LaPierre vs. Harris: Strategies Showdown Essay

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In the tragedy of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, shooter Adam Lanza murdered 20 children and 6 teachers. Some people look at this event as a terrible tragedy because it struck them emotionally that 20 children had died. Others look at this event as a tragedy because it is rare, one of kind freak accident that definitely does not happen every day, or even years. According to, the chance of a random shooting to occur at any elementary school in the U.S is 1 in 88,962, and the chance of any elementary school child getting killed is roughly 1 in 23 million. This is less than the chance of hitting a jackpot for an average lottery which is at 1 in 15 million. Wayne LaPierre, who is the National Rifle Association’s vice…show more content…
To maximize the effect of pathos, rather than using bad guys and criminals, LaPierre uses words like “monsters” and “predators” to provoke fear. Doing so creates a sense of urgency among his audience that something must be done to save these little children and that is exactly what LaPierre aimed for as he later proposes a solution for this problem. LaPierre’s choice of words such as “monsters” and “predators” definitely helps to contribute success in his use of pathos as it effectively demonstrates the danger their children faces. However, the reason why his pathos works extraordinarily well is because of the audience, who are made of NRA’s supporters and victims of the Newtown shooting. In other words, the audience basically would have agreed with LaPierre despite what he says as long it is what they want to hear which is putting down the bad guys or the “monsters” and empathizing for the children. Nonetheless, this strategy will have its flaws when where the audience is less personally involved and is able to read the transcript. In that case, people’s emotions will become harder to manipulate as LaPierre loses the ability to put his voice in the reader’s head, and so the readers are able to form opinions with their own brains rather than LaPierre telling them what to think. In the end, pathos works wonder for LaPierre when he is able to speak directly to the audience but not so effective when it is being read from a paper.
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