Wednesday, January 9, 2013

English for Students of Journalism: Gun Control in America

The following is an exercise structured for the class Journalists Sports/Culture 09WS of Macromedia Academy, Munich. We are establishing a fictional comment blog whereby students can write in their comments on a given topic. Students will assume a role-play and pose as major stakeholders in an important issue. The aim of the exercise is to afford an opportunity for Students of Journalism in Germany to do research in English and to express views in written form, in English. Today's topic is about Gun Control in the USA: 

Should gun ownership in America be outlawed for regular citizens? 

18 comments:

  1. The killing in Sandy Hook is a really unfortunate tragedy. But for the future we should think about how to prevent something like that to happen again. Obviously the current strategy doesn’t work. When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started. That’s why since 2008 the small Texas district Harrold is the first district is the first with an “arm the teachers” policy. They rather want to tell the parents that their child is OK because they protected him.

    Actually this idea isn’t a new one. After an massacre in the 1970s Israel decided to implement a program for armed citizen guards in their schools. Since this program started Israel has not suffered one single school shooting. In fact, arming the school has proven to prevent attacks when potential killers have been shot before they could harm anybody.

    That is why Harrold district is still arming his teachers – and is not alone with this idea. Oklahoma, Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota and Oregon are considering to follow the example of Texas. Even if a school doesn’t have money for a security guard, the teachers can handle a killer. And their guns are hidden, so the children don’t have to think of a potential massacre. But the schools still can say: We can protect our children.

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  2. National Gun Victims Action CouncilJanuary 9, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    A common argument for supporters of our mad gun laws is the point of self-defense. But in fact there are several studies that point out that carrying a gun makes you 4.5 times more likely to be shot during an assault. If the criminals knew about the armed teachers, they will also find their ways to crash them down specifically. More guns do not mean more safety. In contrast they will mean more homicides. Additionally our current laws enable the NRA to gain even more money with its irresponsible business.

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    Replies
    1. Dear NGVAC,

      First of all we want to express our deepest condolences to you and your family. Losing a beloved member of our society always hurts.

      That is why we recently started The National Model School Shield program. And believe me, we are willing to finance every action and every step that must be taken to protect our future - our kids! So, you see, here at the NRA we do what we can to protect you and your family members. If you are worried about your children growing up with guns might I offer you a spot at our Eddie Eagle Gunsafe program? Register here: http://eddieeagle.nra.org

      And even though I understand your grief over the losses you suffered, I have to disagree with the point of more guns meaning more homicides. Do you keep knifes at your kitchen? Those things can be pretty dangerous, too! Always remember to keep them safe and locked away from your kids.

      Wee strongly believe, that the society has to change. That's the only way we can leave our children the America we grew up in. The America of tolerance and freedom!

      We are always open for dialogue. Just visit one of the NRA centers near you: http://www.nra.org/nralocal.aspx

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    2. National Gun Victims Action CouncilJanuary 9, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      Dear NRA,

      It is hard to believe that you can even imagine what it means to lose a mother, a father or your own flesh and blood, your beloved children. Because if you could imagine, there would have been a change in your business and your way of thinking years ago.

      You say, if we regulate the current gun law, only criminals will have them. In England, where they have sane gun laws, no one can legally own handgun or an assault rifle. Indeed, only criminals have them. England has 75 gun homicides per year. Our population is 5 times the population of England. If we had England’s gun laws - and only criminals had guns - we would expect 375 (5 times 75) homicides per year. But because U.S. “law abiding citizens” have handguns and assault rifles - as do our criminals - we have 12,000. So you are telling us that more guns do not mean more homicides?

      You are right: Knifes are dangerous enough – so why does everybody additionally needs to be a gun owner to make it even worse? And you are right again: society has to change. And so has the current gun law!

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    3. White House AdministrationJanuary 9, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  3. The Rights of CitizensJanuary 9, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Yes, it is important to ban the gun ownership of regular citizens. Bus it is not that easy. „The Bill of Rights“ describes a few important rules which make a communal life in the United States of America possible. One important phrase is: “The Bill of Rights” protects freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, the freedom of assembly and the freedom to petition. It also prohibits unreasonable search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment and compelled self-incrimination. Every human has also the right of security. So on the one hand, we have the right to keep and bear arms and on the other hand, everybody has the right of security. But do we live in security, while we also have the right to keep and bear arms. Latest reports about Newtown and all the other horrible things that happened in the past are reasons to change “The Bill of Rights”.

