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Old April 19, 2013, 07:33 PM   #1
Big-Blue
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Article on Gabby Gifford's op-ed in today's NY Times

The attached link will take you to a WSJ article about Congresswoman Giffords' article in the NY Times. The article was entitled "Gabby Giffords Poisons the Well." Its subtitle was "The incivility and unreason of her case for gun control."

This WSJ article does not cover the entire Giffords' article chastising the Senate over not passing the President's bill, but it does step you through the content and labels the arguments showing point by point the inconsistencies and faulty logic she uses. Her article was entitled "A Senate in the Gun Lobby's Grip," and the link is below.

Goodness knows nobody has a better right to feel strongly about guns than the person almost murdered with one, but this article shows that emotion does not trump fact.

I thought the article was a good primer on how one might recognize fallacious arguments about topics discussed around the office water cooler--especially the gun debate.

Here is the WSJ article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...t_pop_newsreel

Here is the Congresswoman's article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/op...rip.html?_r=1&
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Old April 19, 2013, 07:56 PM   #2
lee n. field
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I wonder who really wrote it.
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Old April 19, 2013, 08:10 PM   #3
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Considering she owned a pistol beforehand, and her husband has bought guns since then, they are nothing but hypocrites, assuming she is speaking for herself and not being used as a prop.

Regardless of whatever measures she purportedly supports, we know from their own words that the gun grabbers she shills for want to totally disarm all citizens, except the self-declared more-special-than-others ones. Gabby and Marc-y are shameless minions.
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Old April 19, 2013, 08:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lee n. field
I wonder who really wrote it.
There's no particular reason to think Ms. Giffords didn't write the article herself. She has difficulty with speech and some partial paralysis as consequences of being shot, but from everything I've read, her cognitive functioning isn't impaired.
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Old April 19, 2013, 08:27 PM   #5
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I don't read the WSJ, but I was pleasantly surprised to read something from a major media outlet that also talked with some real sense for a change.
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Old April 19, 2013, 09:01 PM   #6
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I am so sorry that Gabby Gifford was shot and friends of hers killed.

Still, her arguments remind me what I heard and read from the Women’s’ Temperance League. They argued that if “Demon Rum” was abolished then child hunger and poverty would end, men would stop beating their wives, that streets would be safe, we would all be civil to each other, and America would be a peaceful prosperous paradise. It didn’t work out that way.
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Last edited by Vanya; April 19, 2013 at 09:27 PM. Reason: off-topic content.
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Old April 19, 2013, 09:32 PM   #7
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The WSJ piece is an excellent analysis of the flaws in Ms. Gifford's reasoning (although to call it that may be stretching a point). It's also useful as a guide to analyzing similar emotion-laden articles. We'd do much better if we were able to point to specific logical fallacies in such articles, rather than just declaring that "They're all lying!"
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Old April 19, 2013, 09:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
I don't read the WSJ, but I was pleasantly surprised to read something from a major media outlet that also talked with some real sense for a change.
There are editors at the WSJ (and Forbes as well) who are surprisingly independent thinkers, and some do come down on our side.
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Old April 19, 2013, 09:52 PM   #9
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Has Ms Gifford's article been published somewhere that doesn't require logging in?
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Old April 19, 2013, 09:54 PM   #10
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^^^ It's the second link in the OP.
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Old April 19, 2013, 09:59 PM   #11
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The NY times requires a login.
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Old April 19, 2013, 10:20 PM   #12
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Hmm. Didn't for me. *shrugs*
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Old April 19, 2013, 10:27 PM   #13
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Musher (and others who are getting the Log In page) -- it's likely because you have cookies disabled in your browser. Enable them for the Times site, and I think you'll be able to get to the article.
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Old April 19, 2013, 10:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lee n. field
I wonder who really wrote it.
Me too.

And I don't buy the argument that her cognitive functions are unimpaired, not as a rebuttal to "Who really wrote it?". My grandmother was left in a condition much like Ms. Gifford's by a stroke. My grandmother's cognitive functions were sufficiently functional that she understood what we said to her. For her to try to express any sort of meaningful idea in words, either spoken or written, was quite another story. In fact, it never happened. She lived ten more years after the stroke, ten years that had to have been incredibly frustrating to her because my grandmother was a highly intelligent and well-educated woman who loved discussing history and philosophy. To see her sitting in her living room, unable to form ideas into words in any medium, was heart-breaking.

I don't believe for a single nanosecond that Gabby Giffords wrote that. I think her husband wrote it and she signed it.
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Old April 19, 2013, 10:38 PM   #15
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I think Giffords assumes too much. She has decided that the legislation failed only because her colleagues are afraid of the N.R.A. In her mind this legislation should have passed and she can't accept that it did not. She can not reconcile that perhaps, just maybe, those Senators voted my way because they believed it was the right thing to do. Personally, I just think that is as presumptuous as it gets.
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Old April 19, 2013, 10:41 PM   #16
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If for some reason you cannot open the page to see it, . . . don't worry, . . . you didn't miss anything worth talking about.

