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About "Emotions Make Poor Legislators"
In round, it is often easy for both judges and debaters to get so caught up in the emotional appeal of a position that we forget the facts of a case and the implications of our decisions. This is particularly true when we are dealing with cases that involve our Justice system.
In STOA Lincoln-Douglas Release #07: “Social Contract” (AFF) (9/17/2018), Micah Chapman presented the following application.
Seven-year-old Danielle Van Dam was kidnapped in the dead of night by her neighbor, 49-year-old David Westerfield, in February 2002. Westerfield abducted the young girl and murdered her. Her parents were heartbroken over the disappearance, but no significant evidence pointed to any suspect.
A detective on the case, based on a wild hunch, marched up to Westerfield’s door, and lied; telling him that all the houses were being investigated, and she would like to see his. Upon this investigation, she found evidence of Danielle’s abduction, accused Westerfield of the crime, and he was eventually found guilty. Sometime later, Westerfield admitted to the murder. However, if the police officers and Westerfield had been more concerned with privacy, this murderous psychopath may still be walking free today.
Micah then discusses we sometimes must make difficult decisions to save lives. The following brief examines this argument in detail. There are two steps that debaters ought to take when faced with emotionally charged examples like the one used here.
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Dominique Alisa Stringer competed in speech and debate for six years. She now studies Anthropology and Museum Studies at Luther College, where she has put her forensic skills to use in presentations, class discussions, and entrepreneurial pitch competitions. During her time as a competitor, Alisa’s favorite events were Mars Hill, Parliamentary, and Lincoln-Douglas Debate.