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March 2017

Stellar Facts Contradicting Stellar Facts on Senate Bill 11

Dear Dallas Morning News,

In the editorial by Dennis McCuistion supporting the campus carry law, he states, “The data says guns on campus will make us safer.”  McCuistion incorporates true but unrelated statistics about deaths due to gun violence and Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders. He also tries to support his claims with “educated opinions” which isn’t evidence and can be dismissed as irrelevant.

I not only disapprove of Senate Bill 11, but also disagree with his argument for it is lacking foundation. Yes, the CDC reports 33,878 deaths resulted from firearms in 2013 and yes more were suicides rather than firearm-related homicides, however McCuistion fails to mention what correlation that has to gun laws and restrictions which was mentioned in the previous paragraph. In his editorial there is also an emphasis that CHL holders are less likely to be involved in criminal activities, however in most cases “safer” CHL holders are not the ones to be worried about; even without a CHL there are other ways to obtain handguns. The mentioned, “educated opinions” that support the open carry law are not opinions that are directly affected by the issue.

McCuistion is very proud of his fact checking of Mr. Crisp’s sources from his editorial about negating Senate Bill 11 and it is much appreciated. McCuistion even points out that Mr. Crisp’s argument leads readers to believe that more gun laws and restrictions are the answer based onMr. Crisp’s citing of the National Journal. This is completely true based on the correlation between restriction and gun violence that was back up with evidence.  McCuistion’s next paragraph highlighting his stellar facts leads us to believe that the number of majority of deaths of firearms didn’t even come from firearm-related homicides but suicides. People killing other people with guns doesn’t really seem as bad when more people are killing themselves with guns, right? Some might say yes, but just because the CDC reports more deaths by guns were from suicides than homicides doesn’t contradict the fact more gun laws showed less gun violence. To put it simply, more gun restrictions leads to less people killing other people. Let me be clear: it is tragic to see that more take their own lives with firearms, but that doesn’t change the amount of those that are being killed by firearms, nor does that lessen the truthfulness of the National Journal article.

In addition, McCuistion talks about how in 2013, there were 50,869 convictions; 158(.31%) were CHL holders. He then makes the quick assumption that the ones doing criminal activities do not hold Concealed Handgun Licenses. Again, his statistics are spot on but do he really think that just because only CHL holders are allowed with guns on campus, it’ll stop potential non-licensed shooters from coming onto the college campus? Much less stop them from opening fire? 99.69% of convictions in 2013 did not have CHLs. That’s a much larger portion of people committing crimes with guns and without CHLs. This evidence could prove CHL holders commit less crimes but it also suggests that the majority of people, the people college students should worry about committing crimes don’t have CHL’s; now that handguns can be carried it makes those 99.69% of people less identifiable. Is the armed person sitting next to you a licensed student or a possible shooter? Should we ask?

Although McCuistion admits the responses he gathered from PoliceOne as being nothing more than just opinions and not evidence that concealed carry laws are beneficial, it seems almost absurd for individuals to even consider them when it comes from those that are not affected daily. Have you ever looked at how actual Texas college students feel about it? Take The University of Texas for example, according to an article by the Austin AmericanStatesman, UT students showed their opposition to the bill. Their protest formed from their saying, “Cocks Not Glocks.” Their reason for this was expressed through their facebook page stating how the state of Texas doesn’t have rules about bringing guns to class but does have strict rules about sexual expression. This reasoning was followed by the statement,“You would receive a citation for taking a DILDO to class before you would get in trouble for taking a gun to class. Heaven forbid the penis.” Opposition from UT students doesn’t just show their blunt disapproved of the campus carry law but it also shows the injustice they feel that’s going on because of foolish safety priorities being enforced throughout college campuses.