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    1. National Gun Victims Action CouncilJanuary 9, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      It is not true that regulating our gun laws will mean an unconstitutional intervention. We have the right to vote - but only if we are registered. That’s an regulation, too but does it trim the law itself? No! But the current law for gun ownership does trim the right of life, the right of liberty and our pursuit of happiness!
      Safety and protection is the task of our security corporate safety policy and we should not take the law into our hands.

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    2. The Rights of CitizensJanuary 9, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    3. The Rights of CitizensJanuary 9, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Changing the law does not mean, that we have to change the law. That's not our business. The problem is: whos business is it? If we don't do something against it, I mean, making people attentive, nothing is gonna happen. "The Bill of Rights" is a constitution of 1791. More than 300 years old. As I sad: We have to rethink in 2013! The time, the internet and all the other developments in several areas have changed us, the humans and the American citizens. The world is turning so fast these days. The internet presents things, that we never show our children. There is no control and that is bad enough. We can not see into the minds of people and erase their terrible thoughts. What we can do is, taking away the weapon, with which they express their hate. Just to protect other people and our children. To make America a safer place to be.

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  4. White House AdministrationJanuary 9, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    The killing of 6- and 7-year-olds at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 did appear to stir a deeper reaction from the White House and President Obama. Gun bloodshed following shootings at an Aurora movie theater, a Texas Army base or a temple in Wisconsin, calls for fast action. It is our highest duty to stop this bloody trend and prevent innocent people and our children from being killed in this cruel and inhumane way.

    That’s why the Obama Administration will push gun control to the top of his domestic plans. Our first goal is to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. The Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms - that has a long tradition in the United States. The majority of gun owners in America are responsible, they buy their guns legally and they use them safely, whether for hunting or sport shooting, collection or protection. Nobody would deny this.

    But to keep guns away from dangerous people, buying military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines shouldn’t be as easy as buying a pack of chewing gum. We should also be able to check someone's criminal records before he or she can check out at a gun show.

    Single restrictions and new laws will not solve the problems in our country. The latest tragedies in Newtown, Aurora and others affect the deeply heart of our society. We have to think about traditions and issues of mental health, of education, as well as access to guns in the US. The good news is there’s already a growing majority of Americans, who support this mind shift, to feel more secure and happy in their country than now.

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    1. Dear WHA,
      I think we can all meet on common ground: We need to change something to make our streets, schools and homes safer again. But we here at the NRA do not think that further gun control laws are the key, but strictly enforcing the established. Let me try to explain the problem with banning „military-style aussault weapon“.

      There are more than three million Americans who currently own an AR-15. That‘s one of these rifles that might look like a „military-style assault weapon“. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has surveyed the purchasers of AR-15s. Turns out, the AR-15 is the most commonly used rifle for marksmanship. Nearly 90% of those who own an AR-15 use it for recreational target shooting. The typical AR owner is a 35+ year old, married and has a college education.

      Part of the rifle‘s popularity surely roots in the armed forces. Those brave men and women that fight for our freedom just like to shoot the civil version of the guns they used in service. A semi-automatic version in the case of the AR-15.

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    2. White House AdministrationJanuary 9, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      Dear NRA,

      We agree with you, that we strongly believe, that our society has to change. As you said, “that's the only way we can leave our children the America we grew up in”. We, as the representatives of all the individuals in our country - all the different and same opinions on gun control - are strongly interested in your solution to prevent our country from tragedies like Newtown and Aurora. Our American society is based on the principles of freedom, tolerance and the pursuit of happiness, every society member wants to feel save and happy in our country. Our kids want to play on our streets, their parents want to feel save to send them to school. We are sure, that most of the gun owners are responsible people, who are not going to harm anyone. And, as you say, the United States have a strong tradition dealing with weapons. The solution clearly cannot be to ban guns in general. But the White House Administration is taking action and is working on different solutions to prevent our society from harm and fear, which we observed the last weeks and years. We are working on a constructional and democratic dialogue, which embraces all the peoples' voices and wishes for the future of our country.

      Feel free to contact us on: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/.

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  5. We the people, lawful residents of the State of Texas want teachers to be allowed to be armed in school in order to protect our children who are the future of our nation.

    1. Our gun laws should give the law-abiding citizens the possibility to defend themselves from violent criminals. This right should also be guaranteed within gun-free zones

    2. Looking at the past it seems that mass shootings occur especially in those gun-free zones. That is why a legally armed employee or citizen has to has access to a firearm to protect his/her fellow citizen, so that criminals can’t harm innocent citizens anymore.

