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  1. #1
    Grandmaster Rookie's Avatar
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    Gun control thesis statement.

    "People want to believe gun control will reduce crime, but the truth is that gun control will never work."

    This is my daughter's thesis statement for her college course. This is the teacher's reply...


    "How do you know gun control will NEVER work? You can't. So that is not a factual statement, instead one for a persuasive essay."

    This is her reply to the teacher...

    "History has shown that gun control will never work. Hitler tried it with Germany. England has tried it, Australia has tried it, and they have all been failures."

    What say you? Is it a thesis statement or an opening for a persuasive essay?








  2. #2
    Grandmaster Rookie's Avatar
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    Did someone move this or am I going nuts?

  3. #3
    Certified Regular Guy esrice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rookie View Post
    Did someone move this or am I going nuts?
    You're going nuts.


  4. #4
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    I'm not sure what the teacher is getting at with the distinciton between a thesis statement and a persuasive essay. It would be pretty pointless to have a thesis statement that is an already proven indisputable fact. The whole point of these exercises, I believe, is to make a statement that is controversial or unproven, then provide evidence to support it.

    That said, I'm not sure "gun control will never work" is the best way to frame the debate in an academic exercise. It's very global and expansive, and is thus very difficult to support/defend. Something along the lines of "renewing the federal assault weapons ban would not decrease US violent crime rates" would be a lot more specific and hence lead to a more focused discussion.

    The interchange between your daughter and the teacher is an example of this. Daughter is essentially arguing, "Gun control didn't work in Nazi Germany, the UK, or Australia. Therefore it will never work." For the purposes of a logic class, where you are supposed to be making strong, precise arguments, that's a huge leap from the premise to the conclusion.

    Done well, these kind of academic exercises are intended to teach students to be very precise in their statements and in their reasoning. What your daughter did - citing three examples of failure, then jumping to the conclusion of infinite failure for time and all eternity, is a bit sloppy.

    I agree with her sentiments, but if I were her teacher I'd be trying to get her to formulate her arguments with greater precision.
    Last edited by antsi; 07-22-2009 at 22:11.
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  5. #5
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    I've crafted a few thesis statements in my day, and in the spirit of academic honesty, your daughter's statement is weak. But WE can help her! Especially with a paper on Gun Control.

    How do you tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One?

    A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand.

    Remember that her thesis needs to show the conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:

    "There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement."

    This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.

    "Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers."

    This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it's specific.

    Creating a working thesis for an essay on gun control might entail several revisions. Suppose a writer starts out with the following thesis statement:

    "The best way to have stricter gun control is to make it harder to get guns.”

    This is a decent start. It has some focus in relation to the broad topic of gun control -- make it harder to get guns -- and its idea is clearly stated. However, it is somewhat vague and could use more specific information. A better thesis statement might be:

    "The best way to have stricter gun control is to have more thorough background checks of those people who wish to buy guns."

    The above thesis statement is more focused than the first, but an even better one would be:

    "Gun control must be made stricter through more thorough criminal background checks and probing interviews of people buying guns, thus preventing gun purchases by those with criminal records or less than good intent."

    This last revision of the thesis statement is quite specific -- a reader would know the attitude of the writer towards this topic (“must” implies that the writer is pro gun control), that criminal background checks as well as in-depth interviews will be discussed as methods to make gun control stricter, and that the result of these methods will be to prevent people with criminal records and possible bad intentions from buying guns.

    How about this for her thesis statement:

    "No legitimate study in the US has ever shown that gun control has any positive Impact on crime"

    The rather anti-gun Center for Disease Control did a three year long study and couldn't show that after nearly 70 years of gun control that it has had any effect on reducing crime. You can find this study and many more for supporting references etc.

  6. #6
    Grandmaster rambone's Avatar
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    There was no such thing as crime until guns were invented.

    "Gun control must be made stricter through more thorough criminal background checks and probing interviews of people buying guns, thus preventing gun purchases by those with criminal records or less than good intent."
    I'd stray away from making an argument like this because it invites more intrusion that (presumably) we gun owners are against. IMHO
    Last edited by rambone; 07-22-2009 at 22:26.
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  7. #7
    Grandmaster jblomenberg16's Avatar
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    Yeah, need to know the class. I think like SigSense and Antsi have mentioned, as it stands, it is purely her opinion, and will result in a war of the words between here and the prof. (who by the way may be pro 2A, and just trying to make sure the thesis is done correctly).

    Emotions and opinions will be debated for the rest of time. But when facts and data are used, they are difficult to refute.
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  8. #8
    Grandmaster Fletch's Avatar
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    It might help her to look at Japan. Japan has actually had a fair amount of success with gun control, though it's been shown that this is likely cultural and demographic rather than the result of policy. It never hurts to look at the opposition's strongest case rather than its weakest, and Japan is definitely one of the best examples of gun control "working".
    Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under. -- H.L. Mencken

  9. #9
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    "No legitimate study in the US has ever shown that gun control has any positive Impact on crime"

    All she has to do is research Chicago!!! The 'never will work' part of her statement does need improvement as suggested above.
    AMERICA...May she realize nice guys finish last before it's too late! Csnoski 2009

  10. #10
    Master jmiller676's Avatar
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    I can see where the teacher is coming from though. If it is a research paper (bare with me I haven't read all replies) then what is suppose to be researched is factual (meaning proven with all variables) that it does not work. I.E. zero guns left on planet earth would reduce gun crimes right? However coming from the logical side and learning from history we all agree (at least people with common sense) that gun control has not and will never work. Please don't flame, just trying to look at this from a teachers point of view, however, if I was a teacher she would get an A+ just from the thesis.
    Do not "skid and skedaddle", if proper tools are at your disposal.

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