Although only CHL holders are allowed on campus and those licensed individuals make up .31% of convictions in Texas, does having a CHL really make you qualified to carry a gun around? I’d like to think getting a CHL is a rigorous process that tests a range of abilities of the individuals wanting to be able to carry around a deadly weapon around their waist. When “How to get a CHL license in Texas?” is searched online (which I’d guess is what most who want to obtain a CHL do) the first thing that comes up on the screen is, “4 EASY STEPS TO GET YOUR TEXAS LTC (FORMALLY KNOWN AS THE TEXAS CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSE CHL BEFORE 1/1/16)”. This quote belongs to Spartan Defense who offers defense classes, Licence to Carry (LTC)and other opportunities regarding firearms and self-defense. Organizations like these are helpful but it does highlight the simplicity that comes into obtaining a license. This may be useful for those getting the license but what about those who aren’t? If it’s that easy anyone could do it. For example, Leif Reigstad from the Houston Press wrote an article titled, “Why Was It So Easy for Me to Get a Concealed Handgun License?” In this article, he expresses how he shot a gun, ten rounds, for the first time and the next time he shot a gun was during the shooting test for his LTC, which he passed. As long as someone meets certain Texas requirements, they are able to have an LTC which allows them to purchase firearms as well. Legally purchasing a firearm isn’t the only way to get one. Many can be obtained illegally or taken from family members, friends or anyone who actually has one.

McCuistion’s statistics, facts and resources can be true and reliable but uncorrelated is unacceptable. The reason his argument is failing is because his facts don’t support what he’s trying to say. Individually they may be true, but within the editorial they make no sense and thus hold no foundation or support. McCuistion’s evidence is easily dismantled because there is much more support when one has correlating facts and evidence to the argument.

I cannot tell Dennis McCuistion or anyone like him to change his mind or suggest that he reconsiders his whole way of life, however I do recommend that people listen to those who are the opposite of them. Reading letters like mine is a good start, however researching on your own and actually analyzing why those opposite others are so opposed to this bill might not change someone’s mind but it might help an individual, like McCuistion to understand why their evidence and claims are a bit lacking. The goal doesn’t have to be to change people’s mind but instead help them understand your side and enable them to keep it in their pocket when learning about other opinions. One person cannot write from just one end of the political or social spectrum; you must walk down both ends and then use that direct evidence to support your writing. Relevance and reliability are two different things, but you need them both to comprehend and perhaps change people’s views.

 

Sincerely,

Maggie Saucedo


 

4 EASY STEPS TO GET YOU TEXAS LTC (FORMALLY KNOWN AS THE TEXAS CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSE CHL BEFORE 1/1/16). (n.d.). Retrieved from Spartan Defense website: http://www.spartandefense.com/?chl=classes&tag=license-information-3-easy-steps

Phillips, D. (n.d.). Voices From Texas on Campus Carry [Newsgroup post]. Retrieved from New York Times website: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/26/us/28concealed-listy.html

Reigstad, L. (n.d.). Why Was It So Easy for Me to Get a Concealed Handgun License? [Newsgroup post]. Retrieved from Houston Press website: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/why-was-it-so-easy-for-me-to-get-a-concealed-handgun-license-8045919

Wilson, M. (n.d.). UT students use sex toys to protest campus carry law [Newsgroup post]. Retrieved from Austin American Statesman website: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/students-use-sex-toys-protest-campus-carry-law/48cIn8dCyJZpGl3rkMsSTJ/

Persuasive Evil

Governor George C. Wallace delivered his inaugural address in 1962 in Montgomery Alabama. Throughout his speech, he conveys to his audience that Southerners such as themselves are superior to people of color and always will be. Not only does he preach the inferiority of colored people, he also condemns those who believe the opposite. He forces them into an imaginary box labeled as evil, a synonym he uses for liberals and communists. Analyzing pages 9-12 of his speech he effectively uses past Southern’s authority as ethos, broad but solid facts as logos and emotional assertions for pathos. This further drives his argument by leading his listeners to unconsciously recognize the path of segregation and white supremacy as the ultimate good and other options as the ultimate evil.