    3. Since a massacre in the 1970s Israel’s teachers are armed – and not a single massacre took place since then. The example of Israel shows that arming our devotional teachers is the best way to protect our children.

    For the foregoing reasons, we the residents of the State of Texas ask for allowing employees of schools and citizens who are otherwise legally qualified to possess and carry handguns, to carry guns in order to protect our children although apart from that schools stay gun-free zones.

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  6. National Gun Victims Action CouncilJanuary 9, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Imagine the diners at your favorite restaurant were carrying loaded guns. At your children’s soccer game the other parent were wearing guns on their belts. Imagine your co-workers would have a gun in their office desk. Would you feel save? Or would you feel frightened of all that violence, crime and danger you associate with all that munitions?
    This is happening! The NRA is getting laws to make this a reality state-after-state in order to increase their earnings and sell even more guns without thinking about the consequences.

    But we can stop this!

    We, The National Gun Victims Action Council (NGAC), are a non-profit network of 14 million gun victims, their families, supporters, the faith community, and ordinary people leveraging their economic (buying) power to change America’s gun laws, want to make a change and achieve a sane gun law. We want to create a world free of violence and gunfire where our children, families and friends can live together without the fear of being shoot in the street.

    At the moment, suspected and listed terrorists cannot buy a plane ticket but they are allowed to legally buy guns. Criminals and people with mental illness are not allowed to buy them in gun stores. But it is no problem for them to go to a gun show and stock up on whatever they want. Currently guns are allowed almost everywhere – in restaurants, bars and even in churches! In the future the NRA is planning to get a law that allows people with Alzheimer and soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome to own and publicly wear guns. So now it is up to you to stop just listening and start raising your voice against a totally armed society full of weapons and violence where we are controlled by the only industry that is exempt from federal regulation.

    The Tucson Murderer used 31 bullets to kill 6 people and to injure 14 in only 15 seconds. The Fort Hood Killer used100 bullets to kill 13 people and to leave 30 wounded within 10 minutes. Stop this insane gun law and let’s reveal a change. Sign this petition and enable the USA to develop to a society where the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness do count more than the right to be able to shoot someone.

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  7. NRA Newspaper AD for The Ann Arbor Observer
    „I like cowboys! They are brave, they take care of their animals, make sure that all the poeple have enough food and they scare bad guys away with guns!“ Terry Gilligan, a nine year old boy and his innocent thoughts about this year‘s Halloween costume. I‘m sure that many people out there have different pictures in their heads when it comes to guns these days. You all know what I am talking about:
    Horrible people attacking our beloved families and children when they are at the most vulnerable. Not protected by police officers or their caring relatives. We fight wars to protect our country - why can‘t we put as much effort in protecting our children at school? Over 23.000 schools already have armed guards in service. Sadly, that seemingly high number only represents a third of all public american schools. We are willing to help the rest getting safe - for our all childrens sake.
    Because the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

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  8. The Rights of CitizensJanuary 9, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    DO YOU REMEMBER?

    We have lost a lot of people, especially little children, in the last year. There were misfortunes, things that nobody could prevent. But there were also misfortunes, accidents that could have been prevented.
    „The Bill of Rights“ describes a few important rules which make a communal life in the United States of America possible. One important phrase is: “The Bill of Rights” protects freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, the freedom of assembly and the freedom to petition. It also prohibits unreasonable search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment and compelled self-incrimination. Every human has also the right of security. So on the one hand, we have the right to keep and bear arms and on the other hand, everybody has the right of safety. But do we live in security, while we also have the right to keep and bear arms. Latest reports about Newtown and all the other horrible accidents happened in the past few months are reasons to change “The Bill of rights”.

    NEW TIME MEANS NEW RIGHTS

    "The Bill of Rights" is a constitution of 1791. More than 300 years old. As I sad: We have to rethink in 2013! The time, the internet and all the other developments in several areas have changed us, the humans and the American citizens. The world is turning so fast these days. The internet presents things, that we never show our children. There is no control and that is bad enough. We can not see into the minds of people and erase their terrible thoughts. What we can do is, taking away the weapon, with which they express their hate. Just to protect other people and our children. To make America a safer place to be. If you put the right to keep and bear arms in relation to the right of safety ? Which would you choose?

    Lets make people attentive on this topic! Together, we can change something! YES, WE CAN!

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  9. I wish to thank all the students who participated by offering their comments and replies. Your thought-provoking and intelligent remarks provided the reader with an opportunity to consider some of the diverse voices involved in this issue. You displayed a command of the English language and skill in research. Congratulations, and thank you for a most stimulating exercise.

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    ReplyDelete