ENG 112, Assignment 1
4 September 2018
“Gun Control A Battle of Tribes”: A Critic of Please, Let’s Never Get Used to This.
In Gail Collins, “Please, Let’s Never Get Used to This” an article in the New York Times, she takes a look at the political climate surrounding gun laws in the United States of America (A21). In response to the rapid rise and regularity of school shootings in the United States, Collins describes how school shootings (massacres) are becoming an everyday occurrence and how the country, is not responding by changing guns laws quickly enough (A21). The current political powers that be are stifling any real progress that could be made (Collins A21). Collins paints a picture where Republican lawmakers are not taking this issue seriously enough to cause any real impact on gun control (A21). The article is closed out with examples of how right now nothing is being done by the current administration painting a bleak future for any real gun reform on this ongoing path (Collins A21).
Collins believes that nothing is happening to change gun laws and, more importantly, that the N.R.A. and Republicans are suffocating any chance of reforming American gun laws (A21). Through the use of school shootings and examples of gridlocked politicians, Collins appeals to the New York Times reader’s heart and intellect through the use of pathos and logos. Times readers are an average age of 45 and typically affluent (Sunday/Weekly Audience). Typically, Democrats, you can tell by skimming over the first few headlines on the New York Times home page (New York Times). Collins pulls at the heartstrings by using first-hand accounts of how gun violence is reaching all demographics including the upper middle class. The “this could happen to you” allusion paired a critical view of how the politicians are saying a lot but doing nothing, allowing readers to draw their own logical conclusions (Collins A21). Collins is a seasoned editor for the New York Times writing about women’s rights and various political hot topics, being on the editorial board of the New York Times Since 1995 (New York Times). Collins effectively gets through to her educated readers that there is a problem with the current way gun control is being handled. Through the serious tone and effectively connecting emotionally to her audience, using assertions and allusions to argue that logically there is more society can be doing about gun control, what needs to be done and how votes can lead to a positive change in gun laws (A21).
A serious tone is set from the first sentence of “Please, Never Let Us Get Used to This”, creating a real sense of this could happen to your family, effectively appealing to the pathos appeal to the New York Times readers, relating to her audience quickly with this middle American story line (Collins A21). Collins takes a critical tone at the political gridlock, inciting anger in its legion of democratic voters about the current administration’s inaction or willingness to make any headway on current gun laws (Sunday/Weekly Audience). Collins quotes Chris Murphy, a senator who is fighting for gun reform, saying “The president (Donald Trump) pulled me close and told me he was going to stop this. As usual he wasn’t telling the truth.” (A21). This will effectively resonate with the liberal New York Times audience stoking the flame that the current administration is untrustworthy; these are already common everyday headlines they already believe and invokes angers because no progress is actually being made on gun reform. Collins pulls at her audience’s emotions through the use of strong anecdote in the first few sentences: you’d have talked about it with everyone at work, with your family at dinner. All throughout the weekend. (A21). This effectively connects with the affluent reader who is living the American dream and helps connect them to the idea that this could happen to them someday. Collin’s readers with the average age of 45(Sunday/Weekly Audience) are likely to have kids and worry about their safety while they are at school. Collins mentions the Sandy Hook massacre and other school shootings throughout “Please, Let Us Never Get Used to This” successfully relating the tragedies to its well to do parents (A21).
If appealing to the pathos side of the audience draws the readers in emotionally, then through the use of assertions and allusions to argue that logically there is more society can do about gun control. This effectively makes the reader “join the cause” (Political Activism). Through the article there is an allusion to Republican politicians that seem to blame shootings on “heavy clothing, too many entrances and exits in buildings, and knives being more dangerous as more of a problem then gun laws in America (Collins A21). This unites the mostly democratic reader and gives them a tribe to blame. (Republican) This combined with naming of the N.R.A. as the big bad wolf creates an effective party to blame. The New York Times readers invests a lot time consuming political content and would enjoy finding a new reason to disagree with the “other tribe” (Republicans). Collins uses powerful statements: “the problem is guns, not knives or too many school doors. And when children lose their lives to a mass shooting, we have to keep talking about it” these make continuing to fight for gun reform as the only logical option for the parent readers(A21). The educated and wealthy audience are very likely to draw their own conclusions that voting on leaders who are for stricter gun laws is the right solution.
“Please, Let Us Never Get Used to This” appeals well to its politically charged reader very effectively when appealing to their emotions (Collins A21). Collins puts it in terms that if nothing is done, Americans are doomed to suffer more casualties to gun violence. The logos appeal could have been more effective if it had more statistics and facts to help support claims about shootings versus stabbings, but… the pathos appeal in this article was very powerful and effective enough to at least allow the conversation to continue with many potential voters. These are voters who have the means to donate to political causes and back candidates whose beliefs align with their own. They are parents who have an interest in keeping guns as far away from schools as possible to make sure that their kids are safe. Collins call for action to her audience of readers who “shape society” (Sunday/Weekly Audience) will not go on deaf ear