Campus Carry Rebuttal

To Dallas Morning News

Dennis McCuistion said in his article on Dallas Morning News that the campus carry law will make students and staff safer, citing the opinions of police officers and statistics about death by guns. Another argument he makes is that the idea of “good guys” carrying guns will scare the “bad guys” into not taking the chance to shoot people.

I disagree wholly that guns make anyone safer. It is true that “guns don’t kill, people do,” but guns definitely make it easier. A campus is much safer with absolutely no guns on it than a campus that relies on students to patrol potentially dangerous students carrying guns, always in anticipation for something bad to happen.

First of all, McCuistion claimed that guns would make people feel safer with the idea that there are licensed students on campus that  have guns to protect them. I am almost a college student and I know what makes me feel safe and what makes me feel unsafe: guns. No matter whose hands they are in, guns do  not make me feel safe. This feeling of safety he talks about comes from the assumption that in every classroom with a potential shooter there is a “good guy” with a gun. Also, as stated by John M. Crisp in his article, “Arms in the class is too risky for one prof” on Dallas Morning News, this is assuming that the “good guy” with the gun is trained, has a clear shot, and is able to stay calm in that high stress, life threatening situation.

Secondly, McCuistion cites police officers. Police officers are highly trained shooters and likely have the presumption that everyone with a gun is highly trained as they are. Police officers are also influenced by the community of America they exist in, where everyone has a gun to make themselves feel safer; and they shoot people whenever they feel threatened (usually if they think the other person has a gun and has a darker skin tone than themselves). He is citing a group of people with an implicit bias towards guns.

Thirdly, McCuistion states that many shootings are by people who do not even carry the gun with a license: this is just evidence that there needs to be more regulation of guns in America. The lack of regulation just shows how dangerous it is to allow guns on a campus where the police officers can’t check if every gun carrier is licensed, precisely proving McCuistion’s point wrong.

Lastly, he claims that the fear of being shot by a campus carrier “good guy” will cause the “bad guys” to not want to shoot people. If he has ever read about the criminals who do things like shoot up college campuses, he should know that idea is completely ridiculous. Some people who shoot up public spaces are mentally unstable meaning that this fear factor would probably not affect them; and the others are criminals who have no regard for life, whether it is other people’s or their own. They are not scared off by death. This is clear when most shooters put the last bullet in their own heads or commit suicide later (Wired, “Why Spree Killers Kill Themselves”).

The ideal way to stop school shootings is to increase regulations on guns and who can carry them. Colleges should also monitor the students they admit for mental health with yearly check ups and admission requirements of mental health evaluations. Only about 22% of male gun violence perpetrators showed signs of mental illness (New York Times, “Don’t Blame Mental Illness for Gun Violence”), so this is not my main point of how to regulate shootings. However, regulation of student mental health should already be happening, and this requirement of regulation would just be an extra precaution to decrease the likelihood of shootings and even suicides by guns. More importantly, if there is an overall restriction on guns in college campus dorms, classrooms, labs, offices, and all public spaces on guns, there is almost no chance of a shooting occurring.

This restriction of guns prevents mass shootings by criminals with the mental capacity to do so; However, it also prevents the more common situations of domestic gun violence, rape at gunpoint, accidental deaths and injuries at parties by guns, and conflicts which could escalate greatly and result in death if a gun is pulled out. The college experience of learning and personal development should not be interrupted by the elephant in the room which is guns.

So what if someone gets around the restrictions, or come onto campus without being noticed as carrying a gun? There are officers on every college campus for a reason, and they should be able to intervene the unlikely incident that an off-campus perpetrator would come to campus to shoot people. Not to mention, this is a situation that would not be happening in the first place if there were better gun regulations in America.

For the safety of those who are trying to receive an education to better their future, campus carry should be outlawed. For the safety of innocent bystanders in all of America, gun control should be increased. America claims to be the “land of the free, home of the brave,” but how can we be free if we are shackled by fear of our own brothers and sisters? How can we claim to be so brave if we can’t leave the house without a gun to protect ourselves from any minor conflict? Fight for gun control in America and on college campuses, and protect your fellow Americans; not by holding guns to each other’s heads, but by dropping them to the ground.

Sincerely,

Alejandra Wait

 

Sources:

Auyero, Javier. “Guns on Campus Make Colleges Less Safe.” The New York Times, 31 May 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/05/31/should-guns-be-permitted-on-college-campuses/guns-on-campus-make-colleges-less-safe. Accessed 25 Mar. 2017.

Crisp, John M. “Arms in Class Too Risky for One Prof.” Dallas Morning News [Dallas], 2 Oct. 2015. Dallas News, http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2015/10/12/john-m.-crisp-arms-in-class-too-risky-for-one-prof.

Duwe, Grant. “Pro-con: Should College Campuses Restrict Concealed Weapons?” Dallas News, Oct. 2015, http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2015/10/23/pro-con-should-college-campuses-restrict-concealed-weapons. Accessed 24 Mar. 2017.

Editorial Board. “Don’t Blame Mental Illness for Gun Violence 652.” The New York Times, The New York Times Company, 15 Dec. 2015, mobile.nytimes.com/2015/12/16/opinion/dont-blame-mental-illness-for-gun-violence.html. Accessed 24 Mar. 2017.

