All posts by Jonathan Giles

Fallacies and Poster

Part 1

1. Hasty Generalization; “Governments commonly dislike the idea of firearms in the hands of their citizenry.” While this might be true, I need some supporting evidence.

2. Circular reasoning. “An armed citizen can deal with a criminal from an equal or better position. It’s difficult to kill . . . an armed person.” This doesn’t actually make an argument, it just makes the same claim twice.

Part 2
In the left panel, I’ll put basic gun crime information, blown up so it can be seen easily, and photographs of some of the important people involved in the push for handgun bans.

The right panel will contain the information about my case studies (Chicago and DC)

The center panel will contain data from the Lott & Mustard study, contrasted with the Sloan study.

Presentation Post-Mortem

The first thing brought to my attention while putting together my presentation was that “gun control” was an unacceptably wide, vague topic. I simply couldn’t fit enough information into twelve pages to do it justice, let alone nine PowerPoint slides. That was what led me to narrow my focus to two particular cities, and that may yet be narrowed further.

The post-presentation questions reminded me to look at specific pieces of legislation, so as to draw a precise timeline of gun control law and crime. Putting together a chronology will help me establish whether crime increases follow anti-gun legislation or vice versa, and how closely gun control and crime rates are related.

Research Journal

Dizard, Jan E., Robert M. Muth, and Stephen P. Andrews. Guns in America: a Reader. New York: New York UP, 1999. Print.
Haerens, Margaret. Gun Violence: Opposing Viewpoints. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven, 2006. Print.
Kellermann, Arthur L., and Donald T. Reay. “Protection or Peril? An Analysis of Firearm-Related Deaths in the Home.” The Gun Control Debate: You Decide. By Lee Nisbet. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1990. Print.
LaPierre, Wayne R., and James Jay. Baker. Shooting Straight: Telling the Truth about Guns in America. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Pub., 2002. Print.
Tonso, William R. “Social Problems and Sagecraft; Gun Control as a Case in Point.” The Gun Control Debate: You Decide. By Lee Nisbet. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1990. 35-53. Print.
Based on a quick overview of these sources, I think “Protection or Peril?” will be the most valuable. This article consists of presentation and analysis of numerical statistics related to gunshot deaths in the home. Skimming through the article, it seemed more factually-based than many gun control arguments I have seen presented in the past, and also seemed less biased than some other prominent sources (for instance, Shooting Straight is useful only as a presentation of one side of the argument, since it’s author is the president of the NRA).

Research Journal #4; Research Question

The subject I’m interested in researching is gun control; first, the legal and ethical justifications for laws restricting ownership of firearms, and second, the effectiveness of such laws in reducing the rate of violent crime. I want to research this because gun control has been an important and controversial topic for many years, and one that may impact me personally in the future. The topic is important because implementing the correct conclusion could well have an effect on crime rates, which would have a huge effect on the lives of many people.

While there is no widespread consensus in the gun control debate, two common assertions are that gun control is Constitutionally supported, and lowers the rate of violent crime; fewer guns = fewer shootings. My assertion is that gun control is Constitutionally prohibited by the Second Amendment, and in addition fails to accomplish it’s stated purpose; gun control laws do not take weapons out of the hands of criminals, and may in fact LESSEN the ability of honest citizens to protect themselves.

To My Old Master

I examined a letter of Douglass’s which he had printed in a newspaper (the North Star), titled “To My Old Master”. The letter was written to Douglass’s former master,  Thomas Auld.

The letter was written September 3rd, 1848, ten years after Douglass escaped to freedom. It is twelve pages long. The first page and a half is Douglass’s explanation of why he wrote and published the letter in such a public manner; he indirectly accuses Mr. Auld of committing theft and murder by holding slaves. Several pages are then devoted to Douglass informing his former master about his life since his escape from slavery, and he ends with an appeal for Mr. Auld to send his old grandmother north, and let him know how his sisters are doing.

One interesting thing about this letter is that, while Douglass is frankly insulting, he apparently does expect Mr. Auld to comply with his demands. he calls Mr. Auld a thief and a murderer, refers to his “wickedness and cruelty”, and calls his actions “an outrage upon the soul”. Despite this, he still appears to expect Mr. Auld to send him news of his family, for no other reason than that Douglass asked him.

Was this attitude common at the time? Was there a general expectation that one would accommodate someone who insulted you in this way? Perhaps Douglass was actually trying to make it easier for Mr. Auld to accede to his demands; Auld would certainly look the bigger man if he agreed.