Although weak in reliable facts that include actual numbers, Wallace uses general claims that effectively support his message. On page 10 he says, “…there are not enough native communists in the South to fill up a telephone booth… and THAT is a matter of public FBI record.” When he claims such little population of native communities in the South he already gives his audience the thought that his message is not just favorable in Alabama but a driving force in all southern states. This majority favored attitude also leads to a logical reason of, how could something so many people believe so strongly in be wrong? And because his audience all have “the south” in common they couldn’t question the values held so strongly by those who are just like them. Emphasizing that the lack of communist forces is apparent though ‘FBI records,’ highlights how Wallace is able to give evidence that his so creditable a government organization is able to create statistics about and release them for the whole country to see, further building confidence among his audience.

Although proving his authority early on in the speech he further glorifies himself by using the label of being a southerner. This leads to the audience having faith in him because of those in the past like him but also having faith in themselves and in turn exalting him because he is like his audience and proved that to them. On page 11 Wallace declares, “We remind all within hearing of this Southland that a Southerner, Peyton Randolph, presided over the Continental Congress in our nation’s beginning… that a Southerner, Thomas Jefferson, wrote the Declaration of Independence, that a Southerner, George Washington, is the Father of our Country… that a Southerner, James Madison, authorised our Constitution, that a Southerner, George Mason, authored the Bill of Rights and it was a Southerner who said, ‘Give me liberty or give me death,’ Patrick Henry.” Here he mentions six southerners who have, what he says, “played a most magnificent part in erecting this great divinely inspired system of freedom…” This elicits an almost forced feeling of southern superiority. Wallace puts into the audience’s head the question of, if all of these southerners did these magnificent things to shape the country and its future, how could they not be superior? And how could Wallace, who is so much like them, not be just as remarkable? Wallace puts himself on a podium with all of the other great southerners before him and in unison, they articulate Wallace’s message of segregation and white Christian superiority. This image is put into this audience’s mind thus giving him authority along with his message.

Emotional connection with the audience is consistent throughout Wallace’s speech. There is southern pride, Christian pride, and the pride of being the superior race, however, there is also defense. When an individual or group feels threatened they make it known that who they are and what they believe in cannot be shaken nor discouraged. Wallace displays this unshakable emotion on page 9 when he says, “But we warn those, of any group, who would follow the false doctrine of communistic amalgamation that we will not surrender our system of government… our freedom of race and religion for that freedom was won as a hard price, and if it requires a hard prices to keep it… we are able… and quite willing to pay it.” He doesn’t point out that he as an individual is warning others, but specifically used the word ‘we’ to make a connection with the audience that makes them feel part of this unshakable faith and pride that he’s describing. Wallace uses the word ‘surrender’ as well. Surrender is a big tone word that is defined as cease resistance to an enemy. To say he and those like him will NOT surrender creates a persuasive and inclusive defiance tone indicated by words that relate to surrender like ‘enemy’. The word enemy always has a negative connotation; for Wallace to be inclusive and say that they will resist to their common enemy is a really powerful motivator for his audience to agree with him. Lastly, he says how willing and able they are to fight for their hard earned freedom. This connects to the resistance of the enemy because only will they will oppose but also rise up and challenge anyone of any kind standing in their way. Wallace consistently uses emotional elements as well as inclusive components to create an emotional appeal and even emotional unity throughout his audience.

As a whole, Governor Wallace delivered a speech that was structurally fluent and as well perfectly supported by key rhetorical devices. He immediately and consistently uses emotional appeal, broad factual statements and southern jurisdiction to accomplish an overall feeling of agreements throughout his audience. Although slightly cynical, intolerant and prejudiced he successfully conveyed to his audience his message that white Southerners such as themselves are superior to people of color and always will be, denouncing anyone who believes otherwise.

 

Kipling, Rudyard. The White Man’s Burden: The United States & The Philippine Islands, 1899. Rudyard Kipling’s Verse: Definitive ed., Garden City, New York, Doubleday, 1929.

Wallace, George C. “The Inaugural Address of Governor George C Wallace.” Montgomery, Alabama, 14 Jan. 1963. Address.

Newman, John J., and John M. Schmalbach. United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination. 3rd ed., New York, Amsco School Publications, 2014.

 

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