Kristof vs. Bambi The purpose of “For Environmental Balance, Pick Up a Rifle” by Nicholas D. Kristof is to inform the reader that deer are causing death and destruction all across America and to persuade the reader to believe the only way to end this is to hunt deer. Kristof begins the essay by grabbing our attention proving deer are over populated, destroying the ecosystem, and killing Americans in car crashes every year. He then leads us to his thesis “Let’s bring back hunting. ” Kristof notes that these days many people view hunting as cruel and brutal and are opting for other methods for deer control now due to their sympathy for deer.
He believes methods such as birth control are a waste of time and money and if something does not change soon it is only going to get worse. Kristof also proves in his essay that there has been a significant decline of hunting stating, “For every hundred hunters who die or stop hunting, only sixty-nine hunters take their place” (pg. 183). He wants us to know while you can be sympathetic to the deer we have an environmental imbalance, a serious problem and the only way to solve it is to put feelings aside and hunt. Kristof then offers us another way to look at hunting. That it is environmentally friendly.
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He even goes on to say, “It connects people with the outdoors and creates a broader constituency for wilderness prevention” and makes sure to note “At a time when America is goggled away with logging, mining, or oil drilling” (pg. 183), which touches the hearts of environmentalists. Kristof gives us two options in this essay: sit back and feel sorry for the deer that may kill you and your planet, or accept that hunting is normal and instinctive and to pick up your rifle and restore environmental balance. The situation prompting Kristof to write this article was the over population of deer that is continuing to grow.
I think this essay was wrote to inform readers of the over population of deer and the destruction they are causing. He also notes in this text that hunters are on the decline perhaps proving this is one factor that is contributing to the over population of deer. This essay was published in the New York Times and I don’t believe this article was aimed toward a specific audience. Most of his readers are probably from the city and could really care less about deer population. They probably found the article funny but I doubt any of them were persuaded.
Kristof makes it clear in this essay what the main purpose of him writing the article is, which is to inform the reader about the deer problem and attempt to persuade the reader to agree with him that American’s need to bring back hunting. Kristof also gives facts throughout the text to back up some information on the issue. He uses a lot of research and data to inform the readers of the deer problem. For instance, he notes in the text a study done for the insurance industry which states “deer kill about 150 people a year in car crashes nationwide and cause $1 billion in damage. ” (pg. 83) This is very convincing that there is a deer problem and I feel this evidence is credible. However when Kristof discusses attempts other than hunting to control the deer population he doesn’t explain them fully and tells us they don’t work with no evidence to back up his claim. For example Kristof tells us about some towns that are experimenting with deer birth control then states “Deer contraception hasn’t been very successful, though. ”(pg. 183) And we are just taking his word for it, he gives us no real evidence that this method doesn’t work. This also happens to be an example of my next topic that I found with the text.
I found one Strong fallacy that Kristof uses to try to persuade his audience. It is called special pleading or stacking the deck, this involves using arguments that support your position but ignoring arguments against. Kristof does this in a way that was not easy to catch right away. He does give the reader other solutions for the issue but does not explain those good enough to really understand or see why they are not good options, he just tells us they are. Making this entire essay a fallacy showing only his arguments and not letting the audience understand all of the options.
Kristof’s essay is an entertaining and mildly informative piece of writing. I was immediately drawn into the text when he offered the quiz. I found myself reading wondering what joke Kristof would make next and fascinated that he could be so funny and make an argument at the same time. Kristof does convince me that there is a problem with today’s deer population but I am not convinced hunting deer is the only way. By only mentioning a few other options to reduce the deer population and not explaining them thoroughly, I was left feeling unsure and wondering should I even consider his side?
I felt this way because he had to leave the other information out to make his argument stronger. I also felt by only stating those couple of options and then making a mockery of them, he was almost shamming his audience into taking his side on the issue. I think this essay was a fun read but I find the argument weak, it is going to take a better argument than that for people to turn on Bambi. Works Cited Kristof, Nicholas D. “For Environmental Balance, Pick Up a Rifle. ” New York Times 4 Dec. 2005. Rpt. in Current issues and enduring questions. Sylvan Barnet, Hugo Bedau. 8th ed.. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2008. 183-184