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The Real Target of Gun Law Disputes

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The Real Target of Gun Law Disputes

Margaret Fertig

York College of Pennsylvania


        It is no secret that gun related violence is on the rise and as a result, the Federal Government, more specifically President Barack Obama, has taken a greater stand against gun violence. President Obama has made numerous promises to the American people boasting his determination to end gun violence and increase prosecution rates of those who commit gun violence crimes, yet none of his plans have come to fruition. But who is the real target of gun violence talks? “Obama talks tough about gun control, but prosecutions plummet on his watch” an online article from The Washington Times by staff writer Kelly Riddell (2014), includes advertisements, images, and wording which offers that the real audience of literature that discusses governmental shortcomings in the war to end gun violence consists of people whose lives have been effected by gun violence and people who support the Republican Party, mainly thirty to sixty year old voters.

The Aim of Advertisements

        On the Washington Times webpage where the article is located, there are several links and advertisements that correlate with the platform of the Republican Party. Such ideas include support for building the Keystone XL Pipeline which would supply America with Canadian Oil and create many jobs which would benefit the economy. Another advertisement that relates to Republican ideals is a link to a page titled “BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: BEST HAND GUNS FOR UNDER $500”. Additionally, the site features a daily question poll and on February 3rd, 2015 the question of the day was “Who has been President Obama’s most disappointing hire?” with a only strict selection of names from the Democratic party as possible answers. These advertisements and links to other pages with the Washington Times as the domain name give insight to who the Washington Times is trying to target with their publications. Most Republicans favor the Second Amendment so a link to a gallery of images about purchasing guns would be intriguing to those whose thoughts align with the ideals of the Republican platform. In addition to supporting the free ownership of guns, many republicans believe that the current administration of the federal government is doing poorly at the task of creating jobs for the American people. To Republicans, more jobs equals more expendable income which leads to a healthier and more stable economy. Because Republicans believe that moving forward with the Keystone XL Pipeline would create the jobs necessary to help stabilize the economy, it angers them that Obama’s presidency has vetoed the bill that would make the pipeline possible.

Ignited by Images

        The webpage where the article is located only has one image that is directly tied to the editorial and it is of President Barack Obama holding and aiming a shotgun. Because it is the only picture included, its shock value is more potent. The tittle of the article suggests that Obama is highly opposed to any sort of gun usage but then he is shown firing a shotgun. This contrast of actions and words from the Chief Executive is meant to anger those opposed to Obama and his actions as the President, including those who have been effected by gun violence and Republicans alike. This image is meant to ignite a distrust in his leadership capabilities and his plans for the country’s future.  The photograph receives more attention because of its high placement on the webpage and is the first thing the audience sees when the page loads. Riddell’s (2014) choice of wording and the image selected both work together to evict the audiences sense of logos and the logic of saying one thing and acting in the opposite way to work against President Obama.

Words Which Wound

        Riddell (2014) crafts her article in certain way as to be seen as a credible and informative piece by the audience that reads the Washington Times. She intertwines her opinion with factual statistics and key ignition words to incite anger in her audience towards Obama’s leadership. She opens her piece with the stark fact that:

While President Obama decries gun violence and presses for more laws to restrict ownership, his Justice Department has prosecuted 25 percent fewer cases referred by the main law enforcement agency charged with reducing firearms violence across the country, a computer analysis of U.S. prosecution data shows.

Which appeals to her audience’s senses of logos which tells them that The President is making no move to back his crowd pleasing statements. If Obama wanted to end gun violence and make certain those who commit such crimes are justly served the surely he would be making an effort to follow up on his word but his actions have proved otherwise. Riddell (2014) also includes a touch of pathos and ethos appeal in her writing when she adds:

The data contrast with Mr. Obama’s proclamations after the deadly shooting sprees at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school and an Aurora, Colo., Movie Theater that he would take every step possible to stem firearms violence.

        The audience is reminded of the horrors of Newtown and Aurora tragedies in this article because Riddell (2014) wants the reader’s emotions to be effected by Obama’s actions as it establishes a stronger connection with her writing. She also includes this analysis of the data to prove her credibility to the audience and point out a fallacy in Obama’s administration.


It is obvious from Riddell’s (2014) arguments and analysis of Obama’s lack of action that she is using ethos, logos, and pathos to evoke a feeling of mistrust towards The President’s actions and have her audience align their ideas with the Washington Times’ ideas and her own. The use of pictures and advertisements also come together to create the same effect but add a visual element to the web page which ties the experience for the audience together. Together the Washington Times and Riddell (2014) are able to easily capture their audience of gun violence crime victims and Republican adults alike.


Riddell, K. (2014, June 23). Obama talks tough about gun control, but prosecutions plummet on his watch. Retrieved February 1, 2015, from


I couldn’t figure out how change the header from “running” to regular without changing them all. I researched online but came up with no results



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