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SAMPLE PAPERS- WITH COMMENTS

 

CAN YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FIRST AND SECOND DRAFTS OF THIS PAPER?  THE FINAL DRAFT ISN'T PERFECT, BUT IT IS A SUBSTANTIAL STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.  (THE FINAL DRAFT COULD BETTER DEVELOP THE ARGUMENT AGAINST DISCRIMINATING AGAINST SOMEONE BECAUSE OF A CHARACTERISTIC HE (OR SHE) HAS THAT THEY CANNOT CONTROL AND WHICH DOES NOT RESULT IN HARM TO OTHERS.)

 

Gays and the Boy Scouts

10-11-00

 

            "It is the nature of a man as he grows older"to protest against change, particularly change for the better."  From it's beginning in 1910, The Boy Scouts of America, BSA, have been teaching young men the value of "honesty, friendliness, kindness, and fair play."   But have they lived up to this credo?  The recent lawsuits by gay BSA members have shown that they do not. 

Mr. Kontorovich, a strong supporter of the BSA's decision to exclude gays, protested in a 1998 issue of National Review against this "bombardment" of lawsuits. "If the courts find in favor of the plaintiffs in the undecided cases, the meaning of the Boy Scouts will be greatly eroded."

I believe we should protest against this organization's "old-fashioned" ideas.  It's own bylaws even state, "we have made a commitment that our membership shall be representative of all the population in every community, district, and council." Of course one's sexual orientation and gender identity are the exception to the rule. The negative stereotypes and attitudes practiced by the Boy Scouts of America are detrimental to all youth, and by excluding certain individuals from the BSA it is only "erodes" their self-esteem. Everyone has the right to join any group or organization they wish, and it is these organizations that will benefit because of it. 

Allowing "non-traditional" member into the scouts will only help the BSA.  By allowing more members into the BSA, new ideas can develop; ideas that will improve the program and serve a more diverse community.  The BSA wants to shape America's young men.  What better way to do this than by having an organization that embraces the people of the era?

 

 

Gays and the Boy Scouts

10-23-00

 

From its beginning in 1910, The Boy Scouts of America, or BSA, has been teaching young men the value of "honesty, friendliness, kindness, and fair play."   But have they lived up to this credo?  The recent actions by the BSA against gay Americans have shown that they do not. 

 

A Mr. Kontorovich, a strong supporter of the BSA's decision to exclude gays, protested in a 1998 issue of National Review against the "bombardment" of lawsuits.   According to him, "If the courts find in favor of the plaintiffs in the gay scout cases, the meaning of the Boy Scouts will be greatly eroded." Is this because the BSA will no longer get to teach youth some of its outdated values like homosexuality isn't "morally straight"?

 

I believe we should protest against this organization's "old-fashioned" ideas.  Its own bylaws even state, "We have made a commitment that our membership shall be representative of all the population in every community, district, and council." Today when many scientists believe that homosexuality is genetically determined, the BSA still believes a boy's sexual orientation is the exception to its bylaws.  If genes do play a major role in sexuality, than homosexuality is not an immoral decision but more a matter of one's makeup, of one's individual "wiring."  And there is no good reason to consider gays to be "immoral" just because of their sexual orientation.  The Catholic Church, for example, does not consider homosexuality itself to be immoral.

 

A person's genetic makeup should not give others an excuse to inflict harm on them.  If a gay boy shows potential to make a positive difference in his community, than why can't he join the BSA?  As long as he does not hurt anyone physically or psychologically, why shouldn't he be allowed to join any male group or organization?  These organizations will also benefit because they will include more of the male population.

 

By allowing a greater variety of people into the BSA, better promote its ideals. If the BSA wants to shape and educate America's young men and encourage them to be tolerant of differences in others, the best way to accomplish this is through accepting mankind's natural diversity by including gays in the organization. 

