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RFD: Thinkbig vs. Amed on THBT

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8/25/2016 6:03:43 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
The debate

Resolution: citizens on the Terrorist Screening Database should not be barred from purchasing firearms

First of all, resolutions should never be a negative claim. Is Con arguing that citizens on the Terrorist Screening Database (henceforth TSD) should not not be barred from purchasing firearms? Why is Pro supporting a negative stance? It doesn"t make sense, just create the debate as Con a positive resolution or have the other person do it. But whatever you do, don"t make a negative resolution.

I understand that the resolution is those on the TSD are not allowed to have guns. The definition given to the TSD isn"t really unique though, basically just restates the resolution: the database that is used to bar people from getting guns. The meaning needs to be unique, tell me that it is the no-fly list instead of just hinting at it in parentheses.

All other rules are good except for stating the BoP. The BoP is what it is regardless of R1 rules, saying it in R1 is useless as it's determined solely by the resolution.

I'm posting this in the forums for a couple of reasons. Firstly because it is long and would take a multitude of comments on the debate that would be annoying for me to do to get the character count right and have to constantly copy & paste and would spam the debaters a bunch and would get lost in all the other comments and it's weird doing the order. Google docs fixes that, but posting it in the forum has added benefits such as advertising the debate thus getting it more readers, encouraging people to vote more, and making it easier to discuss the RFD if debaters have qualms as they are able to quote the specific portions and I get a notification.

Round 2
Pro starts by arguing that TSD violates many amendments of the Constitution such as the 2nd, 4th, and 5th amendments. The problem with this argument for me is that the impact isn"t clear. Amendments are able to be changed. If Con gives a reason that some amendment ought to be violated in this circumstance (literally any one of his arguments), then what reason does Pro give that the Constitution should not be violated in that circumstance, or that the Amendment should even be repealed? Will the willingness to change the US Constitution lead to corrupt governments? Will it lead to greater loss of freedom? These would all be impacts, and reason not to violate or change the US Constitution. But Pro gives me 0 reasons why the Constitution ought to be respected, thus this argument doesn"t have much impact.

Pro then brings up some arguments by citing a letter by the ACLU. This argument doesn"t work because Pro uses another source to argue for him. Outside sources should only be used to warrant claims; as evidence. Using other sources to argue *for* you is a no-no, and I can"t award arguments like that impact. I am judging the debate based on the arguments that each debater gives me, not the ACLU. A good rule of thumb is not to use quotes longer than a couple sentences. Or if it is longer, as long as it's mostly data and statistics.

Pro synthesizes afterwards by saying that a citizen won"t know that they are on the no-fly list and thus can"t defend themselves against the charges. I"m not told this is bad because a citizen can lose a right without due process, I"m not told what the impact of losing a right without due process is but I am told the impact of losing the ability of a citizen to travel. These are, "long-term separation from spouses and children; the inability to access desired medical and prenatal care; the inability to pursue an education of their choosing; the inability to participate in important religious rites; loss of employment opportunities; loss of government entitlements; the inability to visit family; and the inability to attend important personal and family events such as graduations, weddings, and funerals." Although, this argument doesn"t fall within the scope of the resolution. The resolution doesn"t have to do with people being barred from flying, it has to do with loss of a gun. This argument has to do with losing the ability to travel, which isn"t what the debate is about.

Pro argues that the TSD has tons of errors, such as a third of the names being outdated (*again* what"s the impact of having outdated names, why and how much should I value this?) Pro also explains that people are accidently put on the list that shouldn"t be put on, which denies innocent people the ability to own a gun.

Pro also points out that the TSD disproportionately affects Arab-Americans, thus discriminating against them based on their race which isn"t fair.

Con"s opening arguments are extremely short. Con essentially argues that the US has large amounts of mass shootings and terror attacks. The US also has the world"s largest amount of guns. If people who are suspected of causing a future attack are deprived of firearms then some terror attacks will be prevented.

