In recent decades, gun regulation has been a hotly debated topic in every civil and political arena in the United States. With the general public split about whether it is better for anyone to own a gun or not, the debate does not seem to be coming to a close anytime soon. The United States Constitution requires its residents to buy and possess concealed firearms, a provision intended to guarantee an individual’s protection (Newman and Cybelle, 32). Though this in itself has become a matter of grave concern, particularly with incidences of a shooting occurring with increasing frequency countrywide, recent legislative action could see guns legally allowed into higher education buildings. Steven Friesen in his discourse, Why the Guns-On-Campus Debate Matters for American Higher Education, critically examines the implications of allowing guns into American college buildings, and employs ethical and logical appeals in order to persuade his audience of the detrimental consequences of guns in campuses.
Logos in Friesen’s Article
The author of the article, Steven Friesen, begins by introducing himself, and establishing his knowledge of and connection with the situation. By establishing himself as a lecturer at the University of Texas, the author effectively enumerates to the audience the proximity he has to the new law that could see hundreds of Texan college goers permitted to carry guns in campus buildings. The law, Senate Bill 11, would subsequently mean that Friesen’s daily life would include interactions with students who carry concealed and loaded weapons on their person. This first step, introducing himself, establishes Friesen as an academic voice, existing in the center of this conflict, and as such, he is a person who ought to be listened to regarding this matter. Friesen’s credentials, and proximity to the ‘campus carry law’ in Texas, enhances his argument concerning the legalization of guns in campus, and cements within the reader, that guns in campus would almost certainly promote the regular settling of conflict through impulsive, destructive and often fatal gun violence.
Friesen goes on to exhibit that the raging debate on gun control burns brightest in the campus setting (Friesen, 1). It is here that many young adults are faced with opposing worldviews, and, depending on the nature of a student’s foundational principles, they will often either opt to completely reject the new affirmations, or to use critical thinking to tear away the ones they already had and build new belief systems. For conservatives, Friesen notes that the traditional ideologies dominate their school of thought and behavior. By examining the clash of ideologies characterized by the debate on gun control, that is, the traditional and nuance concepts, Friesen effectively enhances the logicality of his argument, and thereby is able to persuade his audience of the negative effects of allowing concealed weapons into colleges. Pitting traditional conservative notions against those embedded in critical thinking, enables Friesen to analyze both views objectively, and in turn, offer his readers clearer perspective on the matter.
Friesen also enhances the logical appeal of his article by including statistical and research data from studies and researches conducted prior. He includes data from the 2015 survey conducted in Texas regarding the issue of gun control, predominately whether or not people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons. The results exhibit the high disparity that exists between people when it comes to the issue of guns with 47 percent agreeing with legalization of guns while 45 percent being firmly against it. By offering this data, Friesen effectively addresses the issue of external evidence, and enhances the credibility of the article as a source of objective information about the issue of guns in campuses. His account of a fellow faculty member who was physically assaulted by a student for awarding said student a lower grade than they expected, also is evidence to the potential evils that could come to pass with the legalization of concealed weapons in university buildings. This account not only enumerates to the reader that lecturers and professors are faced with such physical confrontations on a daily or weekly basis, but that with a gun, such instances could and probably would increase exponentially. In addition to this, Friesen includes direct quotes from the Texas Republican Platform, which strongly supports the rights of students to carry weapons at their discretion (Friesen, 1). This furthers the knowledgebase on which Friesen bases his argument, thereby improving on his logical arguments as a whole.
Ethos in Friesen’s Article
Steven Friesen, in his Huffington Post entry, Why the Guns-On-Campus Debate Matters for American Higher Education, makes use of ethical appeals in order to draw the audience into his frame of thought with regard to the issue of gun control. For instance, he highlights the fact that often, faculty and students may come at odds, particularly when it comes to grading. No lecturer or professor is a stranger to students who feel as though they deserved a higher grade than was awarded. In this respect, some students, when academically frustrated, may consider physical violence as a form of backlash. Friesen purposes that such aggravated notions and concepts may become emboldened if carrying guns within campus premises is legalized. Friesen’s article speaks out to the ethical mandate of the audience, in whatever capacity they can, to protect University staff, from the reactive efforts of frustrated youths. The article, places particular emphasis on the fact that with a gun in hand, a student can effectively intimidate, or even end the life of many a campus staff.
Beyond the threat to campus staff, introduction of guns into institutions of higher learning presents the risk of permanently changing the civil rights and liberties held dear by many entities of higher education (Reich, Culross, and Behrman, 21). Friesen, also enumerates the results of a debate he had with his class concerning the presence of concealed weapons in University premises. Through this class discussion, Friesen is able to provide the audience with information from students themselves on whether guns ought to be allowed in campuses. In doing this, Friesen is able to persuade the audience of the opinions and beliefs of his students, albeit a relatively small and unrepresentative sample size. Friesen, shares with the readers of his article how students would behave if they knew that their fellow classmates were carrying weapons, a fact which not only builds to the credibility of his argument, but also shows that as an author and proponent of gun control, he is willing to incorporate other people’s opinions of the controversial issue. Students, in response to his question, cite that most of them would act different from their usual liberal selves; they would be cautious, constantly observant and unceasingly aware of others and the concealed weapons they might be carrying. One of Friesen’s student affirms, that to a large extent, they would censor their speech in order to avoid being shot (Friesen, 1). These testimonies from Friesen’s class play a critical supportive role in building his argument against guns in campuses, not only in Texas, but across the world.
As Friesen notes, this controversial new law not only affects him in a direct manner, but also sets the tone for other states to pass similar laws. Were such laws enacted in other states, college life in America will soon after, undoubtedly be characterized by fear, intimidation, sexual assault, and accidental shootings. Concealed weapons make it easy for aggravated youth to result to shooting as a form of conflict resolution (Patten, Thomas, and Viotti, 17). This is the logical argument made by Friesen in his article, which coupled with his ethical appeals, enhance the rhetoric of his argument. Friesen consequently makes ethical appeals to the audience, resonating with the compromise to basic human rights and civil liberties that concealed weapons would bring to higher learning institutions in America. He backs these claims with accounts from experience and discussions he had with his class and other scholars. Asserting that most of his students affirmed that they would censor their speech, as well as become extremely observant and weary of other students were guns permitted in campus buildings. Friesen also employs an ethical argument where he highlights the use of guns as a tool by students to intimidate university faculty, more often than not, concerning grades. These ethical and logical appeals form the crux of Friesen’s article, and prove effective tools in persuading his audience toward a future less filled with guns, particularly in higher education institutions.
Friesen, Steve. US, The Conversation. “Why the Guns-On-Campus Debate Matters for AmericanHigherEducation.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 17 Aug. 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com/the-conversation-us/why-the-guns-on-campus-de_b_11570322.html.
Newman, Katherine, and Cybelle Fox. “Repeat tragedy: Rampage shootings in American highschool and college settings, 2002-2008.” American behavioral scientist 52.9 (2009):1286-1308.
Patten, Ryan. Thomas, Matthew and Viotti, Paul. “Sweating Bullets: Female Attitudes RegardingConcealed Weapons and thePerceptions of Safety on College Campuses.” Race, Gender& Class, vol. 20, no. 3/4,2013, pp. 269–290. JSTOR, JSTOR,www.jstor.org/stable/43496945.
Reich, Kathleen. Culross, Patti and Behrman, Richard. “Children, Youth, and Gun Violence:Analysis and Recommendations.” The Future of Children, vol. 12, no. 2, 2002, pp. 523. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1602735.