A Clashing Of Opinions Essay

1313 words - 6 pages

The “Mosaics: Reading and Writing Essays” textbook includes two essays with differing views on the effectiveness of anti-loitering laws. Richard Willard shares his opinion that anti-loitering laws are effective tools that discourage gang activity in his essay, “Anti-Loitering Laws Can Reduce Gang Violence.” He asserts that alternative methods of punishing gang members only cause them to develop animosity for police that leads to more trouble. Alternatively, “Anti-Loitering Laws Are Ineffective and Biased,” an essay written by David Cole, presents the view that these laws are a form of discrimination. Both authors support their opinions with statistics and previous examples of anti-loitering ...view middle of the document...

He explains that harsh punishments given to gang members can increase the level of gang violence. In the eighth paragraph of his essay he writes, “…delinquency may be seen as “status-enhancing.” As penalties grow more severe, lawbreaking gives increasing status.” This ideology hinges on the fact that a gang member often increases his rank by completing a task. These tasks can easily be assigned a value based on the punishment given by authorities to offenders. It is not hard to see that with harsher punishments the value of a crime would also increase for delinquents.
Willard also makes a good case supporting the use of anti-loitering laws. He includes specific examples of how anti-loitering laws limit gang activity. He states, “Gang anti-loitering laws do this, for example, by “authorizing police to disperse known gang members when they congregate in public places” or by “directly prohibiting individuals from displaying gang allegiance through distinctive gestures or clothing.” In these ways anti-loitering laws allow law enforcement officers to effectively lower the influence of a gang in a given area.
The author does a relatively good job of relating not only his own opinion but also supporting facts to the reader. He keeps his tone neutral which makes his essay unlikely to offend the reader. This means makes the chance of his essay convincing the reader that anti-loitering laws are effective is much more probable.
The opposing essay, “Anti-Loitering Laws Are Ineffective and Biased,” presents the topic in a much more offensive manner. The author, David Cole, presents his opinion as completely correct. When he presents the views of those who oppose him, he shows his offense at their claims. He does not acknowledge that part of the opposition’s argument may be true; instead, he states “The arguments fail.” This blatant ignorance of their opinions’ base only serves to also offend a reader who may not already share Cole’s view of anti-loitering laws.
The author strives to enrage his reader while convincing them of his point of view. He states that “Chicago calls the offense “gang loitering,” but it might more candidly be termed “standing while black.” Ultimately he uses the issue of racism to support his negative view of anti-loitering laws. He makes the generalization that the police who enforce the laws do so in a discriminatory manner. If the police who enforce the laws are unbiased, then his argument is unfounded.
Cole also directly attacks Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s policies in New York City. He claims that forces were focused on the inner city where minorities were adversely affected. Though others claim that these policies actually helped the safety of the inner city regions, the author dismisses these arguments as garbage. Paragraph 4 of his essay says “it is far from clear…that minority communities generally favor “quality of life” policing efforts that send so many of their residents to jail.”
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