Wang, Tricia, and An Xiao MIna. “Why Spree Killers Kill Themselves.” Wired, 18 Dec. 2012, http://www.wired.com/2012/12/why-spree-killers-kill-themselves/. Accessed 25 Mar. 2017.

Rhetorical Analysis of Gov. George C. Wallace Inaugural Address

George C. Wallace gave his inaugural Address on January 14, 1963, to a large crowd of primarily white, racist, religious, and relatively uneducated Alabamians. His argument relied heavily on the ideas of the people in his audience and the ideas of time period which he gave his speech. Wallace effectively used the logic of religion, appeal to emotion, and his authority as a southern Christian to successfully convey his message to his audience of segregation as a necessity for the Alabamian society to thrive economically and socially.

Wallace used logic to prove his point only on the basis of the southern perception of God. For example, he claims that southern whites have the right to maintain segregation for the prosperity of their states (including Alabama) because God is giving them the “wisdom and the strength” to fight for segregation. Wallace also uses the logic that segregation was the right way to live in the eyes of the founding fathers because they institutionalized racism by allowing slavery; therefore it is the right way to live in the eyes of God because the founding fathers were highly religious and used God as an endorsement for their actions. According to this logic it is the Southerner’s spiritual responsibility to fight for segregation. He says, “southerners played a most magnificent part interacting with great divinely inspired system of freedom… and as God is our witness Southerners will save it.” This was an effective approach to logic because his audience was mostly religious and motivated by the logic of God. If he uses God’s logic to prove his message as beneficial to society his audience will be easily convinced and would rally behind him. Wallace’s use of logic was not as essential to convincing his audience as the emotional appeal, however it was important in order to show that he has “reasoning” to some extent and is not driven solely by personal motives.

Most importantly, Wallace used the appeal of emotion and common ideals to rally his audience behind the goal to maintain segregation. He uses the justification that he wants black people to be successful… but separate: “We invite the negro citizens of Alabama to work with us from his separate racial station.” As shown here, he’s acting welcoming to the group he wants to segregate from people of his own race and economic status. This makes it seem like he has the best interest for them, and therefore his ideas will be beneficial to everyone. This also may reach his black audience as inviting, and because he establishes this connection with them, they are more likely to support him. Also shown in that quote, he uses language such as ‘we’ and ‘us’ to establish a sense of community and force the audience to assume that they agree with him because they’re on his side. Another main point of emotional connection is his use of southern pride to unite his audience under his goal. Wallace often references back to ‘our grandfathers,’ like in this quote when he says, “our grandfathers bent their knee only in church and bowed to their head only to God.” Here he is talking about the difficulties Southerners experienced after the Civil War within the Reconstruction time period. By introducing this nostalgia and pride about southern confederate leaders and forefathers, he encourages the audience to continue those values in honor of their ancestors. Wallace boasts about southern perseverance to maintain segregation, and uses this with his southern audience to show them that they should continue this fight.

In addition, Wallace uses his authority as a fellow racist, white, religious, Christian to prove his point. He assumes the values of his audience and uses his own personal experiences as a southerner and a Christian to again establish southern pride; Wallace uses this to convince his audience that he can be trusted and to show them that they should rally behind him. One instance where he establishes his religious authority is when he says, “This is the heritage of my religion, of which I make full practice… for we are all the handiwork of God.” Of course, as it is his inaugural address, he uses his political authority to show his audience the power he has to carry out his message when he says, “…as governor of our State… you stand with me… and we, together, can give courageous leadership to millions of people throughout this nation who look to the south for their hope in this fight to win and preserve our freedoms and liberties.” By saying this he is promising further segregation to the people who agree with him and showing that his segregationist sentiment will spread under his influence to the people who disagree with him. Again, he refers back to southern “heroes” as the foundation of his beliefs to establish authority; the people he references, like Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, are already respected amongst his audience so if he shows that his ideals are founded by theirs then he has also gained respect and trust.

Finally, the timeliness of Wallace’s argument is essential to the effectiveness of his rhetorical devices. His purpose was to argue for the continuation of racial segregation in America and by using God and southern pride as the foundations of his argument he relied heavily on the place and time of his speech. The northern states of America would have widely disagreed and felt unconvinced by his argument; most people in America, around the world, and even Alabama would also disagree with Wallace’s argument today. When Wallace gave his speech (1963), segregation and racism were still very much supported and enforced in the southern states of America. Religion was much more reliable as a source of logic, authority, and emotional appeal. The south in America at this time was much less integrated with people from around the world and around America, so it was composed mostly of racist white people, who still looked to their confederate leaders and forefathers as a source of inspiration or pride. The minorities who did live in the south at the time (immigrants and black people) were very suppressed and were intimidated not to vote or speak up in their communities/politics.

In conclusion, George C. Wallace’s inaugural address was effective for his audience in the south of the 1960’s. By using religion, southern pride, and political authority as means of appealing to emotion, reasoning, and authority, Wallace effectively assured his audience of the message to continue segregation in America, specifically in the south.

Sources:

Newman, John J., and John M. Schmalbach. United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination. 3rd ed., New York, Amsco School Publications, 2016.

Staff, History.com. “The 1960s.” History.com, A+E Networks, 2010, http://www.history.com/topics/1960s. Accessed 5 Mar. 2017.

Wallace, George C., Gov. “Inaugural Address.” Alabama Governor’s inauguration, 14 Jan. 1963, Montgomery, Alabama. Address.