Gun control is an important topic and issue in the United States due to various viewpoints and several facts that support or oppose these views. One confusing element about gun control is whether guns kill people or people kill people. It is a two-sided viewpoint that has been used for decades to either support or oppose the high rates of gun possession in the United States. To support or oppose gun control based on the viewpoint, the point of reference is often the person’s emotions, character/attributes, and employed facts to persuade the individual. In other terms, these aspects are outlined as ethos, logos, and pathos: they are majorly used in explaining both sides. Regardless of their role in discussing the various aspects of gun control, each aspect aims to establish further need or absence of gun control measures. This study aims at understanding gun control through comparing rhetoric evaluation of two articles, “Support For Gun Control Just Hit Its Lowest Point In Almost A Decade” by Chris Cillizza and “The Psychology Of Guns: Risks, Fear, And Motivated Reasoning” by Joseph M. Pierre, but Pierre’s article more rhetorically effective due to the expression of gun control risk, fear, and motivation.
Chris Cillizza’s article was written and updated four years after Parkland’s 2018 Florida mass school shooting. Its impact led to a new wave of teen activists opposing gun-control politics revolving around gun sales and ownership. The activists’ efforts led to a 52% American poll outcome that demanded better and stricter laws than those that existed. Unfortunately, since 2018, the demand for stricter laws declined from 64% American poll outcome to 52% in 2021. According to this pattern, Cilliza (2021) illustrates that the support of stricter gun control measures is seasonal; for example, most voters will support stricter gun control measures upon a mass shooting incident, while the numbers will decline in a season with limited gun shooting occurrences. In other terms, Cilliza’s composition outlines two essential plays, and it explains what went wrong and links it to the public’s emotional attachment that makes them seek stricter gun control laws after a mass shooting, illustrating the means of rationally evaluating the progression of events. Additionally, Cilliza (2021) evaluates the gun control situation on the events after the 2018 Parkland, Florida shooting, but the author covers what the shooting meant and its short-term impact. Also, the author supports the trend of surging gun purchases in durations with limited mass shootings; thus, illustrating the use of logos.
On the contrary, Joseph M. Pierre’s article identifies one incident or countermeasures to manage the damages and explores pathos as a means to address the beliefs and values of gun control measures. For example, to understand the value and beliefs of the audience, Pierre (2019) asks if “guns kill people or do people kill people?” (p. 2). It is a question that riddle establishes a line between the opposing and supporting sides of gun possession in the United States; thus, identifying the that U.S. society is more polarized than anticipated. An essential factor of this study is that it addresses different audiences simultaneously, for example, the public and their take gun-related offenses or risks, the healthcare or medical departments as a means to define a gun since it possesses a threat to human well-being health. Nonetheless, the study taps into psychological professionalism as a means of understanding gun ownership attitude and cognitive bias in supporting or opposing policy or law reforms. Pierre (2019) explores pathos to identify how advanced human decision-making concepts have evolved beyond cognitive bias and heuristics to be highly dependent on emotional effect; thus, how one’s emotions can take over the rational decision-making approach to the point of establishing dominant influence. Furthermore, the study employs logos to illustrate what happens to gun owners before they decide to use their weapons – in other terms, the dichotomous question of where people kill people or guns kill people being replaced with people killing people by using a gun.
To conclude, gun control measures have remained a hot topic to cover in the united states. With its seasonal fluctuation on what needs to be done, for example, after an accident or a mass shooting, the public demand for stricter restrictions are on a high, and when there are no shootings, they are on the low, making it difficult to establish a long term mitigation approach. Both scholars Cilliza (2021) and Pierre (2019) employ the feature of logos in their work by outlining the genesis of gun control issues, their impacts, and mitigation measures that have been imposed regardless of their performance. Unlike Cilliza (2021), which is highly dependent on ethos (credibility), Pierre (2019) taps into pathos, where the rhetoric values, beliefs, and audience are addressed to understand better how human psychology can be used in identifying why gun owners are often compelled to misuse their weapons. Pierre (2019) explores topics such as fear and gun possession, gun ownership diversity, and the shared culture of feature to enable those that support and oppose gun control measures to reach a consensus on how best to purchase the guns and use them for the right task.
Cillizza, C. (2021). Support For Gun Control Just Hit Its Lowest Point In Almost A Decade. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/11/23/politics/gun-control-gallup-poll/index.html
Pierre, J. (2019). The Psychology Of Guns: Risk, Fear, And Motivated Reasoning. Palgrave Communications, 5:159 | https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-019-0373-z