 

The controversy over the "morning after" birth control pill

In the article, "FDA approves marketing of 'morning-after' pills," Cheryl Weltzstein gives a brief description of the new "birth control" pill, "PREVEN," that has recently been approved by the FDA. According to the article, the pill has to be taken within 72 hours of intercourse and it is used as emergency contraception; it won't work if a woman already is pregnant. The author argues that this pill doesn't cause an abortion, but just prevents the implantation of the fertilized egg or embryo. To strengthen her argument, the author says that PREVEN is not like the French abortion pill (RU-486), which is used to end a pregnancy several weeks after it has begun.

I disagree with her argument, because since PREVEN prevents the implantation of a fertilized egg or embryo, it's in a way an abortion. The baby might have not grown yet, because it hasn't been given the chance to grow, but it is still a human life at the very beginning stage. It's as if you are in your boat in the middle of the ocean and you see a man drowning a few meters away from your boat, but you don't help him. Will you later on say: "Well, I didn't kill the man! I just didn't let him on my boat..."?

If the author agrees that the French pill is an abortion pill, then the next-day pill is also an abortion pill, because according to the article, the first one blocks the effects of a hormone necessary to maintain pregnancy and similarly the latter hardens the lining of the womb so that the fertilized egg or embryo cannot implant. In the first case it's as if you cause suffocation to your baby and in the second case it's as if you put nails in your baby's bed; the result is still the same.

I agree that PREVEN is a better solution than the traditional abortion, where the embryo might feel pain and fear, but I still believe that this is another type of abortion. In my opinion, killing a baby on the first day or at the fourth month of the pregnancy, you still take away a human life!

THE "MAN DROWNING" EXAMPLE PROBABLY WORKS BETTER THAN THE "BABY" EXAMPLES.-BUT, IN GENERAL, GOOD USE OF EXAMPLES.

 

FLAG BURNING

This paper needs some "cleaning up," but it presents a good argument. The writer's use of examples to make his/her point is especially effective. ­R.P.

Actions Can Speak Louder Than Words

In an article entitled "Flag burning makes vague statements," Merrill Mathews Jr. [does not feel­SUBSTITUTE: "CONCLUDES"] that congress or the states DO NOT need to pass laws that would ban forms of political expression, such as flag desecration. He believes that if U.S. citizens have a problem with what the United States is doing, they should say so, rather than burn the U.S. flag. According to Mathews, people could be motivated to burn a flag for various reasons such as they believe that the government is flawed, that the country does not take care of the less fortunate, or that the United States is not what it used to be. For him the only way to effectively address these issues is to talk about them. He feels that burning a flag, in order to express these concerns, is ambiguous. Though he doesn't feel that there is a need for a law that would ban flag burning, he does emphasize that verbal communication, rather than nonverbal communication, is a more effective way to deal with issues because it leaves no room for ambiguity.
[THIS FIRST PARAGRAPH COULD BE CLEARER....]

I disagree with Mathews when he says that nonverbal communication
is an ineffective method for dealing with problematic issues. I feel that both verbal and nonverbal communication can be effective and that, in many instances, actions speak louder than words. Some examples where actions are effectively used in place of words are when military soldiers solute their commanders, when U.S. citizens place their hands over their hearts during the recitation of The Pledge of Allegiance, and when pink ribbons are worn to show support of breast cancer awareness. As long as these actions do not harm others, nonverbal communication can, AT LEAST IN SOME INSTANCES, produce better results than verbal communication. It would be harmful to our society if we were limited to only one method for expressing our thoughts and ideas, which is why it is my belief that if burning a flag is what it takes to make a point, [it is acceptable to do. ­BETTER: "IT SHOULD BE ACCEPTABLE."]

 

Death Penalty

This is potentially an "A" paper.

