Gun Control Limitations

Control is a book that definitely has its strengths. One strength is that Beck includes a section in the title page of the book that includes the book’s researchers and contributors. Beck also mentions in the precursor to Part One that he and his staff “watched countless hours of cable news and read hundreds of newspaper columns and articles” (1-2). Plagiarism is a major problem in today’s literary world; by not taking sole credit for all the information obtain, Beck helps to lessen this problem. The major strength of the book, however, is the massive amount of content that Beck provides. This vast array of knowledge adequately supports many of Beck’s points and the “Notes” section adequately supports Beck’s evidence. Although Beck is clearly on one side of the gun control debate, he fairly states the opposing viewpoints before disproving them. Although Control has its strengths, it also has its weaknesses. Beck’s use of pathos is passionate; however, it is not perfect. Beck’s “Author’s Note” suffers from relying on the faulty analogy fallacy. Faulty analogy fallacies are analogies that try to use one simple point to justify an irrational extreme point. When Beck implies that the government not only wants to control our guns but our lives; it wants to “contro[l] what we eat and drive, how we heat our homes, now we educate our kids” Beck evicts strong emotion (XV). Beck’s argument, however, is full of fault. Controlling guns is completely different from controlling what people eat. To say that the government wants to control what we eat because it wants to control guns is an inaccurate inference that creates irrational fear for the reader. Many myths about guns being exposed and the mentions of times a gun could have helped someone are enough to incite anger and concern from the reader. The only thing the faulty analogy does is weaken Beck’s credibility. Another issue that Control has is Beck’s immature insult of Rachel Maddow. In the section disproving the myth that gun massacres are happening now more than ever in the United States, he lists Rachel Maddow’s December 17, 2012 quote “Mass shooting are not a new phenomenon in our country. But if it seems like the worst of them are happening more frequently these days, it’s because that’s true” (31). Beck then states
“Actually, no, Rachel, that’s not true. Gun massacres are not becoming more common.
There is a perception that we have a sudden crisis (just as there is a perception that a lot of people watch your show), but perception does not equality reality” (31).
This part of the book sticks out like a sore thumb because Beck had been mature and is mature for the rest of the book, but he results to a childish jab in this part of the book. This jab causes the reader to be transported from a professional discussion on gun control to the final rap battle between B-Rabbit and Papa Doc in 8 Mile. Also, The Rachel Maddow Show is an Emmy-winning show that is still on the air four years after the book was published. Thus, one could argue that Beck’s “perception does not equal reality” (31). Control’s main weakness is the fact that Beck contradicts himself in some parts of the book. In one section of the book that discusses state gun laws, Beck states that Massachusetts passed laws that “work[ed] to make it difficult for law-abiding people to own guns (there were 1.5 million active licenses in 1998 and only 200,000 four years later), it had no effect on people who generally ignore laws anyway” (26). This implies that Beck does not believe tougher gun laws reduced crime rates. In the section of the book that discusses whether the ability to modify an AR-15 is an issue or not, Beck rebukes that “convert[ing] and AR-15, or any other gun, into a fully automatic weapon…is a federal felony” and can land someone “twenty years in prison” (49). Beck goes against his previous assumption and suggests that he believes a tough gun law would stop a crime from happening. This contradictory thinking is what causes the falling apart of his Part Two argument that violent media causes real life violence. Regarding the myth KEEPING A GUN AT HOME IS POINTLESS ANYWAY, Beck mentions that Stephen King believes this myth because Herbet Clutter from Truman Capote’s non-fiction book In Cold Blood owned a gun but was too shocked to use it. Beck then writes, “King is using just one example of a crime where having a gun might make a difference” (71). This implies that Beck believes King’s example is not valid because it is just one example compared to the many other times that having a gun in the house has been useful. In Part Two, however, Beck gives only seven examples of violent videogames influencing deadly shooters. He also gives only one example of a movie influencing a shooter and no examples of a television show influencing a shooter; he mentions The Walking Dead as a violent television show but does not give an example of it influencing a shooter (122-125, 149). Compared to the millions of people who play violent video games and watch violent television shows and movies, seven instances of violent video games influencing shooters and one instance of a movie influencing a shooter is small like one instance of a man unsuccessfully using a gun in his house is small compared to the many people who have successfully used a gun in their house to avoid death. Although Beck effectively uses secondary data to debunk many myths about gun control in Part One, he fails to prove that media violence is the cause of real life violence in America. Through effective use of ethos and logos, readers are able to understand Beck’s arguments in Part One of the book; however, Beck’s contradictions make readers doubt his main argument in Part Two of the book. Part One of the book is 108 pages, and Part Two of the book is twenty-four pages. Had Beck devoted as much thought and time to Part Two of the book, readers would possibly be better able to see Beck’s point that media violence is negatively influencing our society.