Sunday, March 27, 2011

Activity 3: Analysis of Letter by Abram Tan (01)

Dear Congressman

I have been so impressed with your past voting record, and I am hoping that you will continue to make excellent decisions on behalf of your state.  As a concerned parent who lost a child to a gun accident, I am writing to urge you to support the gun control legislation that will be on the November ballot.
-Pathos and ethos are used in the first paragraph to show how the writer views the congressman and which could determine whether the congressman would continue to read or be interested in the letter.
The problem with guns is fairly straightforward: they make it easy to kill or injure a person. Did you know that, according to the F.B.I., approximately 60 percent of all murder victims in the United States in 1994 (about 16,000 people) were killed with firearms? According to estimates, firearm attacks injured another 70,000 victims, some of whom were left permanently disabled. In 1985 (the latest year for which this particular data is available), the cost of shootings--either by others, through self-inflicted wounds, or in accidents--was estimated to be more than $14 billion nationwide for medical care, long-term disability, and premature death. It is much higher now. -Logos is used in the third paragraph. The writer has used real numbers and solid facts to try to convince the congressman that he is right. 
One of the problems with making it easier for citizens to have handguns is that in robberies and assaults, victims are far more likely to die when the perpetrator is armed with a gun than when he or she has another weapon or is unarmed.  Opponents of gun control will say that this does not matter because most criminals buy their guns on the black market.  However, not only do a number of criminals purchase guns legally, but the majority of those that do purchase them on the black market are buying guns that were purchased legally and then stolen—ones that would therefore not be on the black market if our gun control laws were more strict to begin with. Did you know that residents of homes where a gun is present are 5 times more likely to experience a suicide than residents of homes without?  The fact remains that a gun makes it easier to commit suicide in a fit of rage, depression, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. -Ethos is used here because the writer uses questions and facts to show that he is knowledgeable in this topic. 
Self-defense is commonly cited as a reason to own a gun. This is the explanation given by 20 percent of all gun owners and 40 percent of all handgun owners contacted for a household survey conducted in 1999.  However research has shown that a gun kept in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a member of the household, or friend, than an intruder.  Furthermore, when a civilian tries to use a firearm to resist a violent assault, it actually increases the victim's (civilian’s) risk of injury and death. -Ethos is used  again because the writer uses questions and facts to show that he is knowledgeable in this topic.

A study of 743 gunshot deaths by Dr. Arthur Kellermann and Dr. Donald Reay published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that 84% of these homicides occurred during fights in the home. Only 2 of the 743 gunshot deaths occurring in the home involved an intruder killed during an attempted entry.  The evidence revealed in the Kellermann study is consistent with data reported by the FBI.  In 1993, there were 24,526 people murdered, 13,980 with handguns, yet only 251 justifiable homicides by civilians using handguns.
-Logos is used again in the fifth paragraph. Many already proven facts and numbers have been used to persuade the congressman. 
The reason that I have such an intense interest in this topic is that my son was killed by a gun (not my own) that belonged to a person who only wanted to protect his household, but it fell into the hands of a child by mistake.  Do you want to be responsible for supporting legislation that would make more such incidents occur? -Pathos was used in the sixth paragraph. The presence of personal details and feelings indicate that it is pathos.
Knowing all this, do you really think we can continue to allow citizens to buy guns so easily?  If we continue making it so easy, our nation will continue to have gun-related domestic fatalities.  I believe in our rights as citizens of the United States, especially the right to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  These rights are unquestionably threatened by making it easy for the common citizen to buy a gun. Please, please vote for stricter laws. -The writer uses Logos in the last paragraph as he does not want citizens to be able to buy guns that easily and backs it up with logical information. The writer claims that he wants guns not to be bought that easily and states that his country will continue to have problems with guns if they continue to allow easy access to guns. He also stated that the rights of the citizens are threatened by allowing guns. 
Yours sincerely
John Simmons

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