Just skim reading it (not studying it) was enough to make me want to toss my dinner, . . . it's just a pile of foolish emotionalism (I actually had a couple of other words in mind, . . . but those will suffice to make the point).

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Old April 19, 2013, 10:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
I don't believe for a single nanosecond that Gabby Giffords wrote that. I think her husband wrote it and she signed it.
I was watching her head nod during the defeat speech. It kept time with statements O'bama was making as he scolded the Senate, the NRA, and us gun owners in general. I can only assume that if she can nod her head when she hears something she likes, she can nod her head when she hears something she likes that someone wrote for her. I can't know for sure who wrote it, but I do believe she can follow along.
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Old April 19, 2013, 10:51 PM   #18
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What I don't get is when she says about the Senators heard from their constituents (who she says supported the bill), but yet voted against it because of the power of the NRA? Those Senators voted against it because they were probably getting huge numbers of calls from people telling them not to vote for it (i.e. their constituents---and people who call are people who vote). If their constituents were all really saying, "Yes, go ahead, vote for this bill, we don't mind at all!" I think they would have.
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Old April 19, 2013, 10:58 PM   #19
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The problem in Giffords' article is not the use of emotion, but, rather, the overuse of emotion. The three modes of persuasion are ethos, pathos, and logos. Pathos, the use of emotion to persuade, is most effective when used with logos (logic) and ethos (credibility of the speaker). She employs some ethos by referring to her terms in Congress. Much or all of that is lost by the over-emotional name calling (calling them cowards, etc.). This is a turn-off for most readers and listeners. She employs absolutely no logos.

When we make our arguments, we should keep these modes of persuasion in mind. Try to craft your arguments with some facts -- "Here's some things they're not telling you about the bill," or "Did you know Internet sales already have to go through a FFL?". Make a calculated but respectable plea to emotion -- "Patriots beginning with the battles of Lexington and Concord have fought and died protecting our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms." Unless you are a publicly known and respected figure, you have to build ethos through the respectful, yet forceful arguments you make. We won't persuade the hard core opposition but we may be able to hold the middle.
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Old April 19, 2013, 11:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanya
The WSJ piece is an excellent analysis of the flaws in Ms. Gifford's reasoning...
Never having been shot in the head, I'm going to give her a hall pass on both her reasoning and her opinions on gun control. I don't have to agree with her to do that.
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Old April 19, 2013, 11:10 PM   #21
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Never having been shot in the head, I'm going to give her a hall pass on both and her reasoning and her opinions on gun control. I don't have to agree with her to do that.
And that's a perfectly good and respectful way of attacking her ethos. She has been so personally effected that her arguments lose credibility. But we don't have to make the point with a sledgehammer.

I have heard a former prosecutor (now a judge) often make a similar point very dramatically. If the mother of an accused criminal testifies for the defendant during trial, the former prosecutor would emphasize, "NEVER question Mama!" While that may be a bit of a stretch, the point is that most folks won't give Mama's testimony much weight but we will only evoke sympathy for her (and the defendant) if we are confrontational with her.
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Old April 20, 2013, 07:26 AM   #22
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What I don't get is when she says about the Senators heard from their constituents (who she says supported the bill), but yet voted against it because of the power of the NRA?
The NRA has been demonized ever since Sandy Hook. It happened in 1994. and to see it happen now is not unexpected.

It's not smart politics to insult gun owners directly (though that has happened). Portraying the NRA as an unscrupulous lobbying juggernaut with unlimited funds is a convenient scapegoating strategy.

Never mind that Michael Bloomberg alone outspent them this year.
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Old April 20, 2013, 07:53 AM   #23
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Did you guys read any of the comments left on Giffords Op-ed? It absolutely amazes me that people can exist in a world driven completely by emotion and devoid of common sense and logic.
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Old April 20, 2013, 07:36 PM   #24
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In the article, the term moral panic is used. It is when you must do something - even if it violates basic rights.

We are not immune from it. Look at one of our threads that asks for pre-emptive moves against people if a doc wants to report you based on their opinion alone.

Psychiatric gulags and denial of gun rights based on flimsey evidence appeals to some of the gun world.

Some want to ban video games as they are sure they are causal despite the data suggesting no strong link. But our posters know better. You have to do something!

Today, I heard at a match a discussion of the Boston Marathon and one 'gentleman' wanted Japanese WWII internment camps. Some much for the Constitution. BTW - he was met with stoney silence - well deserved IMHO.

So fallacies in reasoning based on emotion or other logical flaws are common, even to us.
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Old April 20, 2013, 11:43 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
Today, I heard at a match a discussion of the Boston Marathon and one 'gentleman' wanted Japanese WWII internment camps. Some much for the Constitution. BTW - he was met with stoney silence - well deserved IMHO.
Who does he want to intern? Bostonians?

Chechnyans?

Russians?

Kyrgistanis? (sp?)

Muslims?

Boxers?

Furriners?

People who wear baseball caps backwards?
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