National Rifle Association


After studying Maxwell it is very apparent that
interpretation of a problem in politics is something that
cannot be done very loosely. Without closely following some
of Maxwell's Problem Solving Rationality, political
problems, along with problems that occur every day, can
easily be escalated, disruptive and can take a very long
time to be settled. People who report on political subjects
also have to follow these rules when interpreting an
incident in order to write a fair and just article for both
arguments. To demonstrate this need the following incident
was researched.
Recently, on May 17, 1995, a political conflict occurred
when the NRA (National Rifleman's Association) released a
fundraising statement which called many federal law
enforcement agents "jackbooted government thugs,".(Detroit
Free Press, Pg 1) An apology to all law enforcement
agencies by the Vice President of the NRA quickly followed
the statement's release. The media quickly picked up on the
incident and reported to the public what happened. Using
three different articles from three different authors and
Maxwell's Problem Solving Rationality it was easy to see
who was being a fair reporter and who was distorting the
incident into something else.
The Detroit Free Press's Lori Montgomery reported on the
incident. In the article Ms. Montgomery mainly mentions the
NRA's problems which have occurred in the past. Her many
quotes from NRA members who have gone pro-gun control and
statements from some anti-gun control extremists make the
NRA look like a bunch of gun crazy lunatics. Although this
seems to be the article which uses the largest amount of
data and facts most of these facts are those which, in the
eyes of the NRA, heighten the bad and lessen the good of
the incident. She did not show any particular problem to
solve and even lead away from the problem at hand just to
get her pro-gun control opinion and propaganda across to
her readers. 

A much more reasonable and fair description of events was
given by USA Today's columnist Mimi Hall. In this article
Ms. Hall centers around the problem of how the NRA is going
to handle and react to the loss of one of it's most
treasured members, President George Bush. She uses many
quotes and interviews many well known gun control activists
and anti-gun control lobbyists to help answer the questions
readers may have. This article seems to be the most
scientific of the three. Here Ms. Hall uses statistics to
come up with and support a solution to the problem at hand.
In this article Hall clearly demonstrates problem solving
skills and dissociates the human and scientific questions
and reports on them individually. For instance she states
that although the NRA has lost some members from it's
statement against law enforcement it has in fact increased
because of the publicity. She also makes it clear that even
through this event has been frowned upon by many, many
others have rallied because of it. She clearly keeps her
personal feelings out of these questions and only reports
on what seems to be clear facts. 

Another very fair and interesting article was published in
Newsweek. This article was a very short piece that was
practically a summary of Mimi Hall's article in USA Today.
It dealt with the same main problem that the USA Today
article found and it also quickly showed the NRA's loss and
gains from taking such a harsh stand. It showed a respect
for both gun control and anti-gun control views. Although
this was a very short column it was quite complete in
describing the incidents which happened.
Data and Facts can and does affect our understanding of
science to an extreme. However, after reading the Detroit
Free Press piece, in which Ms. Montgomery used great
amounts of data and facts to make the NRA seem in more
disarray than is true, it's clear that data can be used for
or against our understanding. In order for this data to
help the author must use problem solving skills and
dissociate personal feelings from these facts. Not using
these skills will make a problem harder to solve,
understand, and could even escalate the problem into
something larger.
"Mixed News", Newsweek, issued May 22, 1995, Page 4.
"NRA Defends Shift Toward Militancy", Detroit Free Press,
Issued May 19, 1995, Page 1
"NRA Under Fire", USA Today, Issued May 18, 1995, Page 1
In order to be completely fair in the writing of this paper
local law enforcement, gun control lobbyists and the NRA
was contacted for information and opinions on this
political event.

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