Reading towards writing

Does it sound strange? It should not, at least for me 🙂 . It sounds like “Listening towards speaking”, when I listen to others speaking English, most of the time I’ll try to capture what expressions they are using, such as “roll up and deal with it”, or “Down the hall then take your right” (what we would say is: Go straight down this hallway then turn left). “Way to go” to a good English speaker, tho 🙂

Okay, the phrases above is just good for speaking, and maybe regional terms, too. For writing we have to read quite a lot. Frankly, I’m a super lazy reader. That is the reason why I know how to become good in writing, but never could I produce a nice paragraph 😀

Alright. So what? In books for TOEFL there are plenty of advices about reading. They tell us to read from NYTimes, USAToday, Reader’s Digest, etc. (at least the books I got said so), especially from the Opinion, or Op Ed part… Well I tried it, but I didn’t learn much from those articles. One reason, I’m slow :D. Second reason: those whose writing is published on these popular newspapers/magazines should be very good at formal writing, while I’m too far from that.

Just recently I have found intermediate level articles that I really enjoy reading, learn from, and hopefully you, too. They are school newspapers, where students write for themselves. Their writing should be closer to ours. We have The Spectrum in our school, SUNY at Buffalo. There is also MIT Admission Blogs. And I believe other schools have theirs, too.

To start, I would like to invite you to try one article from The Spectrum, about the controversal right to carry gun in America. Personally I don’t like the idea of allowing citizens to be armed. But the guy support himself really good, and we can learn a lot about writing from his article.


My turn

The right of individuals and students to protect themselves
MARK W. WEBB – UB School of Management Sophomore

In this fair country of ours, it would seem that the majority of the people consider some of our constitutional rights as more important or more sacred than others. For example, no one, except for the die-hard enemies of democracy, would challenge the first amendment rights of citizens to freedom of speech, religion, and the press. On the other hand, a great multitude of individuals and politicians seem to dismiss the Second Amendment, the right of all Americans to keep and bear arms.

Compared to the general public today, our founding fathers felt much differently about this important issue. They understood that people had a right to live, a right to defend their life, and the right to live it as they saw fit. In fact, they felt so strongly about an individual’s rights to this that they said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Even today, I believe many would be hard-pressed to say that an individual is not entitled to such things; so how is it that “we the people” are so lightly surrendering our right to defend our lives?

In the light of such incidents as the recent campus shooting at Northern Illinois University and the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007, people are quick to blame guns and the “obsession” America has with them. Many use such incidents to fuel anti-gun legislation and brainwash and/or force good, law-abiding citizens to relinquish their rights by banning firearms. You may not know it, but there exist a number of so-called “Gun-Free Zones” all across America. These include universities, some government offices, primary and secondary schools, along with many others depending on the state. In fact, you’re most likely in a Gun-Free Zone (UB) while you’re reading this. These zones force law-abiding citizens, with otherwise completely legitimate and official permits to carry concealed firearms for their protection and the protection of others, to leave their legal weapons at home. You may be inclined to think that this is a good thing: “the fewer guns the better, right?” Well, if you’re talking about criminals, yes: the fewer the better – I’m with you; however, if you’re talking about law-abiding citizens who know how to handle a gun safely and properly, then absolutely not. “Gun-Free Zones” and related laws DO NOT stop criminals from carrying out their illegal and murderous acts – they only prevent good law-abiding citizens from defending themselves and others. The murderers of Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, and many others planned to kill the innocent and then themselves; why would they bother obeying a “Gun-Free Zone” if they’re already going to commit murder and don’t plan on living more than a minute or two past their sickening acts anyway?

In the end we must recognize we cannot stop insane people intent on committing insane actions, no matter what laws or legislation are passed. We see shootings at schools because the politicians and the government have disarmed good citizens, and hence offered up a flock of sheep to the slaughter – a place where the likes of Eric Harris, Cho, and Steven Kazmierczak can kill without worrying whether or not their victims are armed. We may feel safe, but campus police and even the regular police are not everywhere at once, and the casualty rates of such shootings prove this. If lawful students/faculty with proper licensing and training sufficient for everywhere outside such zones, could carry their firearms onto campuses, these shootings would be fewer in number and the number of victims would drastically decrease. We should not wait for these killers to finish their work and commit suicide. We should be defending ourselves in kind. All of us have a right to defend our lives, 24/7 and 365 – regardless of what those in Albany say.

Remember the victims of “Gun-Free Zones” and use your First Amendment Rights to stand up for the Second Amendment. In this “Gun-Free Zone” at the University of Buffalo, it’s a big step towards the only defense we have in the face of madmen at the moment of truth.


One Response

  1. I agree, the best way of learning to write is reading. Thank you for the idea of reading school newspapers, it makes sense. Maybe reading less formal english makes it easier.

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