Rhetorical Analysis

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In light of the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, people across the country—especially politicians—have been pushing for immediate action towards gun policies. Some believe that the government should allow for guns in schools, others think that there needs to be more gun regulations and less firearms in the hands of citizens. Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times, has a firm belief in the latter. In his essay, “Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?” faces the controversial issue of gun control. Kristof explains why he believes there should be more control on firearms and makes use of literary techniques to convince the reader.

Logos is the appeal to logic and reasoning that supports an argument. It is prominent throughout Kristof’s article; he uses data and statistics that back up his argument. He wrote that firearms should be at “the center of a public health crisis that claims one life every 20 minutes,” and later explains that ladders—with extensive safety regulations and standards—kill about 300 Americans a year; he is stressing that America seems to be less strict with things “most likely to kill.” With numbers such as these, a reader will automatically consider the negative impact that guns can have on society and will be more likely to buy into or listen to Kristof’s ideas. Logos is one of the most widely used appeals because it is relatively impossible to argue against facts and data.

After Kristof explains the problem (guns and their negative connotations) and his argument (the need for more gun control), he explains possible solutions to the reader. He gives examples of countries that have become stricter about their firearm policies and then thrived after the changes. He uses Australia as a prime example: it banned certain rapid-fire long guns after a mass shooting in 1996. He shows how the law helped as well by explaining that 18 years before the law, the country had experienced 13 mass...
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