone to use a shotgun and a person who desires security may be prone to use a handgun, no one should be eligible to own an automatic gun. Don't get me wrong, guns are guns. But for what reason would someone need a machine gun. In my opinion, only the military should carry (automatic) guns. It bothers me that people are proud to be gun owners. When hearing the word gun my mind simultaneously thinks of the word kill. The two are nearly synonymous to me. Re-referencing my disgust in a gun owners pride, I do not believe that most gun owners would be proud to be called killers.

I do not know how America should solve the issue of gun violence. Even in formally and lawfully solving the issue, we are uncertain if that will somewhat stop the violence. Yet, I do believe that we should still start somewhere because that is really all that we can do. Maybe the answer to the problem is traced further back beyond the marketing system.

Nothing Says Trustworthy Candidate Like Ambushing Children

Republican presidential candidate and former CEO Carly Fiorina seems to have found a new low regarding political campaigning. Fiorina was giving an anti-abortion speech in the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, which, somewhat ironically, happened to be on the same day as a preschool field trip. At this point, any sane person would do nothing. Instead, Fiorina's campaign put them onstage and used these preschoolers as makeshift props for her anti-abortion rally- without their parents' permission.

I don't even know how to explain how wrong this is. According to one source, Fiorina bumped into the children and parents at the fish pond, and then led them all to her rally, where her campaign unexpectedly brought them onstage and sat them in front of a picture of a fetus. It's somewhat inconceivable how many issues this brings up- first and foremost, the issue of taking children without their guardian's permission and putting them onstage in front of strangers is completely wrong. But then, to use them to campaign against abortion? That is not only disgusting, but highly manipulative.

What Fiorina is trying to do is plant the idea in the audience's- and possibly the children's- mind that to abort a fetus is as bad as killing one of these children. Aside from any stance on abortion, this comparison is completely asinine. Having four full years of experience and care creates a massive difference between these children and a fetus. This is, however, not such a new tactic among anti-abortion politicians. Frequently they will use advertisements showing babies, or even toddlers, to try and force the audience to sympathize. They know that fetuses do not look cute, so they make false comparisons to justify their actions.

This is not about abortion. This is about an abhorrent attempt to hijack an audience's emotions using unsuspecting children. There is no good way to paint this, Ms. Fiorina, and frankly no good excuse you can give to those parents. Maybe next time you want to tug at parents' heartstrings you can steal their baby right from its crib.


Striking a Balance Between Order and Liberty

The Second Amendment of the constitution states, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." This amendment was first ratified in December of 1791 and serves as one of the most controversial amendments included in the Bill of Rights.

While some American citizens find gun control to be an infringement upon their liberty, gun control is needed to keep order in our country. Living a mere distance from the murder capital of America, crime is something that unfortunately happens everyday. This January, there have been a total of 203 shots in Chicago alone. These numbers are unacceptable. The lives of people are being put at risk everyday due to different opinions over the second amendment. Although citizens should have the right to bear arms when necessary, our country could take preventative measure to balance liberty and order here.

Tighter gun our background check system is one preventative measure to take. This will ensure no repeated, violent offenders get the holdings of a dangerous weapon. Strengthening gun eligibility can also help. For example, requiring a photo ID to those who have guns, requiring those who seek to own a gun to go through safety courses and pass tests, and requiring a mandatory safety child locks. Another preventative measure that can be taken is strengthening the sentence put on gun crime offenders. These actions alone can help to prevent more lives from being taken.

It would be unreasonable to have no gun control laws at all. The world would be chaotic if you could go around shooting people without punishment. On the other hand, it would be unfair to not allow Americans one of their given rights as citizens. So, just how free can we let the the "land of the free'" be free? By allowing citizens the right to bear arms so long as they are doing so responsibly and undergo the right training, we can hopefully find a balance between order and liberty.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Master of Rhetoric

Hillary Clinton is perhaps the best candidate for analyzing rhetorical strategies. Her long resume has helped her to master ethos; she always ameliorates any accusation of bad politics. In the Democratic debate on January 17th, Clinton showed these political skills off in front of her opponents. Clinton used Martin Luther King’s legacy to her advantage, appealed to pathos, and effectively attacked the reliability of her biggest adversary all within the first fifteen minutes of the debate.

As the candidate with the largest voting base of black and Hispanic voters, she used the continuation of Martin Luther King’s campaign for justice as a reason for her presidency. Clinton asserted that, “[King’s] moral clarity, that message he conveyed that evening really stayed with me and helped to set me on a path of service. I also remember that he spent the last day of his life in Memphis, fighting for dignity and higher pay for working people. And that is our fight still.” All of the candidates mentioned Martin Luther King in their opening remarks during the debate, but Clinton made an implicit statement about continuing King’s fight for equality in the United States. This resonating argument simultaneously boosted her ethos and appealed to pathos; she is saying that she is the only president that can and will continue the fight for working people.

Additionally, Clinton discredited her opponent during the discussion of gun control. She stated, “I have made it clear based on Senator Sanders’ own record that he has voted with the NRA, with the gun lobby numerous times.” Subsequently, she listed specific examples of the event which provided substance for her claim. This rhetorical strategy bolsters her own image by creating an appearance of a more reliable, credible candidate. Later in her response to the gun control issue, she specifically appealed to pathos using a local example of armed violence. The Charleston shooting served as a way to connect with the sentiments of the crowd and show that she, personally, will try to prevent these shootings in the future.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Democratic debate

It seems that in these democratic debates, people and the commentators often get side tracked with personal or campaign problems. It is important to figure out Hillary Clinton's e-mail scandal, simply because that has to do with integrity. She has been trying to sweep it under the rug her whole campaign. She immediately lost my vote when she did not come straight out with the whole true. Reasons being, I can't trust her. The way Bernie Sanders dealt with the problem of leaked information was perfect. He was very honest with everyone and acted swiftly to cut the problem out of his campaign and come to a resolution. He informed everyone that information on Hillary's campaign was found on their computers and he had it deleted. He found that information again, but this time someone who worked for him look at it. He then proceeded to fire that person and delete the information. He didn't stop there. He is currently running a private investigation to find out if anyone else on his staff has seen the information and if they have they will be fired.  They then get very fired up about gun control. Governor O'Malley managed to insult everyone on the stage and everyone other presidential candidate while saying that we need massive gun control.  I don't understand why there is so much stress about gun control. It really isn't that hard. Just have very strict policies on who can obtain a gun and ban all automatic guns. Automatic guns are used by the military to kill quickly and efficiently, that kind of gun power is not needed by a civilian. That is not used for self-defense. This is one of the arguments that is used and I completely agree with it. Then comes the time for everyone on stage to attack the stupid republicans. I myself am more republican, so I disagree with most of what they say. Then the Trump is brought up. I proceed to kick my feet up and enjoy watching them burn a man who may be very wealthy and hilarious, but has no idea how to run a country. I always laugh when ever democrats bring up the name of Trump, but they somehow always attach his name and how he acts to all of the republican candidates. Just because a moron who happens to be republican runs for president, does not mean every republican is a moron. However, it is very sad that he is still winning and quite frightening.