Eugene Kennedy, author and professor emeritus at Loyola University, wrote an article for the National Catholic Reporter in which he tries to explain that the death penalty is moral if only for the reason that it restores peace of mind to the families of the murderer's victim. First Kennedy writes about the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. He critiques how the church publicly proclaims an anti-death penalty stance, yet is willing to send innocent men to die by the thousands for what it sees as "just wars" such as fighting the spread of evil Nazism. The majority of the article focuses on the victim's families. Kennedy writes that when a member of a family is murdered, the other members have a piece of themselves ripped away and an empty hole remains. Time can not [CANNOT] heal the wounds, but Kennedy seems to feel that [watching the death--A BIT AWKWARD?] of the man that caused the pain will.
This is a very interesting argument, but it fails to consider many points. First of all, Kennedy keeps speaking of the victim's family. If the state murders the murderer, it has created a new victim's family. The man may be a murderer, but [they are still his family and they are--AWKWARD; REPLACE WITH: "HIS FAMILY IS] still going to feel the same pain [of losing a part of their family--AWKWARD; DELETE THIS PHRASE] as the victim's family, [TRY READING ALOUD THIS PART OF THE SENTENCE AS YOU HAVE WRITTEN IT AND AFTER MAKING THE CHANGES I'VE SUGGESTED....] especially if the murderer's family maintains his/her innocence. Also, what if the victim's family does not believe in the death penalty and does not want the convicted PERSON to be put to death? They already have to live with the memory OF one murder; maybe they do not want to live with the memory of another. [GOOD POINT!] Kennedy also mentions the "eye for an eye" [idea--IS "CONCEPT" BETTER THAN "IDEA" HERE?]. He insists that seeing the death of a murderer is not revenge because "it issues into peace restored and life recovered." [NOT COMPLETELY CLEAR?] So it is all right to watch a man die as long as it brings someone peace. What if a man decided to take justice into his own hands and kill someone that had hurt his child? Would that be okay since the murder gave his wife peace?


Death Penalty

As it stands, this is an "F" paper. It is both poorly written and it does not present a clear summary of at least a part of the article OR a coherent argument.

WHAT ARTICLE ARE YOU SUMMARIZING. (YOU NEED TO START WITH A CLEAR SUMMARY....)

The death penalty is a topic that is controversial that wouldn't be around in a perfect society because murders wouldn't happen. [AWKWARD--TRY READING ALOUD....] Since we don't live in a perfect society the death penalty is [among--AWKWARD] our society. This article talks about death row inmates, how the elected officials [give] death sentences to [give--TOO MANY "GIVES"] their own carrier a boost, and also talks about what the death penalty has done to murder rates where the death penalty is legal. [AWKWARD.....]
In the article it states an anti-terrorism act that passed into law, which [ barley­SPELLING!] allows the man to have his case heard again, I think that it is unconstitutional. [SENTENCE IS VERY AWKWARD--READ ALOUD] In a democratic system this should not happen because there [is--ARE] checks and balances, and in the court system you can appeal all the way up to the Federal Supreme Court, if they will [here--SPELLING] your case. The article also states that a Texas judge was elected [into--"TO," NOT "INTO"] office because "he swore to uphold more death sentences", even though "he had misrepresented his own qualifications, had been fined for practicing law without a license, and virtually no criminal experience". [AWKWARD--AT LEAST ONE WORD IS MISSING....] This relates to class through one of our test questions, "Persuading only honest people to run for office", and the answer was that this was clearly not realistic. This is not realistic because of human nature, and that we don't live in a perfect world. [WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE DEATH PENALTY TOPIC?] We all have different opinions about the death penalty, but one thing that is a sure bet[, DELETE THE COMMA] is that it wouldn't be around in a perfect society. [YOU NEED TO STICK TO ONE POINT....] The death penalty is there to stop people from killing other human beings [on purpose­NOT NECESSARY], but that is what the death penalty does to humans [NOT CLEAR], so we see that the death penalty is not the solution but adding to the problem. WHY / HOW DOES IT ADD TO THE PROBLEM....? YOU NEED TO EXPLAIN, NOT JUST ASSERT....

YOU DEFINITELY NEED TO WORK ON YOUR WRITING! YOU NEED TO PRESENT A SINGLE, CLEAR ARGUMENT TO THE READER. (YOU CAN IMPROVE--TRY READING ALOUD. ALSO, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU GO TO THE UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR LEARNING ASSISTANCE. THEY CAN HELP YOU!

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