In “Our blind spot about guns,” Kristof (2019) argues that gun regulations are less strict than those imposed on cars and that changing the matter would save lives. In “Don’t make English official – Ban it instead,” Baron (2019) offers to make the English language illegal as an unusual way of encouraging people to learn it. Both authors make convincing arguments on the topics of discussion, however, Kristof (2019) presents a more convincing essay than Baron.
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The two essays differ, not only in the themes chosen for discussion but also in the way the two authors present evidence and discuss the issues. Kristof (2019) focuses on drawing parallels between something that people in the United States are used to – car regulations, such as mandatory driving licenses and driving rules, to gun ownership. He presents statistics and other data, such as fatality rates, which engage the reader and make his essay convincing as the author relies on evidence. Baron (2019), on the other hand, discusses the offers that arose over the years, such as making Hebrew or French the official language of the United States. However, the arguments that Baron (2019) outlines are mainly based on his opinion, as he states that a common language can be a source of internal conflict and that few people can actually write in English correctly without relying on spell-checking software.
The essay by Kristof (2019) is more effective in the way the author outlines his ideas and provides the need to have stricter gun regulations. It is more convincing because of the way this essay is structured, and because the author uses a variety of evidence and comparisons to outline his ideas. This source uses evidence such as comparison of fatality rates for car accidents and gun-related deaths and the decrease of the percentage of people killed in car accidents after regulations were implemented. An effective passage from this essay is by Kristof (2019), who writes the following:
“One constraint, the argument goes, is the Second Amendment. Yet the paradox is that a bit more than a century ago, there was no universally recognized individual right to bear arms in the United States, but there was widely believed to be a “right to travel” that allowed people to drive cars without regulation” (p. 163).
It works because the author skillfully links the regulation of guns and that of vehicles, drawing parallels between the two and providing historical evidence that shows how the attitudes towards cars have changed in order to save lives. Moreover, Kristof (2019) uses the comparison between cars and guns from the beginning of his essay, creating a cohesive narrative where the reader can easily trace the thoughts of the author. By comparing the fatality rates and regulations imposed on guns and cars, the author supports his argument that the policies about firearms should be changed.
To conclude, the essay by Kristof and Baron differ in their central theme and the way the authors choose to present their ideas. Baron mainly relates to his perception of the English language and its use in the United States, with little focus on the history of this language in the United States. Kristof, however, uses a parallel between cars and guns and historical events to convince the reader that stricter gun control is a necessity. Therefore, Kristof’s argument is more effective because of the evidence and use of sources apart from the author’s opinion.
- Baron, D. (2019). Don’t make English official – Ban it instead. In R. Bullock & M. D. Goggin (Eds.), The Norton field guide to writing with readings (pp. 949-951). New York: Norton.
- Kristof, N. (2019). Out blind spot about guns. In R. Bullock & M. D. Goggin (Eds.), The Norton field guide to writing with readings (pp. 162-165). New York: Norton.