Visual Argument Essay

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Gun control has been a huge controversial topic in recent years, jumping in and out of the eye of the mainstream news media, depending on how often gun violence had come up. Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of December 2012, gun control has been one of the most disputed topics. President Barack Obama recently passed a new gun laws, and on January 30th, 2013, the Vice President of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, testified before the U.S. Senate. Editorial cartoonist Adam Zyglis, whose cartoons are internationally syndicated, had created a cartoon with commentary on that specific testimony. The argument of the piece is that the NRA is a major part of the gun violence problem in the United States. Zyglis may have pleased his audience with similar views on the topic, but he may not be changing anybody’s mind if they do not hold a more liberal stance on the topic to begin with.

The rhetorical devices of imagery and detail are used heavily in this picture. The gun is portrayed as a large, scary device, with certain aspects exaggerated such as the size of the magazine. LaPierre is drawn as very angry and hostile, holding the gun with a very hyperbolized crazy look on his face. The most noticeable detail in the picture is the gun’s scope looking back at LaPierre, adding irony behind his spoken statement, “Let’s focus on the source of our gun problem...”. LaPierre also seems completely oblivious to the fact that the scope is pointed back at himself, which seems to imply that the NRA is almost “blind” to the problem. Another detail is how LaPierre is using gun violence to try to stop gun violence, something that shows a lack of logic within the NRA, and there is the idea that they have the wrong ideals and methods when it comes to dealing with problems involving gun laws. All of these pieces of detail and imagery shape Zyglis’ argument-- he believes the NRA is a major part of the gun violence problem.

The only clear rhetorical strategy...
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