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Review and Commentary on the Article "A Sad Day for America", Addressing Gun Control

Updated on November 28, 2014

Throughout the article “A Sad Day for America” by Robert Ringer, the author uses the example of the vote on a ban of handguns in D.C. to maintain that we face the larger issue of the jeopardy of our constitutional rights. Every time such a vote takes place, it demonstrates that the government can use its power to override our rights. If we truly had our rights, no such vote would have ever taken place. The decisions of our government affect our everyday lives and this has become more apparent recently with cases such as the D.C. handgun case. The answer to this crisis is an education revolution. Citizens must learn to think for themselves and to determine what they stand for.

The author claims “There was a time when the government would not have dared to tell a person he didn’t have the right to protect his family”. The support statement is comparative and refers cause to those in power and their potential dictatorship. The author also supports the claim by referencing summer vacations and dining out as being a thing of the past. The support is an appeal to the audience’s needs and values.

The author also states “But at the opposite end of the spectrum are all those rednecks…and coat-and-tie guys…and African-American guys…and Jewish guys…and Christian guys…and gals…and everyday folks. Of course, all of those people are already sold on the efficacy and morality of freedom. Now what they need to do is become involved in an education revolution-each person on his own-to sell as many others as possible on giving up their insistence on a state-enforced artificial good life in exchange for long-term freedom”. The claim is causal because it assumes that loss of constitutional rights occurs as a result of lack of education and involvement. The argument is supported only by a hasty generalization because it assumes that all of the individuals in the groups mentioned are already sold on the efficacy and morality of freedom. That may or may not be the case. The support for the claim is a fallacy because it begs the question that all of the groups mentioned can be described as having a “state-enforced artificial good life’. That is an assumption that all of these individuals would not feel that they conform to.

The author also makes the claim “I suspect that a villainism dictatorship would eliminate the airwaves by using the airwaves to convince a majority of Americans that those who produce goods and services at a profit are the villains”. This is a causal claim used to describe the consequences of the government’s power. This is an attempt to appeal to the audience’s needs and values by suggesting that the government creates negative roles for everyday citizens trying to make a living. This touches the emotions of the reader because everyone who owns a business is trying to make a profit, so many Americans can identify with the argument. It also can be considered ad populum because it appeals to individuals’ sense of fear in regards to control. Many people fear the loss of individual values to the government’s dictatorship.

The author attempts to support the claim “The only solution I have is the same one I have been offering for the past thirty years: Education” with the support statement “Read and learn, then pass your knowledge on to anyone who will listen-starting with your own children, who most likely are being, or have been, brainwashed by teachers and professors steeped in angerism, guiltism, covetism, envyism and villainism”. The claim is a recommendation because it combines the evaluation that education is the answer with the claims that lack of education is the cause of potential dictatorship. The support attempts to appeal to the audiences needs and values because the angerism, guiltism, covetism, envyism and villainism mentioned are things most people do not want in their lives or the lives of their children. The actual claim can also be viewed as a fallacy that begs the question because it assumes that people are not already educated. Maybe the reader is already educated and just has a difference of opinion in regards to what is effective.

The rhetorical appeal is pathos because it touches the emotions of the reader. It attempts to make the reader feel a sense of anger and hatred towards loss of individual freedoms. This anger and hatred is supposed to fuel the reader into action. The author’s goal is to create an awakening that will result in an educational revolution. The most effective way to do so is by demanding a reaction from readers.

The intended audience is the average American because the author is attempting to create an awakening that will result in an educational revolution. He feels the average American needs to become aware of the potential dictatorship we face. It is effective because there are some valid points. The fathers of our constitution probably never envisioned a day when a vote would be taken simply to maintain a constitutional right. The claims that follow are meant to support the main theme which is: Dictatorship is a real possibility we face as Americans and we are responsible for its prevention.

The first statement that exemplifies what the entire article really means to the author is the claim “There was a time when the government would not have dared to tell a person he didn’t have the right to protect his family”. This statement in itself makes the point of the entire article. It says that we have gone from a country that truly believed in democracy and constitutional rights to one that would allow those rights to be potentially violated. This is the whole point and purpose of the argument. The article was written to convey to the reader that this is what has become of our country. It makes the reader recognize the issue and want to hear the solution which the author later claims to be an educational revolution.

The tone of the article is urgent. It is almost a desperate plea to the American people. The author stresses the need to implement change now in order to prevent potential dictatorship. The article concludes by indicating that there is a great deal at stake and if we don’t implement change now, the opposition will prevail. “If enough people know the truth, it could literally set us free.”

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