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Molly Ivins' Argument in 'Get a Knife, Get a Dog, But Get Rid of Guns'

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At different points of American History, deliberations attributed to the bearing of arms have resulted in heated debates with opposing sides criticizing each other perceptions while simultaneously providing extensive evidence in support of their views. While most of these debates have been ignored by most proceedings over the recent years they have depict a need for a comprehensive involvement of the American community. The arguments for the need and want of gun control have always been presented with unrealistic, absurd and irrational ideas and recommendations, however equally those on the opposite side of the argument have steadfastly ignored compromise or willingness to regulate firearms despite tragedies ranging from school shootings to extreme terrorist attacks. As such Molly Ivins uses mockery, humor, sense, and basic common sense to reach her readers in an equal call for compromise from both sides involved in gun control in order for a positive end from a critical means. Today, the right to bear arms or the Second Amendment to the United States can be deemed as both a symbolic gesticulation of civil autonomies and a perceptible skirmish aimed at the preservation of a person’s original liberties. The pioneers and the founding fathers of America argued for the necessity of firearms as a potential hindrance of monarchy rule. However, in the contemporary environment, the prevalent issues, for instance, increased cases of homicide, terrorism, and different forms of organized crime, have contributed to a different perception with anti-gun communities advocating for the enforcement of strict limitations and banning depending on the issue. The efforts by Molly Ivins to address the topic through “Get a Knife, Get a Dog, But Get Rid of Guns” cannot be overlooked. Comparably, she explores gun control laws and defends her view that the guns should be banned or at a minimum, have austere restrictions. This paper critically evaluates Molly Ivin’s perspective based on a thorough summary of the key constructs and comprehensive analysis of the different elements covered through her work.

Despite the fact that the Ivin’s topic depicts a distasteful perspective against guns, the context of her work shows that she is more focused on expressing a logical appeal. The comprehensive argument she uses is not only unique but use a writing style that can only be described as a consolidation of logic, comedy, and sarcasm. Admirably, she exploits the writing style exception through the utilization of lines such as, “I am not antigun. I am pro-knife” (Ivins n.p.). At first, the statement appears strange since the larger part of the essay focuses mainly on the complications surrounding unregulated gun ownership. However, it is her way of introducing the comedic style utilized in the formulation of arguments about the often loose interpretation of the Second Amendment. The foundation of her argument is the Second Amendment’s statement that a well-regulated militia can bear arms, Ivin denotes that “Fourteen-year-old boys are not part of a well-regulated militia” (Ivins n.p.). The sarcasm-fused comedy is mainly prevalent through the narrative by Ivins but it does not act as a hindrance towards her bringing out her points and arguments on the sensitive topic.

Even with the unconventional implements, Ivins is consistent in providing a pattern of solid evidence and witty retorts to her arguments all through. At some point, she uses an unprecedented approach by quoting the popular film Jurassic Park in bringing out her points on the risk of possessing power without any form of discipline. Such elements assist the audience in associating with the imperative nature of the subject matter on a more individual level. The ending of the essay is subtle as highlighted by the lines, “Ban the damn things. Ban them all. You want protection, get a dog” (Ivins n.p.). It is an impressive mixture of humor, blunt dare, and a call for action, which undoubtedly strikes emotion in the reader while simultaneously inspiring the promptness for change.

The deliberations attributed to gun control and outcomes such as murder and death cannot be taken lightly, which despite the use of comedy, Ivins does not treat it as such and even goes a step further by highlighting the inherent risks of the matter. Despite the essay referring to an extended period, the adversities explicated are relatable to the readers of today, particularly given the heights the debate of gun control has achieved (Ivins n.p.). In fact, at some point, it appears as if Ivins is indirectly highlighting other contemporary problems, for instance, the frivolous outline of the benefits of knives as a substitute seems to counter both bearing arms and obesity. While trying to justify her knife analogy, Ivins says “a general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness” (Ivins n.p.). Even though the humor makes her work entertainment, it also applies to making her argument less attractive to people who stand for the other side of her argument. The mockery posed towards the supporters of gun use makes Ivins appear irrelevant and unworthy to them. Matter of fact, the approach could make her “pro-gun” readers view her work as unconvincing and inconsequential. Gala (par.2) criticizes the informal nature of Ivins’ approach by making a comparison between her and the legendary Martin Luther King. He notes that the effectiveness of Martin Luther King’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ is due to that fact that he addressed the opposition with respect and even goes further by complementing some of the arguments. However, Ivins seems aware of such possibilities and the formulation of such perceptions by the audience but she sticks to her comedy influenced script, which makes her perspective on gun control interesting and worth the read.

Nonetheless, it is impossible to overlook the shortages in her perspective as influenced by the overtone of the piece, that is, they prevented Ivins from developing the much-needed authority. For instance, at a point in the excerpt, she states that the typical pro-gun phrase “guns do not kill people” is “patent nonsense,” (Ivins n.p.). As much as this comes out as an attempt to bring out her stand on the issue, she goes ahead to contradict her arguments in the subsequent sentences through the utilization of a rhetorical question. As it would appear, she intends to support her notion about gun control and the utilization of knives and dogs as substitutes but one would clearly highlight the neglect of the opposing side’s arguments. In addition to showing a sort of disrespect to the opposition as highlighted earlier, she barely considers some of their strong points (Ivins n.p.). Arguably, given the magnitude of the matter and the platform used to address, there is some weight in the notion that the intention of Ivins was more focused on entertaining the readers. It appears as if she is trying to convince the masses on the need for gun control and more specifically, the need for restrictions and limitation but her excessive comics and banter derails her articulation. It is hard for the reader to maintain a serious position throughout the paper given the augmented shallow counter-arguments to stubble positions and relative attacks do not completely bring out the compelling case required for the subject real-world argument. Statements such as “gun nuts” and “psychosexual hang-ups” do not leave sufficient room for deserved satisfaction and expression.

In conclusion, anti-gun activists such as Ivins have become popular in the modern world and their reasoning and arguments are justified. There is a need for the restrictions highlighted by Ivins in her perspective. Despite the high security and initiatives focusing on the constructive reduction of arms bearers, negative incidents, and unnecessary actions still prevail from the school shooting to the extremist attacks. Ivins puts so much into influencing an understanding of this significant topic by locating augmented information in both the title and the content of her essay. Her sentiments and thesis are clear from the start even with the prevalence of hidden associations that could potentially mislead the reader. Her conclusions that knife and dogs could easily replace the guns as forms of alternative protection appear far-fetched but create relatable situations and an atmosphere where the readers feel they can also play a role in the issue. The words and inferences facilitate uncustomary perceptions or deductions among readers. Based on Ivins’ perspective everyone understands the negative side of bearing arms but she advocates for an unconventional framework of more responsible based on limitations and advanced screening purchases. Definitely, even with her influence, the presentation of information could have been more complete and rigid. The author made a excess of points but the reader does not realize the full benefits due to the amplified sarcasm, comedy, and biases that overlooked the counter-arguments and the collective point of view from the opposition. Even though guns are primarily for safety, there is a need for interventions that spark more responsibility.

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Molly Ivins’ Argument In ‘Get A Knife, Get A Dog, But Get Rid Of Guns’. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from
“Molly Ivins’ Argument In ‘Get A Knife, Get A Dog, But Get Rid Of Guns’.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
Molly Ivins’ Argument In ‘Get A Knife, Get A Dog, But Get Rid Of Guns’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Sept. 2022].
Molly Ivins’ Argument In ‘Get A Knife, Get A Dog, But Get Rid Of Guns’ [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2022 Sept 29]. Available from:
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