The way they see it

Guns are bad, and people who have them are evil bad scawwy.  I’ve sort of been on a hot streak lately of picking on college newspaper editorials, likely because they’re the low-hanging fruit of punditry.  This one in the Boise St. “independent” paper is no different than most of the other ones, long on emotion and short on reason.

Just as fired shots thunder and bodies fall with a resounding thud in schools all across America, so the minds of this board prickle and pop with the burning question – why? In the void left by such powerlessness, as we sit, twiddle our thumbs and punch our keyboards in frustration, the seeds of fear are planted.

That is some fantastic hyperbole there.  I did enjoy the “thunder-thud” bit, if I was writing a noir crime novel, I’d definitely want to use something like that.

The op-ed then takes the requisite shots at Shirley Katz; apparently attempting to portray her as trigger happy, and then closes with this absolute gem:

As she holds her mechanism of death in her hands, Katz should understand the responsibility she takes on.
For no longer would she be Shirley Katz, English teacher, but Shirley Katz, killer of a fellow human being.

It’s so melodramatic and over the top that it’s honestly quite funny.  The entire piece is a blatant appeal to emotion; and if I were a student a Boise State, frankly I’d be insulted by this editorial.  It assumes that the reader doesn’t want to use reason, facts, or intellect, and instead goes straight for the “FOR THE CHILDREN” heartstrings.

To all you college students thinking about writing an anti-gun editorial here in the next couple of weeks, let me offer you some advice.

  1. Stop.  Think about what you’re going to write.  If all you’ve got are appeals to emotion, and you don’t even have your base facts correct, then don’t write anything.
  2. Do some research.  Some real research.  Investigate the opinions opposed to your own.  The only way you can effectively debate someone who disagrees with you is to know their positions.
  3. If you really do decide to write your screed, make sure that it’s founded in logic and is not a hand-wringing cry of “for the children”.

I don’t mind people who disagree with me; what I mind is people who blindly push an agenda that isn’t based on facts or reason, but rather blind emotion.


  1. If this is an example of the kind of student Boise State is turning out, and I must assume it is one of their better students as judged by faculty for him to be given the honor of editorial writer, then Boise State should refund everybody’s tuition or face fraud charges.

  2. “Thunder-thud”? I think that would be a swell name for an Indian figure on a kids TV show.

Comments are closed.