Aurora Shooting Response Paper
The article published in the New York Times July 22, 2012 by Jack Healy entitled “Suspect Bought Large Stockpile of Rounds online”, addresses an absence of laws regulating the sale of ammunition. Jack Healy is a rocky mountain correspondent for the New York Times, and has reported on the war in Iraq from Baghdad. Healy’s article elicits good emotional engagement with the reader, but it is fundamentally lacking sound logical arguments and ethical credibility. Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes purchased a 6,000 rounds of ammunition prior to the shooting in Aurora Colorado.
Holmes purchased bullet¬¬proof vests and a high capacity 100 round drum magazine. Holmes was a college graduate with a clean criminal background. Holmes was legally able to purchase firearms and ammunition in Colorado and nationwide. States such as Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, and several cities have laws regarding the sales of ammunition. These laws include licensing, permits and requiring gun stores to keep records of ammunition purchased. According to Healy, Holmes used a black commando style outfit as well as other tactical gear during shooting.
Police apprehended him outside the theater still wearing the bulletproof vest, and carrying four handguns. Healy argued how Gun-control groups said the purchases of the ammunition demonstrated how easily anyone could build a veritable arsenal without attracting attention from law-enforcement officials. Healy quotes Tom Mauser, a gun-control advocate, to exemplify this point, “it’s a wide open marketplace” Healy states that ammunition and arms websites are prolific online, and buyers can purchase almost anything firearm related including ammunition.
Healy quotes Gov. John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado, a Democrat, “that the killer might have built a bomb or found some other lethal device if no assault weapons had been around. Healy concludes the article with a quote from Dudley Brown, the executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners saying “I call 6,000 round of ammunition running low. ” I think that the article by Jack Healy was reasonably well written, and it was emotionally engaging for the reader.
The logos of the article is fundamentally flawed due to the lack of logically sound and accurate conclusions. Finally the article loses its’ ethical integrity when the authors bias becomes apparent to the reader. Healy’s article contains bias for the regulation of ammunition sales, as well as confusing terminology. The article contains contradictory and inaccurate facts, and quotes selected for emotional impact rather than relevance and purpose. First I will address some of the logical contradictions in the article.
Healy said “Unhindered by federal background checks or government oversight, the 24-year-old man… was able to build … a 6,000-round arsenal legally and easily over the Internet, exploiting what critics call a virtual absence of any laws regulating ammunition sales” In this quote Healy leads the reader to believe that there are no laws, and no regulation regarding ammunition sales. Later in the article Healy admits there are laws restricting ammunition sales in Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey as well as cities like Los Angeles and Sacramento.
Healy contradicts his earlier point by highlighting the states that do have laws regarding the sales of ammunition. This contradiction leaves the reader not knowing which conclusion is valid. The second flaw in the articles logic is the argument that the sale of ammunition is unregulated, and without government oversight. This main theme that is present throughout the article is technically inaccurate. According to smartgunlaws. org, a nonprofit gun law education website, thirty-two states have laws regulating unreasonably dangerous ammunition, this is over half of the states.
Sixteen states have laws regarding age restrictions and the purchase of ammunition. According to Smartgunslaws. org the majority of states have laws concerning ammunition purchases, laws concerning purchase of dangerous ammunition, (such as armor piercing), laws concerning minimum age of purchase, or laws concerning the ability of convicted felons to purchase ammunition. One of the other major flaws of this article is Healy’s illogical use of quotes.
Here is one of instances where Healy uses a quote and does not acknowledge or clarify the quote: “It is a war tool,” Representative Carolyn McCarthy, Democrat of New York, said of the 100-round drum that the police say Mr. Holmes purchased online. “They’re meant to kill. They’re meant to kill as many people in as short a period of time. ” Ms. McCarthy’s husband was among six people killed in 1993 by a gunman on a commuter train Before this quote Healy was talking about a failed 1999 gun control bill.
After the quote Healy continued to talk about the legislation. Healy stated both republicans and democrats had doubts about the effectiveness of the proposed legislation. The technical execution of the quote interrupted the flow of the paragraph. The quote did not fit in the paragraph in a logical manor. Healy’s quote was deliberately spliced into the article to provide sensationalism needed to make it newsworthy. Healy used the quote to provide a more interesting article, and to appeal to the emotion of the reader.
The ethical appeal of the article is compromised by Healy predominately presenting evidence supporting increased gun and ammunition regulation. The article is twenty-seven paragraphs long; twenty¬¬-five of them are either neutral or support increased regulation of guns and ammunition. Two of the paragraphs expressed opinions opposing an increase in gun and ammunition regulation. By not equally addressing both sides of the issue equally, Healy loses credibility with readers who oppose increasing the regulation of guns and ammunition.
Healy does acknowledge the opinion of gun groups with a vague quote, “To gun groups, such an unfettered marketplace stands as a bulwark of their Second Amendment rights” This is the only place in the article that Healy acknowledges this viewpoint. This quote is not substantial enough to gain the ethical appeal lost earlier in the article. One of the positive attributes of Healy’s article is his emotional appeal to the reader. Healy uses graphic quotes and vivid imagery to provoke emotional response, and connection to the reader.
Healy takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster throughout the article encompassing all types of emotions. Consider the following quote by Healy: Three weeks after the purchase, stunned and bleeding witnesses outside the century 16 multiplex in aurora would describe how a man dressed in a black commando-style outfit and a gas mask strode into the where they were watching a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight rises,” tossed some gas-spewing grenades into the packed auditorium and opened fire.
In this sentence by Healy uses extremely graphic imagery to create an appeal to pathos in the article. Sentences like the one above are mixed in throughout the article along with facts about ammunition laws, and quotes. Healy uses emotion to keep the audience reading, throughout the article. Healy’s appeal to pathos is strong and well-constructed throughout the article.