Political Writing Example: "The Five Components of Gun Violence" From RandiRhodes.com
From time to time, newsworthy events happen that clearly demand a response from anyone involved in a media outlet that regularly discusses news events. In December of 2012, the obvious event that demanded a response from news-based shows like "The Randi Rhodes Show" was the mass shooting death at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday, December 14, 2012.
While the show that day did engage in blanket discussion of the terrible event and the political issues surrounding it, no one on the show's small staff had time to address the issue on the show's website until after that day's broadcast. Further, as the show's host and executive producer were scheduled to begin their holiday vacation immediately after that Friday show ended, it was left to Shawn to adequately cover the shooting on the show's website.
Based on the discussion on that Friday's show, and links garnered from legitimate news-based resources, Shawn wrote the following piece which was not only featured the following broadcast day, but also became a generally agreed upon framework that multiple other media organizations began using without referencing.
Feel free to read the piece below, and see if you agree with it yourself.
On December 14, 2012, just after 9:30 AM, a gunman opened fire on a classroom of first graders, killing 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
This was hardly the first major incident of gun violence - or the first mass shooting in America - in 2012.
Sadly, it's only one of thousands of acts of gun violence in our nation annually. Sixty-two acts of gun violence in the last thirty years have been mass shootings, killing four or more people. Fifteen of the twenty-five worst mass shootings in the world over the last fifty years took place in America, with five of them happening since 2007.
It wasn't always this way, in America. So, why the increase in mass shootings, in situations where the shooters weren't actively involved in activities like drug deals or bank robberies? The facts to point five general reasons:
Ineffective Gun Safety Laws
No one is honestly suggesting we take all the guns away. But the statistics make it clear - the gun safety laws America currently has on the books don't work effectively. That shouldn't surprise anyone, since virtually every gun safety law we have in America was specifically tweaked by lobbyists for the benefit of gun manufacturers - not to keep gun users safe. We need better, more effective gun safety laws - something that about 85% of non-NRA gun owners agree and about 75% of NRA members agree with.
Sub-Optimal Mental Health Care System
Our mental health care system bears a great deal of responsibility for our culture of gun violence in America. While ObamaCare will be improving it greatly in the coming years, the fact is, it's been less than optimal for a long time. For a nation that is both the most heavily armed nation in the world and the most violent, poor mental health care is a primary causal factor for many kinds of violence, including gun violence.
Corrupt Lobbying And Political Finance System
As previously noted, three quarters of NRA members want more effective gun safety laws. Yet the primary lobbying organization for gun rights in America - the NRA - obviously doesn't care what their membership wants. As a lobbying organization, they've made it clear through their actions that their primary goal is to make millions of dollars a year to spend on political campaigns - not to make guns safer to own. Americans must reform our lobbying and political contribution laws, and get large sums of dark money out of their prominent role, if we're going to solve the problem of gun violence in America.
Questionable Media Ethics
We glorify violence in our entertainment media, and run like cowards in dealing with it responsibly in our news media. Both kinds of media are in serious need of official ethical standards and practices. As members of the media, we must put getting it right above getting it first. That includes in the types of programs we broadcast, and the way we sell media content.
Poverty & Inequality
While our economy is improving, we can't ignore the the toll the recession has take on families over the past few years. It's a proven fact - income inequality is a factor in the increased number of murders we have. We have parents who work three jobs, but they can barely keep a roof above the heads of their families, let alone parent well. Being able to earn a living wage - and give parents the time to guide their children properly - should be an American right, not an unreachable goal.
The facts are simple and clear. If we want gun violence to decrease in America, gun safety laws WILL have to get better. So will mental health care. So will our media ethics, and our political funding system, and our economy.
We can do better. It's long past time that we did.