Con then argues that we should reform the TSD so that there aren"t as many mistakes. The problem with this is that Con fails to explain how his reformation will eliminate mistakes. This is the same as saying in a gun ban debate that, "I will make the ban so that all guns are actually banned." That can"t be considered an actual argument, nor can it be considered to impact my decision. Con must explain how and why his reforms will eliminate these errors, without that his argument is useless.

Con then explains that the citizen is not alerted so that they can continue to be surveyed in order to preserve the well being of the country.

Con then goes on to justify the TSD via a SCOTUS trial and the Patriot Act. These arguments don"t have impact because regardless of whether the TSD is legal or not is irrelevant, it is whether it is *just*. And whether it abides by the Patriot Act, or the SCOTUS found it Constitutional doesn"t have any affect on that. Especially the SCOTUS because it is an appeal to authority. Debaters must provide me reasoning for why what they are saying is true, they can"t just say that X authority agrees with them and not provide reasoning for the claim.

Round 3
Pro responds to Con"s argument that guns should be regulated by claiming that the regulations must abide by the Constitution. This has no bearing though because I haven"t been given any reason to value protecting the Constitution.

Pro then says that gun violence has been going down steadily. But this doesn"t really matter as long as there *is* gun violence, and the TSD would reduce it. Saying that gun violence is going down has no bearing on whether TSD would reduce gun violence. This is just irrelevant.

Pro then argues that the TSD has been unsuccessful in preventing terror attacks, as the Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, and Orlando shootings wouldn"t have been prevented by the TSD because the killer was not on the list. This is a decent argument, but it doesn"t show me that it won"t prevent a mass killing in the future. Just because something happened in the past doesn"t mean it won"t happen in the future.

Pro then proposes that we institute background checks, mandating gun insurance, requiring extensive psychological testing, limiting magazine capacity, and requiring a waiting period to purchase firearm instead of the TSD to stop mass shootings. Pro argues that these will work because they worked in Australia.

Con responds perfectly to Pro"s alternate plan by saying that he plans to implement all of those things as well with the TSD hand in hand. Thus Con matches the impact of Pro"s plan, bringing them back to even. Perfect response.

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8/25/2016 6:04:02 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
Con responds to the TSD errors by explaining that the amount of violence prevented outweighs the amount of bad caused by the errors. The problem with this is that Con doesn"t warrant his claim that the amount of violence prevented outweighs the amount of bad caused by the errors. He links to source 11 but the source says nothing about the amount of lives saved, thus it's impossible to say that it outweighs the amount of errors.

Round 4
Pro responds to Con"s rebuttal to his alternate plan by saying that his plan would make the TSD moot. This isn"t true, as I"m evaluating all of the proposed plans plus the TSD vs. all of the proposed plans without the TSD. The only difference is the TSD, thus I don"t evaluate the debate based on the other plans as both sides have them.

Con finally chooses to respond to Pro"s argument regarding the accidents by bringing up his own evidence that the amount of mistakes are actually lower. But this is a new argument in the final round, thus I don"t count it.

I was honestly disappointed by how both sides debated. Both debaters are better than this as I have read great debates from both of them, but this one wasn"t at that quality. In the future, just don"t bring up the Constitution in debates. Its a bare assertion fallacy and an appeal to authority fallacy. The Constitution does not provide reasoning for itself, thus if you cite it you have to explain why X is a right regardless, making it pointless to bring it up because the the Constitution can be changed anyways.

At the end of the debate Pro"s impact was errors in the TSD and unfair discrimination against Arabs. Con"s impact was preventing mass shootings in the future. Pro"s best rebuttal against this is that some shootings in the past weren"t prevented, but this isn"t a reason to believe that in the future a mass killing won"t be prevented. And the impact of saving lives outweighs the impact of having rare errors and being discriminated against. Lives outweigh the ability to get a gun for a few months, thus Con wins.