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By Kamil Berríos

A warm-up exercise to conquer rhetoric took place in FJ14, where 24 students learned debating strategies to argue in favor or against the resolution: Gun control laws reduce violent crimes.

Teams were randomly selected as suggested by Dylan. Since it is a big group of 24, twelve debated for the Affirmative Team in favor of the resolution, and the other twelve for the Negative Team against the resolution. “The Mambas” (as in #24) were determined and disciplined to win the debate by persuading the chairperson and themselves with emotional, ethical, and logical appeals.

A competition that sets the bar for the opponent brings out the best in you. Do not forget to stay humble when you are at the top.

A slow Monday gave teams the chance to prepare and deliver constructive speeches. With a subtle tone of voice and strong connotative language, Ignacio Avilés presented evidence supporting that stricter gun control laws and background checks are necessary to reduce crimes, specifically mass shootings. Rhetorical questions served as emotional appeals like justice is a dish best served warm, hence, never delayed. Looking directly at the audience, Andrews opened for the Negative Team by highlighting self-defense rights for law-abiding citizens. Castelló focused on mental health, and Ferré eloquently concluded by revisiting and arguing against the debate’s resolution. Moreover, Dylan Martínez, desperately seeking solutions, presented logical appeals by moving both, his hands and people’s minds.

Halftime was real. Rehearsals were real. Rebuttals and refutations were real. Self-confident, Noah delivered his rebuttal with a smile on his face, while Daniel enthusiastically asked for a second rebuttal. Then, we could perceive the sound of a “sad-violin” when the chairperson announced there was going to be a second rebuttal. This petition was granted to the Negative Team; therefore, the Affirmative Team was disappointed with the decision. (Hugo, I’m sorry.) Naturally, the Affirmative Team carries the burden of proof because they want to change the system, and thanks to this plot twist, they will have to deliver… again.

Accusations of lies must be justified, bearing in mind that we are innocent until proven otherwise. The topic of “happiness” calls for speculation. “Overruled!” Calling a person ignorant is no argument. “Objection, Your Honor; insufficient evidence.” “Sustained!”

This was not a trial, but a debate. I thank all 24 students who diligently and respectfully participated in this activity. “The Mambas,” #24 for you are 24, contributed to an elevated environment of social and self-awareness. Now, let us focus on the self. The researchers Jean Paul, Luca, Hugo, Enrique, and Juan Pablo made required adjustments based on change of topics. The writers Javier, Emilio, Eric, Aponte, Rangel, and Sánchez were assertive with lists of names, dates, and casualties. The notetakers Mayol, Walsh, Rovira, and Ortiz enhanced rebuttals with dignity.

Finally, after a second round of refutations, where Rangel & Daniel debated Jean Paul, Eric, and Avilés, we welcomed the end of the debate: “May God bring you illumination and poise while you conclude your arguments. The purpose is not to individually shine. The essence, however, stands in helping others shine.”

Mr. Oratory, Daniel Arroyo -representing the Negative Team- captivated the audience with his projection, strategic rhetorical devices, and powerful emotional appeals. His sense of truth in voice was commendable. Mr. Equanimity, Alejandro Alfonso -representing the Affirmative Team- delivered his concluding speech with an exponential degree of soothing diplomacy, magnifying logical appeals in connection with the seriousness of debating in favor of the resolution: Gun control laws reduce violent crimes.

Dear #24,

The “W” stands for the Affirmative Team.

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